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Mississippi State tops Louisville in TaxSlayer Bowl

31 December, 2017, 02:38 | Author: Rachael Silva
  • Mississippi State 31, Louisville 27, college football final, TaxSlayer Bowl

It definitely was Keytaon Thompson's coming-out party.

After Mississippi State got a 23-yard field goal from Jace Christmann, the Cardinals executed a lightning-quick, three-play, 88-yard touchdown drive in the final minute before halftime. He threw just six picks in the regular season.

It likely was Lamar Jackson's farewell performance.

The 6-foot-3, 211-pound junior won the Heisman Trophy last season and finished third in the voting this season behind the victor, Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield, and the second-place finisher, Stanford running back Bryce Love.

Jackson had the Cardinals (8-5) on the move late, but safety Mark McLaurin intercepted his third pass of the game.


He ran 24 times for 158 yards and a touchdown, breaking the TaxSlayer Bowl record for most rushing yards by a quarterback.

The win gives Mississippi State its third nine-win season (9-4) in four years after a hectic period. "If you go back and look at Mississippi State over the year, when Nick Fitzgerald ran the ball for a hundred yards, we were winning games".

The Bulldogs weren't able to run out the clock and Louisville got the ball back with 1:39 left. Jackson has yet to declare for the National Football League draft, but most outsiders believe the dynamic junior will turn pro.

Although some Mississippi State fans are still bitter about former head coach Dan Mullen's departure, there's no denying he had made the Bulldogs relevant again, leaving behind a wealth of talent for new head coach Joe Moorhead. West Virginia's Pat White set the previous mark with 145 yards in 2007. Jackson also entered the 50-50 club with 50 career touchdowns rushing and 50 career touchdowns passing, joining Colin Kaepernick and Tim Tebow as the only players in FBS history with career totals above 50 and 50. The A-Train averages 4.6 yards per carry and has rushed for five scores this season.

The TaxSlayer Bowl featured two quarterbacks on opposite ends of the spectrum. Louisville WR Jaylen Smith had seven catches for 107 receiving yards.

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