Mississippi State football: 5 bold predictions for Music City Bowl
Joe Moorhead has led Mississippi State to 2 bowls in 2 seasons.
Monday afternoon against Louisville, he’s hoping to pick up his 1st bowl victory.
Will he? He’ll have to do it without starting quarterback Garrett Shrader, who was knocked out of the game after fighting with a teammate, just the latest in what has been a wild season in Starkville.
Here are 5 bold predictions for the Music City Bowl.
1. Kylin Hill sets career-high for rushing yards
Hill is heading to the NFL. He could have skipped the bowl game and eliminated the possibility of being injured.
Instead, the Bulldogs’ offensive MVP is playing. As a reward? Moorhead is going to feed him.
Hill’s career-high is 234 yards.
Louisville has one of the worst rush defenses in the country. Hill can go until he doesn’t want to go anymore.
2. Tommy Stevens rushes for 100 yards for 1st time
Stevens, the grad transfer in his final game, will get the start. He has come close to 100 yards in his past 2 games, including 96 against Alabama.
There’s no need to throw much. Heck, Kentucky attempted just 2 passes in its 45-13 blowout over the Cardinals. It ran 40 times for 517 yards.
Stevens will throw more than that, but if you squint, you’re going to think that’s a smaller version of Nick Fitzgerald playing QB Monday.
3. MSU gives up season-high rushing yards to Javian Hawkins
You probably don’t know much about Hawkins.
He’s a freshman on an average ACC team, so there’s no real reason to follow his every move.
But he finished 3rd in the ACC in rushing this season (1,420 yards) and already is drawing odds as a Heisman contender next season.
Mississippi State obviously has seen its share of outstanding running backs this season and held everybody in check.
Only 2 reached 100 yards, led by Rakeem Boyd (114).
Hawkins will exceed that total.
4. MSU fans will find a way to sneak some cowbells into the game
Bulldogs fans have been allowed to bring their beloved music-maker to other bowl games, but the Titans’ stadium has banned them, just as it does for its NFL games.
Apparently it’s out of concern that they might be used as a weapon or projectile.
That reasoning is ridiculous, of course, you know, considering bands are allowed to perform.
The biggest upset of the day will be if nobody is caught clanging cowbells inside the stadium.
I fully expect Bulldogs fans to get creative in their deconstruction-reconstruction methods.
Bring on the noise.
5. Louisville springs the upset
Mississippi State is favored by 4. The Bulldogs should be able to run at will, but that plan is more effective if the defense controls Louisville early.
The Cardinals don’t play much defense, but they can score. Against average teams, anyway.
They scored 62 against a ranked Wake Forest team, 34 against NC State and 56 against Syracuse. They beat Virginia, which reached the ACC Championship Game.
On their best day, they could beat Mississippi State by 10.
But they also lost by 28 at Miami and by 32 at Kentucky.
Which Louisville team shows up? The bold prediction is a more motivated bunch than the one that got off the bus in Lexington.