Outback Bowl Features Two Top Defenses
The college football season has almost come to a close, but not before another New Year’s Day filled with bowl games including the Outback Bowl. This year’s contest features the Mississippi State Bulldogs vs. the Iowa Hawkeyes. Both teams are known for their defense so this should be a low scoring affair. However, there is still plenty at stake when these two teams do battle on January 1st. For Iowa it’s a chance to prove that they can hold their own against the SEC, while MSU will be looking to showcase their talent on the national stage. Let’s take a look now at why you’ll want to tune in at noon on ESPN2 when a pair of top 6 defenses take the field.
The Iowa Hawkeyes come into this contest with an 8-4 record despite a 3-game losing streak when they fell to Penn State, Purdue, and Northwestern in consecutive weeks. Now if you look a little closer, you’ll see that each of those three loses were by 6 points or less as Iowa was just a play or two away from being a real player in the Big Ten. Despite the setback the Hawkeyes can salvage the season if they are able to upset an SEC team, something they have not done since way back in 2009, when they took care of South Carolina in the Outback Bowl.
Across the field Mississippi state will continue their quest to be taken seriously in the SEC. The Bulldogs lost 4 games, but they were all to ranked opponents including #1 ranked Alabama. For MSU to be included into the discussion of the SEC’s top teams they’ll need to continue stacking wins especially when they are on the national stage like during the Outback Bowl. MSU’s defense is the main attraction for the Bulldogs despite a strong showing by QB Nick Fitzgerald, who just happens to be the SEC’s All-Time Leading Rusher among quarterbacks.
Prediction: Mississippi State wins 17-12
With touchdowns being hard to come by, I would expect both teams to trot out their kicker for a handful of field goals in a rather low scoring affair. I also feel that MSU QB Nick Fitzgerald will find a way to scamper into the end zone perhaps even in a short field situation following a turnover by Iowa. Fans will also want to keep an eye on MSU defensive tackle Jeffery Simmons, who will be enter the NFL draft this spring. Overall, this year’s Outback Bowl will be a showcase of two of college football’s top defenses.