Key moment: Mary Persons graduate Tra Battle picked off an MSU pass at the Bulldogs’ 7-yard line and returned it 53 yards to put Georgia at the MSU 40-yard line.
Key stat: Georgia turned the ball over twice, once on its second play of the game and once on the first play of its third drive. The second turnover, an interception of quarterback Matthew Stafford, was the most costly as it set up a two-play MSU scoring drive.
The man: Wide receiver Kenneth Harris hauled in a career-long 41-yard from Matthew Stafford to convert a third-and-15 and give Georgia the ball inside the Mississippi State 5-yard line.
The score: Georgia 7, Mississippi State 7
Key moment: With 9:52 left in the quarter and Georgia facing second-and-15, the Bulldogs ran a simple draw, and Kregg Lumpkin gained 26 yards to extend what turned into a touchdown drive.
Key stat: After rushing for minus-1 yard in the first quarter, Georgia had 49 rushing yards in the second quarter.
The man: Six-foot-six tight end Tripp Chandler, starting in place of the injured Martrez Milner, made a great catch by turning and reaching over the head of 6-foot-1 linebacker Gabe O’Neal. The play, the sophomore’s first career catch, resulted in a 21-yard touchdown on fourth-and-one.
The score: Georgia 21, Mississippi State 7
Key moment: Georgia appeared to be in dire straits late in the quarter. Mississippi State had scored 10 unanswered points, and Georgia faced a third-and-15 on its own 18-yard line when Harris came up big again. He caught a 34-yard pass from Stafford to extend what turned into a touchdown-scoring drive.
Key stat: Stafford completed passes to seven different players in the quarter. Wide receiver Demiko Goodman was the only player to catch more than one.
The man: Georgia linebacker Tony Taylor made two crucial plays deep in Georgia territory to preserve his team’s lead. First, he intercepted a pass inside the Bulldog 5-yard line after it bounced off MSU tight end Eric Butler’s chest. Two series later, Taylor stopped running back Brandon Thornton 2 yards shy of a first down to force a field goal.
The score: Georgia 21, Mississippi State 17
Key moment: Hawkinsville’s Charles Johnson came from his defensive end spot and stripped MSU quarterback Michael Henig of the ball and then recovered the fumble to seal Georgia’s win with three seconds remaining.
Key stat: Kregg Lumpkin had 28 rushing yards in the final 15 minutes to help Georgia eat up valuable game time.
The man: It has to be Johnson, who responded to criticism of the defensive ends’ play with the biggest defensive play of the year. Henig said after the game he had a wide receiver wide open in the end zone and was just about to throw before Johnson stripped the ball.
The score: Georgia 27, Mississippi State 24