Football Writers Association of America Nov. 7, 2016
For Immediate Release
Contact: Ted Gangi
Bulldogs stun Aggies with early scoring barrage
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DALLAS (FWAA) Quarterback Nick Fitzgerald sparked a big day with a 74-yard touchdown run on the game's first play, and the Mississippi State Bulldogs used the fast start to stun 4th-ranked Texas A&M, 35-28, The win earned the Bulldogs (4-5) the Football Writers Association of America National Team of the Week honor for games of the weekend of Nov. 5.

The announcement was made on "Playbook," hosted by Chris Carlin and Gino Torretta on SiriusXM Radio's "College Sports Nation." Each Monday during the season, the FWAA National Team of the Week will be unveiled during the program, which airs from 1-4 p.m. ET.

Fitzgerald had a banner day, as the sophomore posted a 100-yard rushing day even beyond the long run to start the game. He finished with 182 rushing yards and two touchdowns, and added 209 yards and two touchdowns through the air. Aeris Williams, whose short touchdown run gave MSU a 14-0 lead 10 minutes into the game, added a career-high 140 yards on the ground.

Texas A&M closed to within 28-21 with 10:42 left, but MSU responded with a 14-play, 73-yard scoring drive capped by a four-yard Fitzgerald touchdown run with 3:08 left. The Bulldogs' 365 rushing yards were a season-high and their highest total since 2010, as well as the most that Texas A&M has given up this season.

"We have a young team and they didn't flinch. I tried to get out of their hair a little bit and let them go," Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen said. "They were able to make plays today. All year it has been pretty close here and there, and there were a lot of opportunities to make plays that we weren't making. Three times this year we have lost the game on the last play. The fans did a great job today showing up, supporting and believing in this team. That is how we built this program."

This is Mississippi State's third time to earn the FWAA Team of the Week, and first since 2014. The other came in 2004.

The other National Team of the Week nominees for the weekend of Nov. 5 were:

Navy (6-2): In Jacksonvolle, Fla., quarterback Will Worth ran for 175 yards and two touchdowns his eighth consecutive game with a rushing score and Navy beat Notre Dame 28-27 in the nation's longest-running intersectional rivalry. It was a rare Navy win in the series, as the Midshipmen won for just the fourth time since 1963 to snap a five-game losing streak to the Fighting Irish.

Ohio State (8-1): The Buckeyes' defense opened the scoring with a touchdown off an interception return, and Curtis Samuel added 178 rushing yards and two touchdowns as Ohio State blasted No. 10 Nebraska, 62-3. The rout marked Ohio State's highest score in school history against a top-10 team and handed the Cornhuskers their most lopsided loss since 2004.

The Football Writers Association of America has named a national team of the week since the 2002 season. Members of the 12-person FWAA All-America Committee – plus one fan vote from Twitter – decide the weekly honor.

Founded in 1941, the Football Writers Association of America consists of 1,400 men and women who cover college football. The membership includes journalists, broadcasters and publicists, as well as key executives in all the areas that involve the game. The FWAA works to govern areas that include game-day operations, major awards and its annual All-America team. For more information about the FWAA and its award programs, contact Steve Richardson at

2016 National Teams of the Week
Weekend of Sept. 3: Houston Cougars
Weekend of Sept. 10: Arkansas Razorbacks
Weekend of Sept. 17: Louisville Cardinals
Weekend of Sept. 24: Tennessee Volunteers
Weekend of Oct. 1: Washington Huskies
Weekend of Oct. 8: Navy Midshipmen
Weekend of Oct. 15: Alabama Crimson Tide
Weekend of Oct. 22: Penn State Nittany Lions
Weekend of Oct. 29: Wyoming Cowboys
Weekend of Nov. 5: Mississippi State Bulldogs
Weekend of Nov. 12: Pitt Panthers
Weekend of Nov. 19: Kansas Jayhawks

Nick Baumgardner Big Ten
Kirk Bohls Austin American-Statesman Chairman
Tim Griffin San Antonio Express-News C-USA
Clay Henry Hawgs Illustrated SEC
Joey Johnston American Athletic
Steve Jones Louisville Courier-Journal ACC
Matt Roberson Jonesboro Sun Sun Belt
John Shinn Norman Transcript Big 12
Dave Southorn Idaho Statesman Mountain West
Phil Steele Phil Steele Publications Independents/National
Ryan Thorburn Eugene Register-Guard Pac-12
John Wagner Toledo Blade Mid-American