MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) - Sylvester Croom and Mississippi State capped a turnaround season built on defense with one of their stingiest efforts. Mississippi State kept Central Florida's Kevin Smith from breaking the single-season rushing record in a 10-3 victory at the Liberty Bowl today (Saturday). Anthony Dixon scored on a 1-yard run with 1:54 remaining to put the Bulldogs ahead. Derek Pegues had two interceptions.
In a game featuring anemic offenses and few big plays, the Bulldogs (8-5) kept Central Florida (10-4) out of the end zone and held Smith to 119 yards. The junior finished 61 yards shy of Barry Sanders' single-season record of 2,628 yards set for Oklahoma State in 1988. It was the lowest scoring Liberty Bowl since Penn State beat Tulane 9-6 in 1979. Dixon finished with 66 yards and won the game with a 1-yard dive after Kyle Israel threw his third interception. The Bulldogs held the Knights to 219 yards and forced four turnovers.
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