ARIZONA FOOTBALL

Just short: Arizona, de Laura fall to Mississippi State in Starkville

Sep 9, 2023, 8:21 PM | Updated: 9:03 pm

Jayden de Laura #7 of the Arizona Wildcats carries the ball during the first half against the Missi...

Jayden de Laura #7 of the Arizona Wildcats carries the ball during the first half against the Mississippi State Bulldogs at Davis Wade Stadium on September 09, 2023 in Starkville, Mississippi. (Photo by Justin Ford/Getty Images)

(Photo by Justin Ford/Getty Images)

After the first quarter on Saturday in Starkville, Miss., Jayden de Laura and the Arizona Wildcats (1-1) may not have known what hit them, but it sounded like a cow bell.

With three interceptions and a fumble inside the offensive 10-yard line, the field was definitely tilted toward the Mississippi State Bulldogs.

The Wildcats were able to force overtime, but on a fourth and 10, de Laura’s scramble came up inches short of a first down, ending the game at 31-24 in favor of Mississippi St. (2-0).

Starting late in the second quarter, de Laura began making the magic work on long plays. He connected with Tetairoa McMillan for 55 yards down to the Arizona one-yard line before the quarterback ran it in for the score. It was a three-play drive that took only 38 seconds.

In the third, the quarterback connected with McMillian for 21 yards before hooking up with Jacob Cowing for a 17-yard touchdown to draw the game back within a touchdown at 21-14.

de Laura found the 6-foot-5 McMillian at the back of the end zone inside 10 minutes of the fourth quarter, leading the Wildcats to tie the game at 21-21.

After the first quarter, the junior de Laura was 27-35 for 317 yards, two touchdown passing, one INT and a touchdown running. The junior signal caller finished the first quarter 5-8 for 25 yards with three picks.

McMillan finished with eight catches for 161 yards and a touchdown. Cowing had seven catches for 31 yards and a score while Michael Wiley had eight grabs for 60 yards.

The slow start really hindered the Wildcats. When the halftime whistle blew, the Wildcats trailed only 14-7.

Mississippi State’s Nathaniel Watson came down with an interception on Arizona’s first possession after the ball was tipped in the air in Wildcat territory.

On the second possession, linebacker Jett Johnson was able to read de Laura from the middle of the field and under cut the route and intercept the pass and return it to the 6-yard line, leading to a touchdown by the Bulldogs.

On the third possession, Arizona was down to third and 2, but de Laura went for the home run ball and safety Shawn Preston Jr. wrestled the ball away for the the pick.

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