Liberty Bowl Rice Owls vs. Mississippi State Bulldogs - 12/31/13
Mississippi State Bulldogs (6-6) at Rice Owls (10-3)
College Football: Tuesday, December 31, 2013 at 4:00 pm (Liberty Bowl)
The Line: Rice Owls +7 -- Over/Under: 51.5 See the Latest Odds
The CUSA champion Rice Owls take the field with the Mississippi State Bulldogs in the Liberty Bowl.
CUSA champ Rice won the conference title because they were one of the more balanced teams in the league with their ability to both score and defend. Opponents were able to run on this defense a bit but overall this unit allowed only 351 yards and 23 points while racking up 425 yards and 31 points offensively behind the nation's number 16 rushing attack. I would say Taylor McHargue was an adequate passer with 2,261 yards with 17 scores and eight INT's depite completing just 52% of his throws. Jordan Taylor was the clear number one receiver with 846 yards on 54 catches with Dennis Parks and Turner Petersen (injured) combining for over 800 yards so the team did gain valuable yardage through the air. The ground was where the Owls prospered with Charles Ross leading the way with 1,252 yards on 201 totes with McHargue and Jowan Davis adding another 900+ yards.
Brendan Maloney-USA TODAY Sports
Mississippi State needed wins in the final two regular season games to become Bowl eligible but it was far from easy with overtime decisions over Arkansas and rival Mississippi. The defense first Bulldogs relied heavily on controlling the scoreboard and did just that with 366 yards and 24 points allowed. MSU did struggle for consistent scoring with 426 yards and 26 points barely keeping their heads above water although there was a decent mix between the run and throw. Tyler Russell threw for 875 yards but a shoulder injury has him on the shelf leaving Dak Prescott under center. Prescott connected on 58% for 1,657 yards for seven scores and seven picks with top target Jameon Lewis snaring 55 balls for 703 yards with three others totaling between 300-380 yards. Prescott was the Bulldogs top runner as well with 751 yards on 120 carries with LaDarius Perkins and Josh Robinson adding a combined 909 yards.
I read that there is no way a CUSA squad can stand up to an SEC for 60 minutes which might be true but for now I will take the points and look at this further...