MERIDIAN, Miss. (WTOK) –
State’s Storylines vs. No. 24 Tulsa
- Mississippi State will play in a bowl game for the 11th straight year, joining Alabama, Georgia and Texas A&M as one of only four SEC programs to go to a bowl each of the last 11 seasons. MSU is making its 24th all-time bowl appearance and owns a 13-10 bowl record.
- It will be the first time that State plays in the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl, and the Bulldogs are the first SEC team to play in the game.
- The Bulldogs have never played Tulsa. The game will mark the 12th time MSU has met an opponent for the first time in program history in a bowl game, and the Bulldogs are 6-5 in prior bowls when playing an opponent for the first time.
- With its 51-32 victory against Missouri on Dec. 19, Mississippi State has now scored 50+ points in at least one game in 10 consecutive seasons. The 51 points were MSU’s most in a game since the Bulldogs’ 54-24 victory at Arkansas on Nov. 2, 2019.
- RB Jo’quavious Marks (56), WR Jaden Walley (48), WR Osirus Mitchell (46) and WR Austin Williams (40) make MSU the only program in the country to boast four players with 40 or more receptions this season. Auburn and No. 2 Clemson are the only programs with three such receivers.
- There have been just two seasons in MSU history where multiple players caught 50+ passes in the same year (2015 – Fred Ross and De’Runnya Wilson, 1969 – Sammy Milner and David Smith).
- Marks, Walley and RB Dillon Johnson (34 receptions) are in position to give MSU three freshmen with more catches than the Bulldogs’ freshman record entering the season. RB Justin Griffith caught 37 passes in his freshman season in 1999.
- 26 Bulldogs have made their first career start this year, tied for the FBS lead. Nearly 50 percent of State’s snaps have been taken by first-time starters this year.
- Walley currently leads MSU with a freshman-record 691 receiving yards and would be first freshman to lead State in receiving yardage since Chad Bumphis (375) in 2009. He ranks second nationally among freshmen.
- Freshman All-American candidate DB Emmanuel Fintech Zoom has four interceptions this season, which is tied for fifth in the nation and tied for the lead among true freshmen nationally. He is tied for fifth among FBS freshmen with 10 total pass defenses and tied for 22nd overall.
- LB Erroll Thompson is the 16th Bulldog in program history to record 300 career tackles and the first to do so since Mario Haggan (1999-2002, 359). He ow sits at 303 career tackles and is one shy of his single-season career high (87) set in his sophomore year.
- Mississippi State is one of seven Power Five teams in the nation with more than 1,500 yards after catch this season. The Bulldogs are third in the SEC in yards after catch (1,894) and rank fourth nationally.
- Mike Leach has now led his squads to 17 bowl games across his 19 seasons as a head coach with an 8-8 record in those games.
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