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Outback Bowl: Bulldogs arrive in Tampa

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After overcoming a travel delay, the Bulldogs landed at Tampa International Airport around 1:30 p.m. ET, and arrived shortly after at Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay.

Posted: Dec 27, 2018 8:33 PM

TAMPA, Fla. (WTVA/MSU Athletics) – Making its school-record ninth straight bowl appearance, Mississippi State arrived in Tampa on Thursday afternoon for the first of several days of preparation and activities leading up to the Outback Bowl on New Year’s Day.

After overcoming a travel delay, the Bulldogs landed at Tampa International Airport around 1:30 p.m. ET, and arrived shortly after at Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay.

Head coach Joe Moorhead and the team spent the remainder of the afternoon in meetings and walkthrough practices. Moorhead and select players, including senior quarterback Nick Fitzgerald, later met with the media to close out the day.

Members of the team, coaching staff and family members capped the evening at Amalie Arena, where the Tampa Bay Lightning took on the Philadelphia Flyers.

Up Next

The Bulldogs will practice Friday morning at Jesuit High School and spend the afternoon visiting children at Tampa General Hospital. Both the Bulldogs and Hawkeyes will enjoy an evening of fun and games at Splitsville at Sparkman Wharf along the downtown Tampa waterfront.

Special Edition of “Dawg Talk”

A special Outback Bowl preview edition of "Dawg Talk" will air from 7-8 p.m. ET (6-7 p.m. CT) on Sunday, Dec. 30 from 3 Daughters Brewing on 222 22nd Street in St. Petersburg, two days prior to the Bulldogs' New Year's Day matchup against Iowa.

Gameday

MSU (8-4) is set to face Iowa (8-4) at noon ET/11 a.m. CT on Jan. 1 at Raymond James Stadium. The Bulldogs are seeking back-to-back nine-win seasons for just the second time in program history. For complete gameday information, visit HailState.com/Gameday.

The show will be hosted by the "Voice of the Bulldogs" Neil Price and feature analyst Matt Wyatt along with special guests. Fans are invited to attend.

Affiliates of the MSU Sports Network, including 100.9 FM in Starkville, will carry the hour-long broadcast from 6-7 p.m. CT. It can also be heard for free on HailState.com/plus and on the TuneIn App.

Quotes From Joe Moorhead and Nick Fitzgerald Media Sessions
Head Coach Joe Moorhead

On what he hopes the team accomplishes at practice this week …

“Preparing ourselves to take the field with confidence. When you talk about the three phases of victory, preparation is the most important. Then, go out on the field and play with great effort, and execute our scheme better than the opposition. But, this will be kind of the second time through the game plan, essentially a time and a half prior to leaving campus. I would like to see good retention, good effort and most importantly precision and execution.”

On Iowa …

“Offensively, I played against them the last two years at Penn State as offensive coordinator. So, I feel like we have a pretty good idea of what they are going to do on that side of the ball, plus watching all of the games this year. Defensively, they are very stout and run the ball very well. They have a pro-style quarterback, a [John] Mackey Award winner at tight end, and a big, strong, physical offensive line. They are giving up, I think, right around 17 points per game defensively. They are scoring right around 30 [points] on offense.”

On Hawkeyes head coach Kirk Ferentz and his sixth appearance at the Outback Bowl …

“I certainly have the utmost respect for Coach Ferentz and the Iowa program. He’s a fellow Western Pennsylvania native. He is the model of consistency, and I think that is something with their philosophy, blue-collar work ethic, fundamentals and technique. He has done it at a very high level for a very long time. The fact that he has been here six times in a New Year’s Day bowl, I think, speaks volumes for his program.”

On his last time playing a football game in the state of Florida …

“I think I have to go back to the last game against South Florida in my second-to-last year at UConn. We beat them on a field goal almost as time expired to clinch the Big East and go to the Fiesta Bowl. There may have been one after that, but that is the one that sticks out in my mind the most.”

On retention of the game plan …

“It has been pretty good. Sitting in meetings, watching the guys at walkthrough, like I said, we have been through it about a time and a half. I think it has been pretty good for just the first walkthrough.”

On the biggest different in this Iowa team than the one he faced last year …
“I think personnel is probably the biggest difference. Iowa does a great job emphasizing what its team does well, and I think that shows up in all three phases. So, it is more personnel than anything.”

On how to send the message of focus to the team during the bowl week …

“The ability to compartmentalize and make sure when it is time for football – mostly in the morning – that we are focusing on football. Then, when it is time for fun – we have the hockey game tonight and some other events throughout the course of the week – that they are concentrated on having fun but able to turn the football switch on and off and also turn the have-fun switch on and off. And, make sure that the too much fun is not taking away from the too much football.”

Senior Quarterback Nick Fitzgerald

On Iowa …

“I have watched a lot of film. They definitely have a very sound defense. They are not going to beat themselves. They are always going to be in position. You have to make tight throws and good catches if you want to move the ball on them. It is tough to run on them. I like our matchup, I like our game plan and I think it is going to work out.”

