Big 12 Football: Liberty Bowl Preview – Texas Tech vs. Mississippi State – CalBearsMaven

This season, seven of the Big 12 teams will play in a bowl game. Preview the matchup between Texas Tech vs. Mississippi State.
Bowl season starts next week. This year, 84 teams were bowl eligible, and all of them will play in a bowl game between December 17 and January 4. The Big 12 Conference had seven teams qualify.
Two of those teams will play in one of the NY6 Bowls. As Big 12 champs, #7 Baylor will play #8 Ole Miss in the Allstate Sugar Bowl on January 1. #9 Oklahoma State will play #5 Notre Dame in the PlayStation Fiesta Bowl on January 1.
Other teams to make a bowl include Iowa State (Cheez-It Bowl, December 29 vs. Clemson), Kansas State (TaxAct Texas Bowl, January 4 vs. LSU), Oklahoma (Valero Alamo Bowl, December 29 vs. Oregon), Texas Tech (AutoZone Liberty Bowl, December 28 vs. Mississippi State), and West Virginia (Guaranteed Rate Bowl, December 28 vs. Minnesota).
This article previews the AutoZone Liberty Bowl.
Tuesday, December 28 [FuboTV 5:45 p.m. CST, ESPN]
Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium, Memphis, TN
Line – Mississippi State -8.5; over/under 59.5
Texas Tech will face a familiar face when they take on Mississippi State in the AutoZone Liberty Bowl. The Bulldogs are coached by Mike Leach, who was the head coach in Lubbock for 10 seasons (2000-2009).
Tech fired head coach Matt Wells on October 25. Since then, Sonny Cumbie has been acting as interim head coach. Tech has hired Joey McGuire for the head coaching job, but he will not start until this season is over. Cumbie has been selected as the HC at Louisiana Tech, and he will also start after this season. Cumbie played for Leach at Texas Tech. Leach also gave Cumbie his first coaching job, serving as a graduate assistant in 2009.
The two teams have met seven times. The most recent game was in 1970, with the Bulldogs winning 20-16.
Tech had a roller-coaster of a season, finishing 6-6 and 3-6 in Big 12 play, which put them tied with TCU and Texas at the bottom of the conference standings just above K. They started 3-0, winning all of their non-conference games. They got demolished in Austin, losing to Texas 70-35. They had late-game field goals to win on the road at Morgantown, and then a 62-yarder at home to beat Iowa State. Their sixth win was to Kansas. Other losses were to TCU, Kansas State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, and Baylor.
Mississippi State went 7-5 for the season and 4-4 in SEC play, which put them tied with Arkansas and Texas A&M in the middle of the SEC West Division. This will be their 2nd time this season to play in the Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium, having lost to Memphis there back in September. MSST beat three teams that ended up in the final Top 20, including wins over Texas A&M, Kentucky, and Auburn. Other wins included Louisiana Tech, NC State, Vanderbilt, and Tennessee State. Other losses were to LSU, Alabama, Arkansas, and Ole Miss.
Mississippi State quarterback Will Rogers is second in the nation in passing yards (4,449) and is first in the nation in completion percentage (75.1) and completions per game (39.42). Meanwhile, Texas Tech ranks 118th in the country, allowing an average of 266.4 passing yards a game. Tech also ranks 91st in total defense, giving up an average of 410.1 yards per game and an average of 32.1 points per game (104th). 
Team Stats Per Game
Points Per Game
30.0
30.9
Points Allowed Per Game
32.1
25.3
Total Yards
408.3
449.6
Yards Passing
257.7
385.7
Yards Rushing
150.7
63.9
Yards Allowed
410.8
331.3
Pass Yards Allowed
266.4
230.1
Rush Yards Allowed
144.4
101.2
Texas Tech – Henri Columbi – 95-148, 1,291 yards, five touchdowns, five interceptions
Mississippi State – Will Rogers – 473-630, 4,449 yards, 36 touchdowns, eight interceptions
Texas Tech – Tahj Brooks – 71 carries, 461 yards, six touchdowns
Mississippi State – Dillon Johnson – 80 carries, 423 yards, four touchdowns
Texas Tech – Erik Ezukanma – 408 receptions, 705 yards, four touchdowns
Mississippi State – Makai Polk – 98 receptions, 989 yards, nine touchdowns
The pick: Mississippi State – 34-27
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Barry has been a TCU Horned Frogs fan since the Jim Wacker era. He has an extensive marketing background and now owns Lewis Marketing Partners. He’s excited to join the KillerFrogs team and write about the Frogs.

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