Mississippi State Football 2014 Bowl Capsule

Mississippi State Bulldogs


If you would have told Mississippi State fans before the season that they would go 10-2, they would have been thrilled beyond belief. If you would have told Mississippi State fans three weeks ago that they would finish 10-2, they would have shed a tear (or two). They were undefeated and sitting at #1 just a few weeks ago, but after two losses in their last three games, they fell out of playoff contention. We give you everything you need to know before MSU goes for their 11th win.

2014 Record: 10-2, 6-2
Coach: Dan Mullen
Coach Bowl Record: 3-1

Big Wins: 9/20 at LSU (34-29), 10/11 Auburn (38-23)
Bad Losses: 11/15 at Alabama (20-25), 11/29 at Ole Miss (17-31)

It’s safe to say Mississippi State has a pretty good quarterback. Dak Prescott has 35 total touchdowns this year and only 10 interceptions. He’s a threat in the air and on the ground, making him a very well-rounded athlete. He has been the quarterback that Stark Vegas has dreamed of. But the question is, will this bowl game be his last game in a Mississippi State uniform, as he could opt to enter the NFL Draft after this season. As good as he has been though, he hasn’t stepped up when his team needed him the most. In the two biggest games of the season against Alabama and Ole Miss, he had three touchdown and three picks, bad enough for a QBR average of 33.95. Both of those games were on the road. I expect him to shake off those bad performances in the bowl game though and do what Dak Prescott usually does. On the other side of the ball, the Bulldogs have an outstanding defensive line. The D-Line alone has totaled 24.5 sacks on the season, and in 2013 the Mississippi State team only had 20 sacks. Led by Preston Smith, who has 9.0 sacks and 14.5 tackles for loss, the Bulldogs have applied tremendous pressure on opposing quarterbacks, and are always a tough matchup for an offensive line. Whoever has the job of trying to block these guys on New Year’s, good luck!

While the Mississippi State defensive line has been outstanding, the secondary has not. MSU is ranked dead last in the SEC in pass defense and 122nd out of 125 FBS teams, giving up 285.2 yards in the air per game. Ouch. Here’s some advice to whoever plays the Bulldogs in the bowl game: Don’t run it, throw it! The MSU secondary better improve quickly if they want to win their 11th game. Moving to the other side of the ball now, when you look at Mississippi State’s rushing offense on the year, the numbers are pretty good. But the last few games have not been pretty. In the losses against Alabama and Ole Miss, Bulldog running backs only averaged 84 yards per game. The leading rusher the last four games for MSU has been Ashton Shumpert, and he’s only averaged 51 yards per game in the last month. Mississippi State is very capable of reestablishing their rushing attack, but they have to step it up in the bowl to take the pressure off of Dak Prescott.

Statistical Leaders:
Rushing: Josh Robinson, RB, 1,128 yards
Passing: Dak Prescott, QB, 2,996 yards
Receiving: De’Runnya Wilson, WR, 575 yards
Tackles: Benardrick McKinney, LB, 61
Sacks: Preston Smith, DE, 9.0
Interceptions: Richie Brown, LB, 3; Will Redmond, DB, 3

2014 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 239.8 (19th in nation, 3rd in conference)
Passing Offense: 266.3 (36, 5)
Total Offense: 506.2 (9, 1)
Scoring Offense: 37.2 (16, 2)
Rushing Defense: 126.5 (25, 4)
Pass Defense: 285.2 (122, 14)
Total Defense: 411.7 (79, 12)
Scoring Defense: 19.4 (12, 4)
Turnover Margin: 0.08 (55, 9)
Sacks: 3.00 (14, 2)
Sacks Allowed: 1.75 (41, 7)

Recent Bowl Appearances:
2013    Liberty Bowl    Rice (44-7)
2012    Gator Bowl    Northwestern (20-34)
2011    Music City Bowl    Wake Forest (23-17)
2010    Gator Bowl    Michigan (52-14)
2007    Liberty Bowl    UCF (10-3)
2000    Independence Bowl    Texas A&M (43-41)
1999    Peach Bowl    Clemson (17-7)

*all team stats through 12/1


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