Louisville Cardinals (8-4) at Mississippi State Bulldogs (8-4)
College Football: Saturday, December 30, 2017 at 12:00 pm (EverBank Field)
The Line: Mississippi State Bulldogs +6.5 -- Over/Under: 63 Click to Get Latest Betting Odds
The #23 Louisville Cardinals look to move up the college football rankings with a win versus the Mississippi State Bulldogs in the Taxslayer Bowl.
Fans of offensive football liked the Louisville Cardinals who ripped up huge chunks of real state on their way a 39 points on 560.5 yards. Louisville could run or throw effectively with both ranked in the top 15. The Cardinals were average defensively with 27 points allowed on 386.8 yards with the passing defense giving up 232.8 yards.
Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson put up outstanding numbers as he completed 241-399 (60.4%) for 3,489 yards with 25 touchdowns and six interceptions. Jackson had some explosive targets to play catch with in Jaylen Smith (53-873), Dez Fitzpatrick (45-699) and Seth Dawkins (39-604). If Jackson’s passing wasn’t enough he was Louisville’s top runner as well with 1,443 yards and 17 touchdowns on 208 touches while Malik Williams and Reggie Bonnafon combined for 964 yards on 86 carries.
The Mississippi State Bulldogs were eyeing an SEC title but that proved to be out of reach in a conference where a bad Saturday meant playing for second place. Mississippi State did their share of damage with a capable offense that scored 32 points on 419.8 yards that was led by the #15 ground game that produced nearly 250 yards. The Bulldogs defense made those numbers work defensively with just 20.4 points given up on 302 yards with the #13 pass ‘D’ giving up 172 yards.
Mississippi State quarterback Nick Fitzgerald is out and he was a good dual threat as he connected on 159-286 (55.6%) for 1,782 yards with 15 touchdowns and eleven interceptions. Fitzgerald was the Bulldogs second leading rusher with 984 yards on 162 carries and 14 trips to the end zone while Aeris Williams ran for 1,019 yards on 224 totes but averaged just 4.4 yards per attempt. The Bulldogs passing attack was receiver by committee with five players totaling between 21-275 yards.
Under is 4-0 in Louisville last 4 games in December and under is 4-0 in Louisville last 4 Bowl games and under is 4-0 in Louisville last 4 bowl games. Mississippi State are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 vs. ACC and over is 4-1 in Bulldogs last 5 vs. ACC and over is 6-2 in Mississippi last 8 games following a ATS loss.
Right now I think the offensive balance of Louisville will be an issue for Mississippi State who also have questions at quarterback so I lean Cardinals for now…