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Eric Vander Voort | | October 6, 2014

Mississippi teams tie at No. 3 in AP Top 25

  Mississippi State won consecutive games against top-10 teams for the first time in program history.

History was made in Week 6 as five top-eight teams fell for the first time. With the ensuing shuffling in the polls, the history continued into Sunday, as Mississippi State moved up to No. 3 in The Associated Press Top 25. It is the highest the Bulldogs have been ranked in program history. They share the No. 3 spot with in-state rival Mississippi, which is in the top five for the first time since 2009 and at its highest ranking since being the preseason No. 1 in 1964.

Complete Poll
At No. 12 in last week’s poll, Mississippi State hadn’t even reached the top 10 since 1999, when it spent three weeks at No. 8. The previous highest position in program history was No. 7, which the Bulldogs reached in October 1981.  They reached the top 10 on just two other occasions -- reaching No. 9 in both 1940 and ’65.

Mississippi State’s rise from being unranked a month ago to No. 3 comes after an impressive not-as-close-as-the-score 48-31 win against then-No. 6 Texas A&M on Saturday. In their previous game, the Bulldogs bested then-No. 8 LSU 34-29 two weeks prior. The two wins marked the first time that Mississippi State beat two AP top-10 teams in the same season in program history, let alone consecutively. In its other three games this season, it outscored Southern Miss, UAB and South Alabama 131-37.

At eight games, the Bulldogs have the second-longest win streak in the FBS, only behind Florida State’s 21 games. They have recorded at least 500 yards of offense in each of their past six games. Two first-place votes went their way in this week’s poll, with the rest split between No. 1 Florida State and No. 2 Auburn.

Gamechanger: Mississippi State steamrolls Aggies
Against the Aggies on Saturday, quarterback Dak Prescott accounted for five touchdowns and 347 yards of total offense. Three of the scores came on the ground, where Prescott gained 77 yards, and he threw for 259 and two touchdowns.  He also had 11 receiving yards. He is two touchdowns away from tying Don Smith’s program career record of 52.

Meanwhile, a 95-mile drive away in Oxford, Mississippi, Ole Miss is coming off a thrilling come-from-behind win against previously third-ranked Alabama. The Rebels jumped from No. 11 to be tied for the third spot. Like Mississippi State, they stand at 5-0, but they’ve gotten there with more of a defensive approach. The 17 points Alabama scored was the most the Rebels have surrendered in any game this season.  Ole Miss is second in the country in points allowed per game at 10.2.

Down 17-10 in the fourth quarter, Bo Wallace threw two touchdown passes in the final six minutes to stun the Crimson Tide, sending Oxford into a frenzy of celebration. Wallace finished with 251 yards and three touchdowns.

Gamechanger: Rebels rock the Tide
Mississippi State and Ole Miss will meet in Oxford on Nov. 29, the last game of the regular season. Both have plenty of tests before then, and they start right away. The Bulldogs will play host to No. 2 Auburn this weekend, while the Rebels will travel to Texas A&M. In November, Ole Miss will have its turn with Auburn, while Mississippi State gets a shot at Alabama. After their respective losses, Alabama dropped to No. 7 and Texas A&M fell to No. 13.

Notes from the rest of the Top 25:
Baylor moved up two spots to No. 5. … Notre Dame jumped three to No. 6. … TCU moved from No. 25 to No. 9 with its win against Oklahoma, which dropped to No. 11. … Arizona went from unranked to No. 10 after beating Oregon on Thursday. The Ducks fell from No. 2 to No. 12. … Arizona State (No. 20), Georgia Tech (No. 22) and Utah (No. 24) are other newcomers to the rankings.

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