Mississippi State and Texas Tech headline the more highly anticipated non-New Year’s Six games of bowl season.
The Liberty Bowl committee knew what they were doing when putting these schools together. If you’re unfamiliar with the situation, Mike Leach was fired from Texas Tech in 2009 after an incident with a player.
He had the Red Raiders in the national spotlight as a ranked team. Texas Tech hasn’t been the same since then. This is despite having Patrick Mahomes putting up video game numbers after Leach was gone.
Mike Leach with an entertaining statement about Texas Tech (per usual) pic.twitter.com/EH8vY5rl9d
— Texas Sports Life (@TXSportsLife) December 13, 2021
Texas Tech University didn’t pay for the rest of his contract, including the year that he coached in 2009. It was the last time that Texas Tech finished with at least 9 wins in a season.
There is some animosity between Leach and some of the suits at Texas Tech. Naturally, Leach wants his money and he hasn’t been quiet about it for over ten years now.
Beating Texas Tech isn’t going to change anything, but there has to be some added motivation for him in the Liberty Bowl. If it translates over to his players, Mississippi State should be tough.
The Bulldogs go into the Liberty Bowl at 7-5, winning four of their last six attempts. They lost the Egg Bowl versus rival Ole Miss at home, 31-21. It wasn’t the worst effort from the Bulldogs, but as 2.5-point favorites, more was expected.
Leach is still getting his feet wet in his first full season at Mississippi State. He is working without his full complement of recruits to run the air raid. When they get to Starkville, we can begin to judge Leach fairly.
Texas Tech brought the party to Beale Street pic.twitter.com/3xHacppnLd
— Texas Tech Football (@TexasTechFB) December 28, 2021
Texas Tech struggled down the stretch with a loss in four of their last five outings. They beat Iowa State on November 13 to become bowl eligible, 41-38, and then dropped their last two games versus Oklahoma State, 23-0, and Baylor 27-24.
Since October 16, the Red Raiders have only beaten Kansas, 41-14, and Iowa State. I like the effort versus a good Baylor team to close out the year, though. If the Red Raiders bring that energy to the Liberty Bowl, they might have a chance.
Head below for our free Mississippi State vs. Texas Tech prediction on December 28, 2021.
Mississippi State Bulldogs vs. Texas Tech Red Raiders Betting Odds and Team Statistics:
The following odds are courtesy of BetOnline:
|Mississippi State Bulldogs||-9.5 (-112)||-365||Over 58 (-110)|
|Texas Tech Red Raiders||+9.5 (-108)||+295||Under 58 (-110)|
|Team Data||Mississippi State Bulldogs||Texas Tech Red Raiders|
|Points Per Game||30.9||30.0|
|Points Against Per Game||25.3||32.1|
|Passing Yards Per Game||385.7||257.7|
|Rushing Yards Per Game||63.9||150.8|
Mississipi State vs. Texas Tech Prediction:
Texas Tech better have done their homework on quarterback Will Rogers. Getting in the head of an air-raid quarterback is the best way to disrupt the offense’s rhythm.
Rogers gets rid of the ball quickly to his targets. The Bulldogs don’t afford the defense much time to process what’s going on.
Attempting to cause confusion and catching defensive backs out of position is what Mike Leach did so well at Texas Tech. The Bulldogs have work to do before they get to that level, though Rogers is still putting up prolific numbers.
Rogers goes into the Liberty Bowl with 4,449 yards, 35 touchdowns, and 8 interceptions on 75.1% completions. For a sophomore with more room to grow, expect Rogers to reach his full potential next year.
Mississippi State is third with 385.7 passing yards per game. The Red Raiders’ defense better be prepared to run around.
They haven’t been the best against quarterbacks this season, so it’s a big chance for Rogers to stack the stat sheet. It feels like Texas Tech hasn’t had a secondary since Leach has been in Lubbock.
Mississippi State Bulldogs vs. Texas Tech Red Raiders Betting Trends:
- 5-1 ATS in their previous six games
- 4-1 ATS in their previous five games after a loss
- 8-3 overall in their previous 11 games
- OVER is 4-0 in their previous four games at a neutral field
- OVER is 6-1 in their previous seven games as a betting favorite
- 2-8 ATS in their previous ten bowl games
- 1-5 ATS in their previous six games in December
- 1-5 ATS in their previous six games versus the SEC
- 0-5-1 ATS in their previous six games after covering the spread
- 1-5 overall in their previous six games as an underdog
Texas Tech is 118th in the FBS, with 265.8 passing yards allowed per game. There aren’t that many defenses that are worse against the pass than the Red Raiders. They have been solid versus the run, but the Bulldogs rarely run the ball.
The Red Raiders have conceded 32.1 points per game for 104th going into the Liberty Bowl. With a coaching staff change being made after the regular season and Texas Tech going into this one with an interim head coach, it’s hard to see their defense prepared for Leach’s air-raid.
His teams haven’t been known for having amazing defenses, though Leach has this unit playing well. It’s a defense that belongs in the SEC. They’ve been one of the better teams in the nation against the run, with 101.2 rushing yards allowed per game for tenth in college football.
Mississippi State has held up well in a tough conference with 25.3 points against per game. Texas Tech will make plays, but I can’t see them keeping up with Rogers. Leach wants his revenge over Texas Tech in court. However, a win over the Red Raiders will have to do for now in the Liberty Bowl.