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BYU edges Mississippi State in double OT

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I’m just glad we won. I’ll take it any way we can ... I’m pleased with the resiliency of our players. – BYU head coach Kalani Sitake

PROVO — All the momentum that BYU built up at Michigan State last week seemed to all but disappear Friday night against Mississippi State.

The Cougar offense was stagnant, the Cougar defense gave up a slew of third-and-long plays against a Bulldog team that had been slumping.

But in the end, BYU survived in double overtime, beating the Bulldogs 28-21 in the annual homecoming game at LaVell Edwards Stadium that ended at 12:08 a.m. Saturday.

On the first play of the second overtime, quarterback Taysom Hill threw a 25-yard touchdown pass to Tanner Balderree to give BYU its first lead of the game, 28-21.

Here’s the game-winning TD pass to @BYUfootball‘s Tanner Balderree in Cougars’ 28-21 win over @HailStateFB. First career TD for Balderree pic.twitter.com/TvOopLOS1s

— Brandon Judd (@brandonljudd) October 15, 2016

Then BYU stopped MSU on fourth-and-9 as quarterback Nick Fitzgerald’s pass into the end zone was tipped away by linebacker Fred Warner to seal the Cougar win. When it finally ended, BYU fans stormed the field in celebration.

A view from the field of the final play between @BYUfootball and @HailStateFB pic.twitter.com/SqG0iewEC4

— Brandon Judd (@brandonljudd) October 15, 2016

"I'm just glad we won," said coach Kalani Sitake. "I'll take it any way we can ... I'm pleased with the resiliency of our players."

"We stepped up and made plays when we needed to," said Hill, who threw for three touchdowns and ran for another. "It was so fun to get the ball to Tanner. Hats off to the guys blocking downfield."

In the first overtime, Jamaal Williams broke the career school rushing record, surpassing Harvey Unga. And he earned every one of his 76 yards against the Bulldog defense. He now has 3,468 career rushing yards.

"He said he'd take a win over the record," Sitake said of Williams. "He got both."

"I'm grateful to get it," Williams said of the record. "I have to give credit to everyone blocking for me the four years I've been here. I just want to say thank you."

And here’s where @BYUfootball‘s Jamaal Williams (@jswaggdaddy

October 15, 2016

BYU won its third straight game to improve to 4-3 while Mississippi State, of the Southeastern Conference, fell to 2-4.

On its first possession in OT, MSU’s Fitzgerald scored on a 2-yard run — somersaulting into the end zone. That came after a pass interference call on Michael Davis. That put the Bulldogs up, 21-14.

The Cougars answered with a 1-yard touchdown by Hill to make it 21-21.

BYU tied the game at 14-all with 13:54 left in the fourth quarter on a 15-yard pass from Hill to Moroni Laulu-Pututau. That was one play after a Williams touchdown pass was nullified by a holding penalty.

Moroni Laulu-Pututau’s 15-yard touchdown catch in the 4th quarter brought @BYUfootball into a 14-14 tie with @HailStateFB pic.twitter.com/mObtvcfk6c

— Brandon Judd (@brandonljudd) October 15, 2016

On Mississippi State’s next possession, the Bulldogs drove again into BYU territory after converting on third-and-13 and third-and-18 plays. But on third-and-12 from the BYU 29, Fitzgerald threw an interception into the hands of Kai Nacua.

The Cougars had a three-and-out to give MSU the ball again.

But with less than four minutes remaining, and the Bulldogs marching, the Cougars stopped Fitzgerald on a fourth-and-2 play. BYU couldn’t move the ball on its ensuing possession and punted back to Mississippi State.

Eventually, the game went into overtime.

Mississippi State opened the game by driving deep into BYU territory on its first possession but it ended with a missed 42-yard field goal attempt.

The Bulldogs struck first on their next possession, thanks to a couple of Cougar miscues. First, Davis drilled Mississippi State’s punt returner, giving the Bulldogs favorable field position. Later, on fourth-and-4, a substitution infraction on BYU gave MSU a new set of downs. Three plays later, Mississippi State scored on a 44-yard dump pass from Fitzgerald to Keith Mixon, who raced down the sideline for a touchdown.

BYU responded with a touchdown of its own thanks to a 15-play, 75-yard drive that took 8:25 off the clock — capped by a 1-yard touchdown play-action pass from Hill to tight end Hunter Marshall to tie the score at 7-7.

The Cougars opened the second quarter with an interception by safety Micah Hannemann, but they couldn’t capitalize as the drive ended with a missed 42-yard field goal by Rhett Almond.

Mississippi State took a 14-7 advantage with 3:54 left in the half on a 1-yard TD run by Fitzgerald, ending a 14-play drive that lasted 5:44. Once again, a BYU mistake aided the Bulldogs as an offside penalty on the Cougars on third-and-goal from the 2-yard line preceded the touchdown.

Later in the half, the Cougars were marching toward an apparent score when Hill threw an interception to Mark McLaurin.

BYU visits Boise State Thursday night.

EMAIL: jeffc@deseretnews.com