Mississippi State 23, Wake Forest 17
When: 6:40 PM ET, Friday, December 30, 2011
Where: LP Field, Nashville, Tennessee
Vick Ballard rushed for 180 yards and two touchdowns, and Mississippi State overcame a sloppy performance to beat Wake Forest 23-17 in the Music City Bowl in Nashville, Tenn.
The Bulldogs (7-6) committed four turnovers, but the combination of Ballard’s rushing and strong defense led Mississippi State to its fifth consecutive bowl victory.
Ballard, who set a career high for rushing yards, tied the game at 7-7 with a 60-yard touchdown run off right tackle with 3:04 left in the first quarter. Two minutes into the fourth quarter, with the Bulldogs clinging to a 16-14 advantage, Ballard broke loose down the right sideline for a 72-yard touchdown run to push the Mississippi State lead to 23-14.
Wake Forest (6-7) pulled within 23-17 on Jimmy Newman’s 46-yard field goal with 3:27 remaining. The Demon Deacons got the ball back at their 28-yard line with 2:15 left, but only picked up three yards before turning the ball over on downs.
Wake Forest finished with just 288 yards of total offense. Demon Deacons quarterback Tanner Price passed for 214 yards, but Wake Forest rushed for only 64 yards.
Mississippi State quarterback Chris Relf started and played the entire game, throwing two interceptions. But Relf found Arceto Clark for a 31-yard touchdown with 12:41 left in the first half, giving the Bulldogs a 13-7 advantage.
The Demon Deacons closed the season with six losses in their final eight games.
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