23/04/2024

Bulldogs getting down to business in TaxSlayer Bowl

Sábado 30 de Diciembre del 2017

Bulldogs getting down to business in TaxSlayer Bowl

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – No. 24 Mississippi State is taking a businesslike approach to its eighth-straight bowl appearance.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – No. 24 Mississippi State is taking a businesslike approach to its eighth-straight bowl appearance.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – No. 24 Mississippi State is taking a businesslike approach to its eighth-straight bowl appearance.

The Bulldogs will battle Louisville in the TaxSlayer Bowl at 11 a.m. on ESPN today and are attempting to keep things as routine as possible.

“It’s just a regular game, the only thing different is that there’s a trophy at the end,” said MSU running back Kylin Hill.

But the past month has been anything but normal for the Bulldogs.

Head coach Dan Mullen departed for Florida, taking three assistant coaches along with him. Greg Knox is serving as State’s interim head coach for a team that is also without starting quarterback Nick Fitzgerald due to an ankle injury. True freshman Keytaon Thompson will draw his first start as the Bulldogs’ signal caller.

Mississippi State enters today’s contest a much different team than the one that posted an 8-4 record during the regular season. It also makes for a difficult scout from the Cardinals’ perspective.

“We have to prepare from what we see on video,” said Louisville coach Bobby Petrino. “Obviously, we’ve tried to prepare for the players that they have and their talents. Scheme-wise it’s up in the air a little bit because they have two new play-callers on offense and defense. You always wonder how that’s actually going to play out.”

The Cardinals are also coming off an 8-4 campaign during the regular season. Louisville is currently riding a three-game winning streak in which it averaged 594 yards and 46 points in victories over Virginia, Syracuse and Kentucky.

“I do really like the way we finished the season off,” Petrino said. “We had a great November. Our offense was clicking, executing, scoring points. Our defense was doing a great job of sacking the quarterback, causing turnovers, holding our opponents’ points down. I felt like as the year went on, we got better.”

The Cardinals also have one of the top players in all of college football in junior quarterback Lamar Jackson. The 2016 Heisman Trophy winner finished as a finalist for the award this year after completing 60.4 percent of his passes for 3,489 yards, 25 touchdowns and six interceptions and rushing for 1,443 yards and 17 more scores.

“He’s one of the most elusive guys I’ve ever seen,” said MSU safety Brandon Bryant. “He gets in and out of cuts fast and can move. He’s so poised in the pocket. I’ve studied his every move and all his highlights. Basically he’s a great athlete and we’ve got to make him be a quarterback and keep him in the pocket and not let him create any big plays.”

Jackson has mutual admiration towards the Bulldogs’ defense as well.

“They fly around to the ball and are big and physical,” Jackson said. “They’ve got a nice, deep defensive line. It’s going to be a good game.”

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