Why Mississippi State Will Win The Outback Bowl
– Iowa’s defense is fantastic. Mississippi State’s is a killer, especially against the run. The Bulldogs led the nation in scoring defense and was tops in the SEC in total D. Let that sink in for a moment, remembering there’s that Alabama team in the conference, and LSU, Florida, and Georgia are pretty good on that side of the ball.
The run defense got hit by Kentucky for four scores, Alabama came up with two, and LSU ran for one. That’s it. No one else ran for a touchdown against this amazing front wall.
15 of Iowa’s 19 rushing touchdowns came in the eight wins, the other four game in the loss to Purdue. Against Wisconsin, Penn State and Northwestern – the other three losses – zero touchdown runs.
– Back to all of those interceptions that Iowa’s secondary comes up with. Yes, that’s a big deal, and yes, this group makes good quarterbacks look mediocre, but Mississippi State just doesn’t have a turnover issue. Nick Fitzgerald hasn’t thrown an interception in his last five games, and the team was third in the SEC in turnover margin after leading the way with the fewest giveaways.
– The Bulldog D is devastating on third downs. Out of all the things the defense does well, getting off the field is the most impressive. Teams are converting just 28% of their third down tries, including a magnum opus against Ole Miss, stoping the high-powered Rebel O on all ten of its attempts. Only LSU converted more than 35% of its chances.