Natchez High product Marco Minor helps Bulldogs to bowl win in his first start
Published 12:00 am Monday, January 1, 2001
The Associated Press
SHREVEPORT, La. (AP) – Wayne Madkin scored on a 6-yard scramble to give Mississippi State a 43-41 overtime victory over Texas A&M on Sunday night in the snowy Independence Bowl.
But that overtime was made possible when Natchez native Marco Minor intercepted an Aggies pass deep in Texas A&M territory late in the fourth quarter. The game marked Minor’s first start, as he was filling in for academically ineligible All-American cornerback Fred Smoot.
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Ja’Mar Toombs ran for a 25-yard touchdown on the Aggies’ first play of overtime to give Texas A&M a 41-35 lead, but Terence Kitchen’s extra-point attempt was blocked by Willie Blade.
Eugene Clinton scooped the blocked kick out of the snow and before he could be pulled down at midfield, he flipped the ball back to Julius Griffith who raced to the end zone for a 2-point defensive conversion. That made the score 41-37 and gave the Bulldogs a chance to win it with a TD on their possession.
It was the first meeting between Texas A&M and Mississippi State since former Aggies coach Jackie Sherrill took over the Bulldogs in 1991.
The pregame hype revolved around Sherrill, who coached the Aggies from 1982-88, and Texas A&M coach R.C. Slocum, a former assistant who took over for Sherrill in 1989.
But the game was dominated by the running of Toombs and Mississippi State’s Dontae Walker and a rare Southern snowfall that covered the field.
Toombs ran for 193 yards and three touchdowns on 35 carries. Walker matched Toombs with three touchdowns, along with 143 yards on 16 carries.
Mississippi State rallied from 14 points down with two touchdowns in the final 8:16 of the fourth quarter.
Minor’s interception gave the Bulldogs a first-and-goal at the Aggies’ 4 with 2:50 left in the game trailing 35-28.
On third down, Wayne Madkin faked a handoff and found Donald Lee all alone in the snow-covered end zone for a 3-yard touchdown pass to tie it with 1:30 left.
Madkin’s game-winning TD came on a similar play-action pass on second-and-goal at the 7.
Toombs was especially effective early, running for 73 yards and a touchdown on Texas A&M’s first two series, and helping the Aggies grab a 14-0 lead.