Mississippi State (8-4) vs Iowa (8-4)
Date/Time: Tuesday, January 1st at 11 AM CT
Location: Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, FL
Conference tie-ins: SEC, Big 10
Last year’s result: South Carolina defeated Michigan 26-19
Mississippi State bowl history
The Bulldogs are 13-8 all-time in their bowl history including a 31-27 win over Louisville in last year’s TaxSlayer Bowl.
Mississippi State is appearing in their ninth straight bowl game, extending a school record. Previously, the most consecutive bowl games they had appeared in was three, from 1998-2000.
This is the first appearance in the Outback Bowl for the Bulldogs. Additionally, this is just the third bowl game against a Big Ten member.
Iowa bowl history
Iowa is 15-15-1 in their bowl history, including a 27-20 win over Boston College in last year’s Pinstripe Bowl.
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29 of Iowa’s 31 bowl games have occurred since 1981, under just two head coaches, Hayden Fry along with Kirk Ferentz.
This is the sixth appearance in the Outback Bowl for the Hawkeyes, all since 2003. They are 2-3 as of now.
The Outback Bowl will be the
Key player to watch for each team
Mississippi State: Defensive Tackle – Jeffery Simmons
Iowa: Tight End – T.J. Hockenson
The Bulldogs have an amazing rushing attack, led by quarterback Nick Fitzgerald along with running backs Kylin Hill and Aeris Williams. However, the passing game is pretty much non-existent, ranking 112th nationally. Defense is certainly where this team shines. In fact, they rank third in the nation in yards allowed per game. Additionally, they are the number one scoring defense in the country. Jefferey Simmons, Montez Sweat, and Johnathan Abram are among the stars for the defense.
Iowa quarterback Nathan Stanley has had a solid year leading a balanced offense. Still, the offense only ranks 78th overall in the country, which is not good when facing a top three defense. Iowa will have to rely on its seventh-ranked defense to slow down the Mississippi State rushing attack. The good news for Iowa is that rush defense is their strength.
The Outback Bowl pits two top-seven defenses against each other, with strength against strength. That is what makes this game especially intriguing. Somebody will have to make plays in the passing game as well as force a key turnover or two to secure the victory. Certainly, if you are expecting a lot of points in the Outback Bowl, here is a word of advice. Don’t. Just expect a close, defensive game.
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