BYU Kicks Bulldogs At The End

Matt Payne kicked a 25-yard field goal as time expired to give BYU a 41-38 victory over Mississippi State on Saturday night, keeping the Cougars' slim BCS hopes alive. The Cougars (12-0) extended their winning streak to 14 games and for the second straight game needed last-minute heroics to remain unbeaten. Brandon Doman threw for 390 yards and five touchdowns, but it was Luke Staley who did most of the work on the final 63-yard drive, running five times. Staley ran for 149 yards on 28 carries. The Cougars were No. 12 in the BCS rankings this week. The top 12 are eligible to be selected for one of four big-money bowl games. With an offense ranked 113th in the nation in scoring, Mississippi State (3-8) looked comfortable going shot-for-shot against the nation's highest scoring team. Kevin Fant was 20-for-28 for 346 yards with three touchdowns and an interception, Dicenzo Miller ran for 119 yards and two touchdowns on 12 carries and Justin Jenkins had seven catches for 133 yards and two scores. The teams combined for 1,035 yards of offense. BYU, which needed two touchdowns in the final 3½ minutes to beat Utah in its last game, trailed 31-21 in the third quarter before rallying behind Doman, who was 23-for-32 with three interceptions. The senior quarterback found Doug Jolley deep down the sideline for a 26-yard scoring play early in the fourth quarter to tie it at 31. BYU was threatening again on its next drive when Pig Prather intercepted a long pass at the Bulldogs 9. Fant and the Mississippi State offense went to work with a well-balanced 91-yard drive that BYU's offense would have been proud. Miller finished the drive by darting into the end zone from 23 yards out to give Mississippi State a 38-31 lead with about 10 minutes left. The Cougars came right back with a 69-yard touchdown drive of their own. Doman rolled right and threw back to a wide-open Spencer Nead, who rumbled in from 12 yards to tie it at 38 with 6:11 left. BYU's defense finally came up with a stop, forcing the Bulldogs to punt on their last drive. The Cougars drove down the field methodically on the final drive, with Doman completing two passes for 31 yards. After the winning field goal, there were big cheers by the fans at the Delta Center, who watched the end of the game on the big screen after the Utah Jazz lost 100-97 to Indiana in the NBA. It was a scoring spree from the start. Fant, who took over as the starter four games ago, threw two touchdown passes in the first half as the Bulldogs jumped to a 21-7 lead in the second quarter. Doman had three first-half TD passes, despite facing a bevy of Bulldogs blitzers, and tied the game at 21 on a 45-yard bomb to Soren Halladay. But the Bulldogs kicked a late field goal to take a 24-21 halftime lead as the teams combined for 494 yards.