Liberty Bowl Preview: Rice Owls vs. Mississippi State Bulldogs

Liberty Bowl Preview

12/30/13 in NCAAF   |   Pat   |   5232 respect

The Liberty Bowl will be played on New Year's Eve in Memphis, Tennessee at 4 p.m. ET. The game features Conference USA champs Rice and Mississippi State, basically an SEC bottom-feeder.

Rice player to watch:

Charles Ross, RB--He averaged 6.2 yards per carry this year and finished with 1,252 yards and 15 TDs. The Mississippi State defense will be a bit tougher than what he's used to, but Rice will need him on top of his game if they hope to move the ball.

Blog Photo - Liberty Bowl Preview: Rice Owls vs. Mississippi State Bulldogs
Mississippi State player to watch:

Daq Prescott, QB--Mississippi State's current unsung hero, Prescott came off the bench and led the Bulldogs to a win over rival Ole Miss while battling a shoulder injury.

Rice key to victory:

The Owls will need to find a way to run the ball against a strong SEC defense, which will be unlike anything they've seen this year. Led by Ross, the Rice rushing attack is the 15th-best in the country. He'll need to come up big against the Bulldogs.

Mississippi State key to victory:

It needs to shut down the Rice running game and hold the offense to a few points. Mississippi State's offense isn't exactly all that stout, but can win a defensive thriller if the Bulldogs play their game.

Prediction:

I think Mississippi State will win. While Rice has had a damn good season, its quality of opponents is far less than what Mississippi State is accustomed to. The Bulldogs' track record against elite teams isn't all that great, but it at least seen a few, which is more than you can say for Rice. That experience will help propel them to victory over the Owls, whose talent pales in comparison.
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