Outback Bowl: Bulldogs arrive in Tampa

@outbackbowl

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.

Cases: 259117

Reported Deaths: 5668
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto17436187
Hinds16524328
Harrison13876199
Rankin11000217
Jackson10652187
Lee8981141
Madison8413168
Jones6552112
Forrest6101121
Lauderdale6034189
Lowndes5463119
Lafayette507393
Lamar496465
Washington4877124
Bolivar4068109
Oktibbeha401681
Panola378380
Pontotoc372155
Monroe3628105
Warren3619101
Union350563
Marshall349569
Neshoba3433152
Pearl River3380104
Leflore3079108
Lincoln300687
Sunflower289272
Hancock285360
Tate276762
Alcorn268854
Pike266580
Itawamba266261
Scott253448
Yazoo250156
Prentiss249552
Tippah245850
Copiah244549
Coahoma243654
Simpson240069
Leake234367
Grenada221171
Marion218473
Covington216972
Adams210170
Wayne206432
Winston205267
George202739
Attala195761
Newton195745
Tishomingo192461
Chickasaw186144
Jasper176038
Holmes169868
Clay162735
Tallahatchie154935
Stone148424
Clarke143562
Calhoun138021
Smith125825
Yalobusha120234
Walthall113437
Greene112129
Noxubee111425
Montgomery110936
Carroll105922
Lawrence104317
Perry103231
Amite99926
Webster94324
Tunica87621
Jefferson Davis87327
Claiborne86825
Benton84023
Humphreys83624
Kemper79120
Quitman7029
Franklin68716
Choctaw62313
Wilkinson58825
Jefferson55920
Sharkey44217
Issaquena1606
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 432536

Reported Deaths: 6379
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson63523957
Mobile30967562
Madison27627201
Tuscaloosa21122268
Montgomery19495326
Shelby18941126
Baldwin16798188
Lee12901102
Morgan12447129
Etowah11911178
Calhoun11365205
Marshall10322119
Houston8813156
Limestone823176
Cullman8159106
Elmore8056104
DeKalb7796102
Lauderdale773399
St. Clair7705122
Talladega6347109
Walker5993174
Jackson590341
Colbert543274
Blount541186
Autauga527061
Coffee454160
Dale405482
Franklin371948
Russell345712
Chilton340972
Covington334168
Escambia328344
Dallas310196
Chambers297370
Clarke290536
Tallapoosa2665107
Pike258830
Marion250155
Lawrence249150
Winston231442
Bibb219848
Geneva206946
Marengo205229
Pickens198631
Hale180842
Barbour177836
Fayette174528
Butler171358
Cherokee162530
Henry157523
Monroe150718
Randolph143236
Washington139527
Clay128546
Crenshaw121644
Cleburne119724
Lamar119621
Macon119637
Lowndes112536
Wilcox105822
Bullock101428
Perry99118
Conecuh96320
Sumter89726
Greene76723
Coosa62215
Choctaw51624
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