Tulsa at Mississippi State: 12/31/20 College Football Picks and Prediction
Photo by Mary Holt-USA TODAY Sports
Mississippi State Bulldogs (3-7) vs Tulsa Golden Hurricane (5-2)
Game Info: Thursday, December 31, 2020 at 12:00 pm (Amon G. Carter Stadium)
Betting Odds: Mississippi State Bulldogs +1.5 -- Over/Under: 49.5 Click Here for the Latest Odds
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The 24th ranked Tulsa Golden Hurricane and Mississippi State Bulldogs will square off at Amon G. Carter Stadium on December 31st in the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl.
The 24th ranked Tulsa Golden Hurricane finished their regular season with an overall record of 6-2 while finishing regular season C-USA conference play with a perfect 6-0 record. Tulsa went up against the 9th ranked Cincinnati C-USA Championship, however, wasn’t able to pull off the upset victory after the Bearcats escaped with a 27-24 victory. Despite losing in the C-USA Championship, it was a very successful season for the Golden Hurricane as they were competitive in a 16-7 loss to Oklahoma State and picked up two top-25 wins against UCF & SMU. This will be the first Bowl appearance for Tulsa since the 2016 season in which they defeated the Central Michigan Chippewas, 55-10, in the Miami Beach Bowl.
On the season, Tulsa is averaging 27.3 ppg on 401.3 total yards per game (241.0 passing yds/g; 160.3 rushing yds/g). Offensively, Tulsa has been led by QB Zach Smith who has completed 55.8% of his passes for 1,600 yards, 12 TD, & 8 INT. The top receiving threats for the Golden Hurricane have been Keylon Stokes (37 rec, 527 yards, 2 TD), Josh Johnson (37 rec, 495 yards, 6 TD), JuanCarlos Santana (30 rec, 432 yards, 4 TD), & Same Crawford Jr. (24 rec, 333 yards, TD).
Defensively, Tulsa is holding their opponents to an average of 20.8 ppg on 340.8 total yards per game (194.8 passing yds/g; 146.0 rushing yds/g).
The Mississippi State Bulldogs finished their regular season with an overall record of 3-7 while finishing regular season placed tied for last in the SEC-West conference with a 3-7 record. Mississippi State started the season off with an incredible 44-34 upset victory against the 6th ranked LSU Tigers, however, things went bad for the Bulldogs in a hurry as they lost their next four game, including a 41-0 loss at Alabama. The Bulldogs were more competitive down the stretch as they had 7-point losses at Georgia & Ole Miss and finished the regular season on a strong note, defeating the Missouri Tigers, 51-32. This will be Mississippi State’s 10th straight bowl appearance and the Bulldogs will hope to rebound after last year’s 38-28 loss to the Louisville Cardinals in the Music City Bowl.
On the season, Mississippi State is averaging 20.7 ppg on 347.1 total yards per game (311.1 passing yds/g; 36.0 rushing yds/g). Offensively, Mississippi State has been led by QB Will Rogers who has completed 69.6% of his passes for 1,828 yards, 10 TD, & 7 INT. The top receiving threats for the Bulldogs have been Jaden Walley (48 rec, 691 yards, 2 TD), Osirus Mitchell (46 rec, 502 yards, 4 TD), Austin Williams (40 rec, 330 yards, 3 TD), and Malik Heath 34 rec, 291 yards, 3 TD). Leading the way for the Mississippi State backfield has been led by the duo of Jo’Quavious Marks (59 att, 240 yards, 2 TD; 56 rec, 238 yards) & Dillon Johnson (41 att, 168 yards, 4 TD).
Defensively, Mississippi State is allowing their opponents to average 28.3 ppg on 380.3 total yards per game (255.0 passing yds/g; 125.3 rushing yds/g).
The Golden Hurricane are 6-1 ATS in their last 7 Bowl games and 5-1 ATS in their last 6 neutral site games. The Bulldogs are 2-5 ATS in their last 7 games following a straight up win and 2-8 ATS in their last 10 games vs. a team with a winning record.
Mike Leach’s and his “Air Raid” offense got off to a quick start this season, however, the SEC is s different monster than the Pac-12 and the Bulldogs struggled putting up points as they finished the season with 109th ranked scoring offense. Mississippi State played better down the stretch when they moved to Will Rodgers, however, the Bulldogs are going to have their hands full in this one as Tulsa is one of the better defenses in the country and have been solid against the pass, ranking 22nd in passing defense. Mississippi State played better down the stretch, however, I think there are going to struggle a bit against the Tulsa defense and as I think Zach Smith and the Golden Hurricane offense will be able to put up some points, I’m going with Tulsa to cover this spread. Good Luck!