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College Football Bowl Previews

Jeff Shain, OFN CFB writer
12/30/2017 12:03PM ET

LOUISVILLE (8-4) VS. MISSISSIPPI ST. (8-4)
 

Site: EverBank Field, Jacksonville, Fla.

Kickoff: Saturday, noon. TV: ESPN.

Line: Louisville by 7.

All-time series: Mississippi State leads 4-0.

Last meeting: Mississippi St. 30, Louisville 21 (1976).

LOUISVILLE

Coach: Bobby Petrino (8th season, 75-26; overall 13th season, 117-47).

All-time postseason: 10-10-1.

Last postseason appearance: Lost to LSU 29-9 in 2016 Citrus Bowl.

Draft spotlight: OLB Trevon Young. Back from a fractured hip suffered during the 2015 Music City Bowl, Young showed in 2017 that a full year off didn’t crush his prospects. When healthy, Young has the makings of a top 3-4 OLB and may also get consideration as a 4-3 strongside defender.

Other Cardinals to watch: OT Geron Christian, DT De’Asian Richardson, CB Trumaine Washington, S Chucky Williams.

Cardinal Matters: Louisville arrives on a 3-game winning streak, during which they’ve averaged 46.0 points per contest. … QB Lamar Jackson didn’t win the Heisman Trophy this year, but might have had a better season. He leads the team with 1,443 rushing yards and 17 TDs. … Louisville has amassed at least 400 yards of total offense in 23 of its past 25 outings.

MISSISSIPPI STATE

Coach: Greg Knox (interim).

All-time postseason: 14-14-1.

Last postseason appearance: Lost to West Virginia 43-42 in 2015 Cactus Bowl.

Draft spotlight: TE Jordan Thomas. The former juco defensive end, offensive tackle, and basketball player offers much more than just size.  Even the MSU coaches have had a hard time figuring out how to best optimize this rare specimen. There is still an underlying sense of rawness to his game. Read full report here.

Other Bulldogs to watch: OT Martinas Rankin, *LB Montez Sweat, CB Tolando Cleveland.

Bulldog Snarls: Knox stands in for Dan Mullen, who was named Florida’s head coach a month ago. Former Penn State coordinator Joe Moorhead takes over in the New Year. … The Bulldogs also will have a fresh face at QB in true freshman Keytaon Thompson, who stands in for injured Nick Fitzgerald. … The MSU defense is No.10 nationally in total defense with a 302.0 average.

* underclass draft prospect