Miss State headed to Taxslayer Bowl

Published 8:13 pm Sunday, December 3, 2017

STARKVILLE — For a school-record eighth straight season, Mississippi State football is going bowling as the No. 23 Bulldogs will face Louisville in the TaxSlayer Bowl at 11 a.m. Dec. 30 at EverBank Field in Jacksonville, Fl.

This year, the Bulldogs will have to take the field without former head coach Dan Mullen, who left to take the same position at the University of Florida.

Joe Moorhead was named MSU’s new head coach last week, but he will not coach in the bowl game and instead focus on recruiting and evaluating. Greg Knox, the team’s running back coach, who has served on the staff the past nine seasons and over 20 years in the SEC, will instead serve as head coach in the TaxSlayer Bowl. The Bulldogs begin bowl practice on Friday, Dec. 8.

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“This is a great opportunity for our team to go after its ninth win of the year,” said Greg Knox, who will serve as MSU’s head coach for the bowl game. “We are excited about playing an opponent the caliber of Louisville in the TaxSlayer Bowl. Our players are ready to get back to practice.”

No. 23 State (8-4, 4-4 SEC) was the fifth-highest ranked SEC team in the final College Football Playoff rankings.

Three of the Bulldogs’ losses occurred to teams in the final top seven. Seven of MSU’s victories were by double-digits, including a 37-7 victory over current No. 17 LSU.

“We are excited to accept a bid to the TaxSlayer Bowl and cap this season off the right way,” Director of Athletics John Cohen said. “I want to congratulate our team for a terrific season and earning the right to play one more. We get to do it in an NFL stadium. Our group of seniors is one victory away from tying the school record for wins by a senior class. We look forward to seeing our Bulldog family turn out in Jacksonville as we play in a Florida bowl for the fifth time in eight seasons.”

Louisville enters the game with an 8-4 record and a 4-4 mark in the ACC. They feature reigning Heisman Trophy winner quarterback Lamar Jackson. It will be the fifth time the two schools have faced off and first since Sept. 18, 1976 in Starkville.

MSU won all four previous meetings on the field but had to vacate wins in 1975 and 1976.

“Playing a bowl game in the state of Florida is a great reward for our players, staff and fans,” Lousiville head coach Bobby Petrino said. “We have a large number of players from Florida so I know our players will be excited to make the trip.

“The TaxSlayer Bowl has a great tradition for being one of the best bowls, and I know our fans will be thrilled for another trip to the Sunshine State and playing an excellent Mississippi State team.”

The game will be televised live on ESPN. Tickets for the TaxSlayer Bowl are on sale now at HailState.com/bowltickets.

Tickets start at $85. Cowbells will be permitted at EverBank Field, and the NFL’s clear bag policy will be in place.

LSU headed to Citrus Bowl

Two of college football’s most storied programs will meet in a bowl game for the fourth time when No. 17 LSU faces No. 14 Notre Dame in the Citrus Bowl presented by Overton’s on New Year’s Day in Orlando.

LSU will be making its second consecutive trip, and fifth overall, to the Citrus Bowl, while Notre Dame will play in the bowl for the first time. “We are very excited about the opportunity to play an outstanding Notre Dame team in the Citrus Bowl,” LSU coach Ed Orgeron said. “This will be a tremendous challenge for our team. It’s going to be a big, physical football game. It will be a tremendous matchup, and we are looking forward to being in the Citrus Bowl again.”

Anytime you play Notre Dame, you have great respect for them and what they’ve accomplished through the years as a program. I watched them play several times this year. They played Georgia very tough and they beat some very good football teams. I have played against them numerous times during my career and they are always a well-coached with big-time athletes.”

LSU, winners of six of its last seven games, brings a 9-3 overall mark into the contest. Notre Dame won eight of its first nine games, including victories over Southern Cal and Michigan State, and also stands at 9-3 overall.