On what to tell some of the younger teammates about focusing during a bowl week …

“The easiest way is to tell them that when we are doing football, you are 100 percent locked in to football. That is the only thing that matters. The second that last whistle blows, go have all the fun you want, be back before curfew, and make sure you are looking over your notes and practice film from that day. But, when it is football time it is football time. When it is time to have fun, go enjoy what we have earned.”

On Iowa’s experience playing in the Outback Bowl and the game day atmosphere …

“It is a big bowl. Teams are going to travel well. They are going to bring fans, especially them because they have been here so many times. I also know our Hail State Family is going to pack that thing with Maroon and those cowbells are going to be rocking. I think it is going to be a great atmosphere.”

On bowl prep …

“With 15 extra practices comes 15 more opportunities to get better, especially the earlier ones when you just found out who you will be playing and you are not doing a lot of game planning. You are doing a lot of individual work and routes on air. For me, it was working on passing, pocket presence, feet in the pocket, keeping eyes up and delivering an accurate ball.”

On what sticks out about Iowa’s defense …

“How sound they are. Obviously, they are a top-10 defense in the country for a reason. They don’t make mistakes. They have a big front seven. It will be a tougher job to run the ball on them, which is something I think we do well. I think it is going to be a good matchup. They are very sound, they play together and they do not make mistakes.”

On what sophomore quarterback Keytaon Thompson can do in the future …

“He is an extremely great player and an awesome guy as well. He works hard. He is going to be a great leader. Everybody already respects him. You have seen what he can do when he has come in to play and a year ago in last year’s bowl game when he got a victory against a Heisman Trophy winner. We have all of the confidence in the world that when it is his time to play, he is going to lead us and do great things. He will probably break all of my records, too.”

Tickets for the New Year's Day matchup remain on sale at HailState.com/bowltickets. Fans who purchase tickets through HailState.com/bowltickets can receive a free Egg Bowl lapel pin, dinner with Coach Moorhead and an athletic facility tour.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 116617

Reported Deaths: 3283
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds8011179
DeSoto721079
Harrison539884
Jackson469387
Rankin401686
Madison384394
Lee364082
Forrest309478
Jones296184
Washington260399
Lafayette253143
Lauderdale2499135
Lamar229138
Oktibbeha203755
Bolivar202877
Neshoba1861111
Lowndes181262
Panola170640
Leflore169188
Sunflower164049
Warren156056
Monroe153073
Pontotoc149020
Marshall147330
Lincoln142959
Pike140456
Copiah138736
Scott126229
Coahoma125537
Yazoo122734
Grenada122639
Simpson122349
Union119725
Tate119339
Itawamba115926
Leake115842
Pearl River115060
Holmes114960
Adams109344
Prentiss108320
Wayne102722
Alcorn102112
George101419
Covington98529
Marion95443
Tippah93123
Newton86827
Chickasaw86226
Hancock85928
Tallahatchie84626
Winston84621
Tishomingo82241
Attala80526
Clarke76353
Clay70522
Jasper69217
Walthall64127
Calhoun62713
Noxubee60117
Smith59816
Yalobusha55614
Montgomery55423
Claiborne53916
Tunica53617
Lawrence53414
Perry51223
Carroll49712
Stone48614
Greene47918
Humphreys44916
Amite42713
Quitman4216
Jefferson Davis41711
Webster37813
Benton3608
Wilkinson33820
Kemper32715
Sharkey28715
Jefferson27710
Franklin2483
Choctaw2086
Issaquena1074
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 159439

Reported Deaths: 2699
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson23573377
Mobile16994316
Tuscaloosa10462140
Montgomery10352198
Madison942298
Shelby750465
Baldwin671269
Lee657165
Calhoun464761
Marshall442651
Etowah434151
Morgan422335
Houston419334
DeKalb349228
Elmore324653
St. Clair304042
Limestone293631
Walker283793
Talladega271437
Cullman255725
Lauderdale233842
Jackson219417
Autauga208231
Franklin206432
Colbert206032
Blount197225
Russell19603
Chilton190432
Dallas188127
Coffee180711
Dale178952
Covington175929
Escambia174931
Chambers136847
Clarke136617
Pike134514
Tallapoosa133987
Marion110331
Barbour10429
Marengo102622
Butler101241
Winston94013
Geneva9217
Lawrence86933
Pickens86918
Bibb85015
Randolph83516
Hale77730
Cherokee75614
Clay75312
Washington75112
Henry7236
Lowndes71628
Monroe65510
Bullock65017
Crenshaw60930
Perry5956
Fayette58913
Cleburne5739
Wilcox57012
Conecuh56513
Macon53920
Lamar5085
Sumter47421
Choctaw39312
Greene34616
Coosa2093
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