STARKVILLE, Miss. (WTVA) - For the first time in program history, Mississippi State University prepared to face the University of Tulsa in the Armed Forces Bowl in Fort Worth, Texas on Thursday.
MSU Head Coach Mike Leach said the Golden Hurricane biggest asset heading into the game is their team chemistry.
“The biggest thing that jumps off the screen is that they play together well,” he said.
The Bulldogs will play in its 11th straight bowl game after just three wins this season.
MSU's opponent had more success in the regular season, doubling the Bulldogs wins this year and ending the season ranked 24th in the nation.
Leach attributes the Golden Hurricane successes to their player personnel.
“You just have an awful lot of guys in the right place at the right time," said Leach. "They’ve worked long and hard and as a result, they put together a good season.”
However, the Bulldogs hope to slay Goliath and get the upset.
State practiced multiple times this week to prepare for the dynamic Tulsa run-game.
Junior wide receiver, Austin Williams, feels the shorter bowl game schedule puts less pressure on the game.
“It’s the same schedule, same routine, so honestly it feels really normal," Williams said. "It’s what we’ve done all year, so we all feel comfortable and ready. We feel prepared.”
Leach said his team's resiliency throughout the entire season gives him confidence in his young team for the big match-up.
“Throughout the country, you kind of saw a number of other teams sort of give up the ghost and quit probably playing with some of the passion they did earlier in the season," said Leach, "but I didn’t feel like that was the case with us.”
This is the 12th time the Bulldogs have met a new opponent in a bowl game.
MSU currently has a 6-5 record against those new opponents.