by CollegeFootballPoll.com Staff
December 31, 2013
Mississippi State served Rice in every way possible on New Year's Eve. The 44-7 rout in the Liberty Bowl was the Bulldogs' 6th bowl win in their last 7 tries and raised the school's overall bowl record 10-7 while finishing the season at 7-6.
Rice had a 2-bowl winning streak snapped and ended the season 10-4. It was just the second loss for the Owls in their last 10 games of the season.
The Owls scored first, set up by a fumble recovery at the Mississippi State 45-yard line. Nine plays later, Charles Ross crossed the goal line from a yard out for the 7-0 lead. After that, quarterback Dak Prescott took over for the Bulldogs as he passed for 3 scores and ran for 2 more while racking up 361 yards of total offense.
Rice was held to 145 total yards and 7 first downs. The Owls entered the game with a rushing average of 240 yards per game, but were limited to 61 yards on 32 attempts.
Mississippi State improved to 3-1 all-time in Liberty Bowls with the first trip to Memphis coming in the 1963 season and resulting in a 16-12 win over North Carolina State.
Dan Mullen, Mississippi State head coach said before the game, "Our seniors have done something no one here has ever done, and that’s play in four straight bowls. That’s special."
Mullen's team wasn't bowl eligible until winning its last two games in overtime over Arkansas and rival Ole Miss. Next year, the Bulldogs open a season on a 3-game winning streak for the first time since 1975.
The Congrove Computer Rankings at CollegeFootballPoll.com spotted Mississippi State a 3.15-point advantage in the game.