Outback Bowl Players To Watch
QB Nick Fitzgerald, Sr. Mississippi State: This is it for the senior, and this is his chance to have some fun in a bowl game after missing last year’s win over Louisville with a broken leg. He was okay throwing the ball, but he only completed 53% of his passes with 15 touchdowns. When he takes off, though, look out running for over 1,000 yards with 12 scores, including six 100-yard games.
DT Jeffery Simmons, Jr. Mississippi State: Simmons is the man on the inside, and Montez Sweat takes care of things on the end. They combined for 28 tackles for loss, with Simmons leading the team with 14.5, and Sweat blowing up passing games with 11 sacks. The 6-4, 300-pound Simmons has announced his going pro, but first he’ll play in this to close out his career.
QB Nate Stanley, Jr. Iowa: He didn’t get a whole lot of love and attention, but he turned in one of the best seasons by Big Ten quarterback not named Dwayne Haskins. The 6-4, 242-pound junior connected on 58% of his throws for 2,638 yards and 23 touchdowns with just nine picks, but he also had to fight through a few games with bad weather conditions. If he’s on, he’s the offense, but it helped that he had …
TE TJ Hockenson, Soph. Iowa: Noah Fant finished second on the team with 39 catches for 519 yards and seven touchdowns, and he was the second-best tight end – Hockenson won the Mackey. The nation’s top tight end caught 46 passes for 717 yards and six scores, and he ran for one, too. Fant is turning pro early, but Hockenson is still around as Stanley’s main weapon.