The Mississippi State Bulldogs take on the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets tonight in the Capital One Orange Bowl. The game is scheduled for an 8:00 p.m. start time and it will be televised nationally on ESPN. Currently the Betting Odds for the game have the Bulldogs favored to pick up the win.
Mississippi State was the top-ranked team in college football for a chunk of the season, but ended up getting shut out of the playoffs because of losses to Alabama and Ole Miss. Now the Bulldogs have to re-focus, but they are still playing in a New Year's Six game against a good Georgia Tech team. The Yellow Jackets found their way into this game by winning 10 games during the regular season and nearly beating Florida State in the ACC title game.
The Yellow Jackets have one of the better running teams in the country, ranking third best with an average of 333 yards on the ground. They have several guys that can carry the rock, with three carrying the ball at least 100 times this season, led by QB Justin Thomas (965 yards, 5 TDs). Zach Laskey and Synjyn Davis combined for better than 1,500 yards on the ground as well with 15 touchdowns. Mississippi State is going to have to find a way to slow down the Yellow Jackets running attack.
Surely, the Bulldogs are a more physical football team, having played in the SEC. Georgia Tech is no slouch, though, and their last three games have proved that by beating both Clemson and Georgia and nearly knocking off the Seminoles. Paul Johnson will have his team ready to go in this one.
Georgia Tech owns a 4-0 lifetime number against Mississippi State, but they've never met in a bowl game. The Yellow Jackets have played in a bowl game each of the last 17 seasons as well, but they've only picked up a victory in one of those games under Johnson, who has led them to seven consecutive bowls. Mississippi State head coach Dan Mullen has the Bulldogs in their fifth straight game, having won three of the four previous contests.
In tonight's game, Dak Prescott is going to have to play like he did during the early part of the season. Prescott guided the Bulldogs to an average of 37 points per game, but they did not have great offensive games in two of their last three games in losses to Alabama and Ole Miss. Prescott combined for better than 3,900 yards of total offense this season and scored 37 touchdowns. He's got some weapons on the field, including bowling ball Josh Robinson in the backfield.
This one should be a good contest, but it's tough to see Georgia Tech winning. The Bulldogs are bigger and more physical than Georgia Tech, but the Yellow Jackets are efficient when they have the football. Mississippi State is very good defensively, which gives them the advantage in this one tonight.
Free Pick: Mississippi State 30, Georgia Tech 24
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