April 25, 2018

TaxSlayer Bowl: Lamar Jackson's mistake-filled day leads to Mississippi State win

31 December 2017, 12:51 | Ken Black

TaxSlayer Bowl: Lamar Jackson's mistake-filled day leads to Mississippi State win

Mississippi State 31, Louisville 27, college football final, TaxSlayer Bowl

Follow along for live updates, news and analysis from EverBank Field where No. 23 Mississippi State plays Louisville in the TaxSlayer Bowl. The true freshman backup tallied 274 total yards in his first career start. The Cardinals may not have had the hot start they had a year ago, but they still have the best player playing in this game in 2016 Heisman Trophy victor Lamar Jackson.

The Mississippi State Bulldogs take on the Louisville Cardinals in the TaxSlayer Bowl.

If you've paid attention to college football the last couple of seasons, the success of the Cardinals' running game should come as no surprise.

Nick Fitzgerald, the team's starting quarterback for the past two years, was sidelined after suffering a season-ending ankle injury during the final game of the regular season against Ole Miss in November. Wisconsin is giving up 3.0 yards per carry and has allowed five rushing touchdowns all season.

Defensively, MSU will face one of its toughest challenges in Heisman Trophy victor Lamar Jackson, who is just one of three quarterbacks nationally, joining MSU's own Fitzgerald, to throw for over 1,700 yards and rush for over 900 yards this season. Contrast that to Louisville, who is averaging 6.58 yards per attempt. Mississippi State also lost the Egg Bowl at home.

Louisville answered with a 13-play, 61-yard drive that stalled in the red zone. This game's over/under comes in at a combined 63 points. Interim head coach Greg Knox, along with multiple assistants in new positions, led the team after former head coach Dan Mullen left for Florida, taking assistants with him. Quarterback Keytaon Thompson should be adequately prepared to run the offense, and with Montez Sweat and Jeffery Simmons manning the defense, Louisville will face a formidable opponent.

According to the Florida Times-Union, Jackson plans to announce whether he will enter the National Football League draft or return for his senior season sometime after the bowl game. A sports reporter for The Meridian Star, Hayes also has been an invited guest on "The Paul Finebaum Show".

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