Rogers, Mississippi State rally past No. 16 Auburn 43-34

Jake Crandall-USA TODAY NETWORK
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AUBURN, Ala. — Will Rogers threw for 415 yards and six touchdowns, and Mississippi State beat No. 16 Auburn 43-34 on Saturday.

Auburn (6-4, 3-3 Southeastern Conference) scored touchdowns on its first four possessions and led 28-3 midway through the second quarter. But Mississippi State (6-4, 4-3) rallied, scoring 40 unanswered points behind Rogers’ arm.

“I think the biggest thing is that we didn’t get discouraged by the first half, which should have been easy to do,” Mississippi State coach Mike Leach said. “That first half, I thought we kind of played tentatively and played not to lose. Then we played aggressively. We played faster.”

Rogers completed 44 of 54 passes, connecting with 10 different Bulldogs. Jaden Walley had seven catches for 87 yards, and Jakai Polk finished with 61 yards and two touchdowns on eight receptions.

Mississippi State was held to just one field goal on its first three drives. Then Rogers threw for his six touchdowns on the Bulldogs’ next seven drives. He only had three incompletions after the first quarter.

“I felt like we all were just doing a good job,” Rogers said of his second half. “The o-line did a good job of blocking. (Auburn) played a lot of man coverage today, and the receivers were doing a great job of getting off with their routes. It’s kind of crazy to think I completed that many, because some of those were contested. I’ve got to give a lot of credit to my receivers.”

Auburn’s offense got off to a strong start behind Bo Nix, who finished with 377 yards passing and two touchdowns. But, as the defense struggled to slow Mississippi State’s passing attack after halftime, the Tigers were held to 158 yards and six points in the second half.

“We’re not going to make excuses,” Auburn coach Bryan Harsin said. “We’ve got to take this and learn from it. … You’ve got to be able to start like we did, and you’ve got to be able to finish much better than we did.”

THE TAKEAWAY

Mississippi State: Heading into Saturday, the Bulldogs had only lost one game by more than three points all season. The comeback win showed Mississippi State is truly never out of its games, thanks to Leach’s Air Raid offense. It is now bowl-eligible with two home games left in the season.

Auburn: After back-to-back strong performances, Auburn’s defense melted down after the first quarter. Its offense has been inconsistent this season, but such a sudden drop-off for the other side of the ball is a worrying sign with two SEC games remaining.

ROAD WARRIORS

The win ensured a winning record away from home for Mississippi State. The Bulldogs have beaten two ranked opponents on the road, and their only two road losses came by a combined five points.

“We try to keep the routine the same as it is at home,” Leach said. “You just try to focus on the work at hand and the job instead of a bunch of stuff you can’t control.”

HISTORIC RESULT

The rally from 25 points down for a win was the largest comeback in Mississippi State history. It also marked the biggest blown lead in a loss for Auburn.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

Auburn was the highest ranked three-loss team in the country and had a chance to move into the top 15 with a win. However, a home collapse against an unranked team likely will send the Tigers tumbling down the poll.

UP NEXT

Mississippi State returns home next Saturday to host Tennessee State.

Auburn goes on the road to face South Carolina next Saturday night.

Clemson gives raises, contract extensions to staff

Ken Ruinard/USA TODAY NETWORK
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CLEMSON, S.C. — Clemson’s board of trustees approved raises for special teams coordinator and cornerbacks coach Mike Reed and defensive tackles coach Nick Eason.

Reed and Eason also received one-year extensions keeping them tied to the Tigers through Jan. 31, 2026.

Reed, who’s been with the Tigers since 2013, had his yearly salary increased $50,000 to $800,000. Eason, the former Clemson standout defensive lineman, joined the staff this past season. He also had his compensation upped by $50,000 to $800,000.

Seven other assistants were given one-year extensions by the trustees’ compensation committee, but without a raise in salary.

Co-defensive coordinators Wes Goodwin and Mickey Conn had their contracts extended through Jan. 31, 2026.

Defensive ends coach Lemanski Hall, tight ends coach Kyle Richardson, offensive line coach Thomas Austin, running backs coach C.J. Spiller and wide receivers coach Tyler Grisham all got one-year extensions through Jan. 31, 2025.

New offensive coordinator Garrett Riley last month received a three-year contract at $1.75 million per season.

Clemson will pay its 10 on-field assistants $7.475 million this season, an increase of $925,000 from the total for 2022.

The Tigers went 11-3 last season, winning the Atlantic Coast Conference title for the seventh time in the past eight seasons.

South Carolina’s Beamer suspends three freshmen from program

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Corey Perrine/USA TODAY NETWORK
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COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina coach Shane Beamer said freshmen Monteque Rhames II, Anthony Rose and Cameron Upshaw were suspended from the football program.

There was no reason given for the suspensions in the school’s statement Friday. Online records showed Rhames, 18, was booked last night and was being held at the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center on charges of carrying weapons on school property and obstructing justice.

“Our student-athletes know what is expected of them,” Beamer said. “They know that both the university and the football program will hold them accountable for their actions and decisions.”

None of the three have played for the Gamecocks.

Rose is a 6-foot-1, 190-pound defensive back from Miami who enrolled in January 2022 and redshirted this season. Rhames and Upshaw were part of South Carolina’s latest recruiting class and enrolled last month.

Rhames is a 6-5, 235-pound defensive lineman from Sumter and Upshaw is a 6-2, 193-pound safety from Perry, Florida.