STARKVILLE, Miss. -- - Kyle Ferrie hit four field goals to help hold Mississippi State's head above water and they pulled away late in a 41-20 win over Southern Miss on Saturday in a non-conference game.
A freshman, Ferrie proved invaluable early when he got MSU points when the team's offense was stagnant.
Southern Miss gave the Bulldogs all they could handle five days after the firing of head coach Zach Arnett. Arnett was relieved of his duties on Monday morning from Athletics Director Zac Selmon following the Bulldogs' 51-10 loss to Texas A&M who also fired head coach Jimbo Fisher after the game.
Jakarius Caston single-handedly kept the Golden Eagles in the game after scoring a 44-yard scoring reception in the fourth quarter and then returning a kickoff 98 yards with a little more than eight minutes left to reduce the deficit to 26-20.
The Bulldogs (5-6, 1-6 SEC) countered with a 59-yard run to extend the lead with 7:14 remaining. Jett Johnson then sealed it with an interception that he flipped to safety Marcus Banks who took it 70 yards for a score.
MSU had 382 yards of offense with 238 on the ground. Will Rogers returned to the lineup for the first time since injuring his shoulder against Western Michigan on Oct. 7. Rogers was rusty but threw for two touchdowns on 12-of-27 passing.
Jeffery Pittman had 10 carries for 98 yards and a touchdown and Zavion Thomas had three catches for 66 yards. Tulu Griffin caught four passes for 32 yards and a score. The SEC's top two tacklers, Bookie Watson and Jett Johnson had 39 combined. Watson had 21 and Johnson 18.
USM had 246 yards of offense with running back Frank Gore gaining 66 yards on 22 carries and five receptions for 29 yards. Caston had two catches for 88 yards and a score receiving as well as the 98 yard kick return.
Southern Miss (3-8, 2-5 Sun Belt) has shown some fight in recent weeks and have made progress late in the year.
Mississippi State has had a strange season, and the firing of the coach this week made it stranger. A win on Saturday could be a shot in the arm with a chance at bowl eligibility and another Egg Bowl win against Ole Miss on Thanksgiving.
Southern Miss hosts Troy next Saturday to end its season.
Mississippi State hosts Ole Miss on Thanksgiving in the Battle of the Golden Egg.