Football Writers Association of America Sept. 28, 2020
For Immediate Release
Contact: Ted Gangi
Bulldogs knock off defending national champs to open Leach era
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DALLAS (FWAA) – K.J. Costello threw for an SEC-record 623 yards and five touchdowns with three receivers topping 100 yards as the Mike Leach head coaching era at Mississippi State began in stellar fashion with a 44-34 win at No. 6 LSU. MSU recorded the highest-ranked road win in program history, which earned them the Reveal Suits National Team of the Week honor for games of the weekend of Sept. 26, as selected by the Football Writers Association of America.

This is the fourth time for Mississippi State to earn the Team of the Week honor and the first since 2016. All Division I FBS and FCS schools are eligible to be selected. This is the 19th season for the FWAA to award a Team of the Week.

The win marked the first time a defending national champion lost its season opener since 1998 as MSU (1-0) snapped the nation's longest active win streak at 16 games. It was MSU's second win in Baton Rouge of the last four meetings but those are the only ones since 1992.

Costello, a graduate transfer from Stanford with career 25 starts there, became the 11th quarterback in SEC history to top 500 yards en route to the league record, and his 36 completions on 60 attempts were school records. His previous career completion high (34) came against Leach’s Washington State team in 2018 and his yardage total topped Dak Prescott's school record (508 yards vs. Arkansas, 2015) by more than 100 yards.

Five different times MSU took a lead only to see LSU rally to tie or take the lead before the Bulldogs scored the final 10 points. Big plays keyed the win as MSU finished the game with 16 plays of 20 or more yards, all through the air. The receiving trio of Osirus Mitchell, Kylin Hill, JaVonta Payton each eclipsed the 100-yard mark, only the second time for a trio to do so in school history.

MSU posted seven sacks, the program’s highest single-game total since 2015 vs. Ole Miss, and Erroll Thompson, the SEC's active career tackles leader with 227, had 10 tackles.

The other Reveal Suits National Team of the Week nominee for the weekend of Sept. 26 is:

• Kansas State (1-1): The Wildcats came back from a 21-point deficit twice – the second time with 2:46 left in the third quarter – to win at No. 3 Oklahoma, 38-35. Deuce Vaughn had 174 all-purpose yards and the K-State defense, missing five starters due to COVID-19 concerns, came up with four takeaways. It marked the first time in school history for K-State to win consecutive matchups with a top-five opponent, following last season’s 48-41 win in Manhattan. The Wildcats are 3-2 in Norman since 2012.

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Founded in 1941, the Football Writers Association of America consists of 1,300 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

2020 Reveal Suits National Teams of the Week
• Weekend of Sept. 5: South Alabama Jaguars
• Weekend of Sept. 12: Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns
• Weekend of Sept. 19: Navy Midshipmen
• Weekend of Sept. 26: Mississippi State Bulldogs
• Weekend of Oct. 3: Tulsa Golden Hurricane
• Weekend of Oct. 10: Texas A&M Aggies
• Weekend of Oct. 17: Florida State Seminoles
• Weekend of Oct. 24: Indiana Hoosiers
• Weekend of Oct. 31: Michigan State Spartans
• Weekend of Nov. 7: Notre Dame Fighting Irish
• Weekend of Nov. 14: Marshall Thundering Herd
• Weekend of Nov. 21: Northwestern Wildcats
• Weekend of Nov. 28: Buffalo Bulls
• Weekend of Dec. 5: Coastal Carolina Chanticleers, Rice Owls
• Weekend of Dec. 12: Army Black Knights