MSU Secures 11th Straight Bowl Bid; Faces Tulsa In Armed Forces Bowl

Published 9:31 am Monday, December 21, 2020

STARKVILLE – For a school-record 11th straight season, Mississippi State football is going bowling as the Bulldogs will face No. 24 Tulsa in the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl at 11 a.m. CT on Dec. 31 at Amon G. Carter Stadium in Fort Worth, Texas.

The game will be televised on ESPN. Updates regarding ticket information will be released when available.

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MSU is making its 24th all-time bowl appearance and will be one of only four SEC programs to go to a bowl each of the last 11 seasons, joining Alabama, Georgia and Texas A&M.

The Bulldogs own a 13-10 bowl record, and it will be the first time that State plays in the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl. This will be the first meeting between the two teams and MSU’s fourth time playing a bowl game in the state of Texas.

“We are excited to have Mississippi State and Tulsa playing in the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl this year,” Executive Director Brant Ringler said. “This year has been challenging for players, coaches and fans alike, and we are happy to be able to close out the year by celebrating college football with this matchup in Fort Worth.”

MSU (3-7) enters the game with momentum following a 51-32 win against Missouri (5-5) in its regular-season finale at Davis Wade Stadium.

Offensively, the Bulldogs are led by the true freshman quartet of quarterback Will Rogers, wide receiver Jaden Walley and running backs Jo’quavious Marks and Dillon Johnson. Rogers and Walley are the nation’s top true freshman quarterback-wide receiver duo. Rogers set MSU freshman-record marks for passing yards (1,828), attempts (316) and completions (220). Walley turned in an MSU freshman-record 691 receiving yards, behind four straight 100-yard receiving games. He became the first true freshman in school history to record four 100-yard receiving games in the same season, and his 691 yards rank second nationally among freshmen. Marks’ 56 receptions this season are tops on the team and the most in school history by a running back. Johnson has rushed 41 times and recorded 34 receptions for 312 all-purpose yards.

MSU’s true freshmen have combined for 146 receptions this season, the most by any first-year group in the FBS.

State’s defense ranks fourth in the SEC in both yards per play allowed (5.5) and total defense (380.3). Senior linebacker Erroll Thompson is the Bulldogs’ leading tackler (86), while sophomore Aaron Brule leads the nation in quarterback hurries (34) among linebackers and is tied for the team lead in tackles for loss (8.0). True freshman cornerback Emmanuel Forbes is tied for the SEC lead in interceptions (4).

MSU’s roster boasts 26 first-time starters this season, which is tied for the most in the FBS.

Leach, who earned his 142nd career victory Saturday, has guided his squads to 17 bowl games across his 19 seasons as a head coach. The two-time national coach of the year ranks seventh among active Power 5 head coaches in career wins and is one of only two active FBS head coaches to win 50-plus games at multiple Power 5 programs.

Tulsa finished as the runner up the American Athletic Conference Championship Game and enters the Armed Forces Bowl with a 6-2 record (6-0 AAC). The Golden Hurricane has been ranked in The Associated Press Top 25 for six straight weeks.

For more information on the Bulldogs, follow the MSU football team on Twitter, like them on Facebook and join them on Instagram by searching for “HailStateFB.”