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Daniels comes up big in debut, leading No. 13 Georgia past Mississippi State

J.T. Daniels threw for 401 yards and four touchdowns in his Georgia debut to lead the No. 13 Bulldogs to a 31-24 win over Mississippi State on Saturday at Sanford Stadium in Athens.

Daniels, a redshirt sophomore who transferred from Southern Cal, completed 28 of 38 passes for the Bulldogs (5-2, 5-2 SEC). Daniels became the first Georgia quarterback to throw for 400 yards since Aaron Murray in 2013. His 40-yard touchdown to Kearis Jackson with 9:50 remaining broke a 24-24 tie and put Georgia ahead to stay.

Mississippi State had one final possession and drove to the 47, but quarterback Will Rogers was sacked by Azeez Ojulari on fourth-and-7 to end the hopes for the Bulldogs. Georgia ran the final 1:18 off the clock.

Two of Daniels’ touchdowns went to Jermaine Burton, who caught eight passes for 197 yards, the fourth most in school history and just shy of the record of 205 gained by Tavarres King in 2012. George Pickens, who missed the last two games with an injury, caught eight passes for 87 yards and one touchdown.

Mississippi State (2-5, 2-5) moved the ball steadily behind Rogers. The freshman completed 41 of 52 passes for 336 yards and one touchdown. Jaden Walley caught seven passes for 115 yards and one touchdown. Osirus Mitchell and Dillon Johnson also caught seven passes.

The game was tied 17-17 at halftime as the two teams exchanged scores.

Mississippi State’s Brandon Ruiz opened the scoring in the first quarter, completing a 15-play drive with a 22-yard field goal, but Georgia answered with an 11-play drive that ended when Pickens caught a 4-yard touchdown pass from Daniels.

Mississippi State scored on another long 14-play drive, with Dillon Johnson scoring on a 4-yard run, but Georgia tied it 10-10 on Jack Podlesny’s 41-yard field goal.

Mississippi State regained the lead on a 51-yard pass from Rogers to Walley, only to have Georgia even the score on Burton’s 18-yard toss from Daniels.

The teams matched touchdowns in the third quarter. Georgia scored on a 48-yard pass from Daniels to Burton and Mississippi State evened it at 24-24 on a 3-yard Johnson run.