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MSU goes for second straight nine-win season in Outback Bowl

MSU head coach Joe Moorhead looks to become the first head coach in Mississippi State history to win nine games in his inaugural season.

Posted: Dec 31, 2018 9:35 PM

TAMPA, Fla. (MSU Athletics/WTVA) - For a school-record ninth consecutive season, No. 18 Mississippi State will play in a bowl game as the Bulldogs face Iowa in the Outback Bowl at noon ET/11 a.m. CT on New Year's Day at Raymond James Stadium.

State (8-4, 4-4 SEC) is vying for its fourth nine-win season in the past five years and is searching for its fourth consecutive bowl victory. The Hawkeyes (8-4, 5-4 Big Ten) enter the Outback Bowl on a two-game win streak.

This is State's 22nd all-time bowl appearance. The Bulldogs are 13-8 all-time in bowl games. MSU head coach Joe Moorhead looks to become the first head coach in Mississippi State history to win nine games in his inaugural season.

After an eight-win regular season and its highest College Football Playoff rankings finish since 2014, MSU is vying for just the 10th nine-win season in the 119-year history of the program. The 2018 senior class owns a 32-19 record, which puts them in a tie for fifth in MSU history among senior classes. One more win would tie them for fourth place. This senior class has reached a bowl game every year of their careers and has produced multiple nine-win seasons.

This is MSU's eighth all-time bowl appearance in the state of Florida (4-3) and fifth bowl in the Sunshine State in the past six years (third straight). The Bulldogs defeated Louisville, 31-27, in the 2017 TaxSlayer Bowl on Dec. 30 at Everbank Field in Jacksonville last season for its third-straight bowl win.

MSU is one of five SEC teams who has been to a bowl every season this decade (Alabama, Georgia, LSU and Texas A&M the others). MSU's streak of nine straight bowls is currently the fifth-longest in the SEC.

The Bulldogs feature numerous future NFL players who intend on playing in their final game, including defensive tackle Jeffery Simmons. A likely first round pick, Simmons declared for the 2019 NFL Draft but will play in the Outback Bowl.

In his first year at MSU, Broyles Award finalist defensive coordinator Bob Shoop directed arguably the best defensive unit in college football during the 2018 regular season. His unit is ranked No. 1 in the FBS in scoring defense (12.0), fewest touchdowns allowed (12), pass efficiency defense (97.26), red-zone touchdown percentage (25.0) and fewest 50+ yard plays allowed (0) and is second in yards per play allowed (4.14).

Shoop's squad is the only defense in college football that ranks in the top 10 nationally in scoring defense (1st - 12.0), rushing defense (9th - 104.25), passing defense (6th - 164.2) and total defense (3rd - 268.4).

State held seven of its FBS opponents to their lowest point total of the year, including current No. 1 Alabama (24), No. 10 Florida (13) and No. 19 Texas A&M (13).

By The Numbers
99 – Career total touchdowns responsible for by senior QB Nick Fitzgerald, two shy of tying for sixth all-time in SEC history

9 – Games MSU has allowed fewer than 14 points this season, which are the most in the FBS.

4 – Bulldogs who earned All-America honors in 2018 (S Johnathan Abram, C Elgton Jenkins, DE Montez Sweat, DT Jeffery Simmons), the most since 2000

96 – TFLs by MSU this season, which led the SEC during the regular season and are two shy of matching the single-season school record of 98 set in 2015

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 35419

Reported Deaths: 1230
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds290851
DeSoto190019
Madison144638
Jones120349
Harrison113616
Rankin108715
Neshoba104577
Forrest99343
Lauderdale96381
Scott81915
Jackson77519
Washington72213
Copiah65315
Leake63520
Lee61222
Oktibbeha61128
Grenada5949
Warren59421
Holmes58641
Wayne56218
Yazoo5536
Lowndes54813
Lamar5347
Leflore53156
Lincoln52935
Pike49920
Lafayette4974
Sunflower4778
Monroe45635
Panola4486
Covington4355
Bolivar40518
Simpson3933
Attala38424
Newton37510
Tate35213
Adams35120
Pontotoc3466
Marion32712
Claiborne30111
Chickasaw29719
Winston29511
Pearl River28832
Noxubee2788
Jasper2776
Marshall2773
Walthall2627
Clay25811
Union25211
Smith24612
Clarke22325
Coahoma2226
Lawrence2092
Yalobusha2079
Tallahatchie1954
Kemper18414
Carroll18111
Montgomery1713
Calhoun1645
Humphreys16310
Itawamba1468
Tippah14511
Hancock14413
Webster13411
Jefferson1263
Tunica1233
Jefferson Davis1204
Prentiss1204
George1163
Greene11310
Amite1103
Alcorn1002
Quitman991
Wilkinson989
Tishomingo971
Perry874
Choctaw754
Stone742
Franklin542
Sharkey480
Benton460
Issaquena101
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 49892

Reported Deaths: 1077
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson6433170
Mobile4753139
Montgomery4430112
Tuscaloosa263253
Madison21199
Marshall192611
Shelby164225
Lee157237
Morgan12695
Baldwin120711
Walker106131
Elmore102920
Dallas9969
Etowah95114
DeKalb9417
Franklin93216
Autauga67614
Russell6750
Chambers67427
Unassigned65328
Butler65129
Tallapoosa62869
Limestone6223
Houston5857
Cullman5716
Lauderdale5686
St. Clair5133
Colbert4956
Calhoun4905
Lowndes48122
Escambia4808
Pike4725
Coffee4244
Jackson4182
Covington41412
Barbour3942
Dale3911
Talladega3897
Bullock37710
Marengo35211
Hale34823
Chilton3232
Clarke3126
Wilcox3038
Blount2961
Winston2965
Sumter29113
Marion27514
Pickens2696
Randolph2589
Monroe2553
Perry2362
Conecuh2308
Bibb2211
Macon2159
Choctaw21212
Greene1959
Henry1533
Washington1418
Crenshaw1273
Lawrence1250
Cherokee1237
Geneva960
Lamar871
Clay852
Fayette821
Coosa651
Cleburne421
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