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No. 23 Mississippi State vs. Louisville in TaxSlayer Bowl
31 December 2017, 01:04 | Kristopher Drake
TaxSlayer Bowl Mississippi State as a microcosm of the coaching business
Those seems about as close to a given as possible considering Jackson's year.
"RECEIVER WOES: Not only will Mississippi State be without Fitzgerald, senior receiver Donald Gray will miss his fifth consecutive game because of a groin injury and receiver Keith Mixon won't play because of an ankle injury".
But you knew Jackson wasn't going to be totally upstaged in this game, and sure enough, he had one of the best highlights of the game on this ankle-breaking touchdown run in the second quarter to tie the game at 14-14.
Defensively, MSU will face one of its toughest challenges in Heisman Trophy victor Lamar Jackson, who is just one of three quarterbacks nationally, joining MSU's own Fitzgerald, to throw for over 1,700 yards and rush for over 900 yards this season. The Cardinals (8-4, 4-4 ACC) enter the TaxSlayer Bowl on a three-game win streak. They had an interim coaching staff and were without their star quarterback, but yet it was Mississippi State that looked like the more composed team in the bowl game.
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They enter this game ranked 23rd in the country in rushing, averaging 249.9 yards per game. Sweat, an outside linebacker, leads the SEC in sacks with 9.5, and he claimed three SEC defensive player of the week honors this season. On the flip side, Sweat and Simmons would love nothing more than to make a Cardinal other than Jackson beat the Bulldogs' defense. Quarterback Keytaon Thompson should be adequately prepared to run the offense, and with Montez Sweat and Jeffery Simmons manning the defense, Louisville will face a formidable opponent.
According to the Florida Times-Union, Jackson plans to announce whether he will enter the National Football League draft or return for his senior season sometime after the bowl game.
As usual, offenses are running rampant during the bowl season. In what's likely to be his last collegiate game, Jackson should again impress with a dazzling performance. Jackson even had a chance to win the game in the final minute, but Mississippi State's front seven, which had dominated most of the game, ended up winning the game on the field.
- Written by Elton Hayes, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network.
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