College Football
Mississippi State 23, Wake Forest 17
When: 6:40 PM ET, Friday, December 30, 2011
Where: LP Field, Nashville, Tennessee
Temperature: 53°
Head Official: Don Willard
Attendance: 55208

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.
Top Game Performances
Wake Forest   Mississippi State
Brandon Pendergrass Player Vick Ballard
24 Attempts 14
73 Yards 180
3.0 Avg Yards 12.9
1 Touchdowns 2
0 Long 0
Wake Forest   Mississippi State
Michael Campanaro Player Chris Smith
10 Receptions 5
128 Yards 47
12.8 Avg Yards 9.4
0 Touchdowns 0
0 Long 0
Team Stats Summary
  Yards Scoring Defense
Team Tot Rus Pas TD FG INT Sck FF
Wake Forest 288 64 224 2 1 2 1.0 2
Mississippi State 382 253 129 3 1 0 5.0 0