STARKVILLE, Miss. – Nick Fitzgerald struggled to fully explain how low he felt last September after Mississippi State lost its 2016 season opener 21-20 to South Alabama.
“I was upset. I was down. I was given the chance to show that I could play and I messed it up,” Fitzgerald says.
Just hours before that nightmare of a loss, Fitzgerald’s dream had finally come true. After two seasons of learning from the great Dak Prescott, one as a redshirt and one as a backup, Mississippi State finally was Nick Fitzgerald’s team.
The game did not go well. Coach Dan Mullen scripted the game (a decision he later regretted) to give Fitzgerald the first three possessions, with backup Damian Williams then coming in. Fitzgerald couldn’t move the team. Williams did and staked the Bulldogs to a 17-0 lead. But South Alabama stormed back to take a 21-20 lead.
Williams stayed in the game and at the end drove the Bulldogs into position to kick a winning 28-yard field goal. But the kick by Westin Graves clanked off the right upright, and life without Dak was off to a rocky start.
That night after the game, Fitzgerald still was dealing with the disappointment when he got a call from Mullen.
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