2000 Independence Bowl
The 2000 Sanford Independence Bowl, part of the NCAA football bowl games, took place on December 31, 2000 at Independence Stadium in Shreveport, Louisiana. The competing teams were the Mississippi State Bulldogs, representing the Southeastern Conference, and the Texas A&M Aggies from the Big 12 Conference.
|2000 Independence Bowl|
|“The Snow Bowl”|
|Date||December 31, 2000|
|United States TV coverage|
|Announcers||Mark Jones, Gino Toretta, and Rob Stone|
The game was later referred to as "The Snow Bowl", as a snowstorm (rare for the Shreveport area) began just before kickoff, blanketing the field in powder, and continued throughout the entire game.
Mississippi State won the bowl in overtime, 43–41 against their future SEC rival.
Prior to the game, the Bulldogs (8–4) had not scored in overtime in regular-season losses to Louisiana State and Arkansas. And things looked bleak for Mississippi State after Texas A&M's Ja'Mar Toombs rambled 25 yards for a touchdown on the first play of overtime.
But defensive tackle Willie Blade blocked the extra point. Eugene Clinton grabbed the ball and lateraled to Julius Griffith, who went the distance to cut the deficit to 41-37.
"They were blocking down on me, but I kept fighting and fighting to get through and finish the play," Blade said.
On the Bulldogs' first play from scrimmage, Madkin turned a busted play into a 19-yard gain. After Dontae Walker lost a yard, Madkin went up the middle from the 7-yard line to give Mississippi State its second straight bowl win after four consecutive losses.
"All I know is that I broke containment and I was trying to stretch (the ball) out as far as I could," Madkin said. "I knew I had scored when my teammates started to jump on me."
Playing in a steady snow that obscured the yard markers and made footing treacherous, Madkin completed 9-of-19 passes for 71 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Walker carried 16 times for 143 yards and three scores.
"There might have been a different football game under normal conditions, but our team just never gave up," said Mississippi State coach Jackie Sherrill, who held the same post at Texas A&M from 1982-88. "I was surprised both teams scored as many points as we did in the snow."
Toombs set a Texas A&M bowl record with 35 carries for 193 yards and three TDs. The yardage was the second-highest total in Aggies' bowl history, trailing only the 276 Curtis Dickey rolled up in the 1978 Hall of Fame Bowl.
"I haven't given the records any thought," Toombs said. "I'm a team guy and my only concern is the team."
Trailing 21–20 after three quarters, Texas A&M grabbed the lead on a 35-yard touchdown pass from Mark Farris to Bethel Johnson. Richard Whitaker ran for the two-point conversion and Toombs scored on a 13-yard run to give the Aggies a 35–21 cushion.
Just over a minute later, Walker broke off a 32-yard touchdown. With less than three minutes remaining, safety Marco Minor intercepted Farris at the Aggies' 4-yard line. Madkin threw a three-yard TD toss to Donald Lee to tie it with 90 seconds left.
"I saw our defensive line going in pretty hard and my guy stopped," Minor said. "So I just stepped in front of him as soon as possible to make a play. That's what I did."
Whitaker and Toombs ran for first-quarter touchdowns to stake Texas A&M to a 14–0 lead. The Bulldogs tied it in the second as Walker raced 40 yards for a score (video) and Madkin found Dicenzo Miller for a five-yard TD.
The Aggies took a 20–14 lead into the locker room after Farris and Robert Ferguson hooked up for a 42-yard touchdown. Texas A&M has lost four straight and seven of its last eight bowl appearances.
"People talked all week about how evenly matched Texas A&M and Mississippi State were. At the end of 60 minutes of play, the score was tied, and when the game was over, only two points separated the teams so they were obviously right," Aggies coach R.C. Slocum said. "It's a bitter feeling for us and I'm sure Mississippi State is feeling pretty good on their side."
Sherrill, the winningest coach in Mississippi State history, improved to 2–4 in bowl games with the Bulldogs and 8-6 overall. Slocum, who has won 78 percent of his games at Texas A&M, fell to 2–8 in bowls.
About 30 minutes before kickoff snow blew into Shreveport with strong wind whipping from one end zone to the other. The game started with the synthetic grass field a mix of green and white. By the second quarter, the turf was blanketed by snow. Plows were used during timeouts to make the goal lines, end lines and hash marks visible.
As the snow fell throughout the game, at times it came down so hard it made watching the game like looking through television static. Many of the 36,974 fans at Independence Stadium left at halftime.
- First Quarter
- A&M- Whitaker 9 run (Kitchens kick) 13:22 A&M 7 MSU 0
- A&M- Toombs 4 run (Kitchens kick) 8:16 A&M 14 MSU 0
- Second Quarter
- MSU- Walker 40 run (Westerfield kick) 9:21 A&M 14 MSU 7
- MSU- Miller 5 pass from Madkin (Westerfield kick) :54 A&M 14 MSU 14
- A&M- Ferguson 42 pass from Farris (kick failed) :46 A&M 20 MSU 14
- Third Quarter
- MSU- Walker 1 run (Westerfield kick) 11:55 MSU 21 A&M 20
- Fourth Quarter
- A&M- Johnson 35 pass from Farris (Whitaker run for two-point conversion) 14:51 A&M 28 MSU 21
- A&M- Toombs 13 run (Kitchens kick) 9:20 A&M 35 MSU 21
- MSU- Walker 32 run (Westerfield kick) 8:17 A&M 35 MSU 28
- MSU- Lee 3 pass from Madkin (Westerfield kick) 1:30 A&M 35 MSU 35
- A&M- Toombs 25 run (kick failed) A&M 41 MSU 35
- MSU- 2 point defensive conversion by Jul Griffith A&M 41 MSU 37
- MSU- Madkin 6 run MSU 43 A&M 41