STARKVILLE – Mississippi State’s 12th consecutive bowl appearance is now set. Head coach Mike Leach’s MSU squad will battle Texas Tech in the AutoZone Liberty Bowl on Dec. 28.
The game is slated for a 5:45 p.m. start on ESPN at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium.
Ticket information will be released soon.
“We’re looking forward to competing against a quality Texas Tech team in the Liberty Bowl,” Leach said. “All year long, our team has improved week by week and this gives our program the chance to continue getting better. We’re looking forward to both the preparation for the Liberty Bowl and the game itself.”
Leach guided the Bulldogs to a 7-5 record in his second season in Starkville. Leach also formerly coached the Red Raiders from 2000-09 and took the team to a bowl game every year that he was in Lubbock. Texas Tech posted a 6-6 record this season.
In his 20 years as a head coach, Leach has guided his teams to a bowl 18 times. Leach led State to a 28-26 victory over Tulsa in the Armed Forces Bowl last season.
MSU will be making its 25th bowl appearance overall, including a current streak of 12 straight. The Bulldogs are one of only eight programs in the country that have gone to 12 consecutive bowls. They join Alabama, Georgia and Texas A&M as the only Southeastern Conference schools to accomplish that feat.
“We’re excited to be headed to a postseason game for the 12th straight year and looking forward to playing in the Liberty Bowl,” MSU Director of Athletics John Cohen said. “To have this opportunity is a credit to the hard work of our coaches, players and support staff, and we look forward to taking the field in front of our loyal Bulldog fans one more time in 2021.”
Mississippi State is 14-10 all-time in bowl games and 7-4 during its current bowl streak.
“We’re thrilled to welcome back the Mississippi State Bulldogs to the AutoZone Liberty Bowl for the first time in eight years,” Executive Director of the AutoZone Liberty Bowl Steve Ehrhart said. “Coach Mike Leach’s “Air Raid” offense is one of the most exciting in the country and the match-up against Texas Tech will be one of the most compelling games of the entire bowl season. The Bulldogs and their passionate fans set the AutoZone Liberty Bowl’s all-time attendance record in 2007 and we look forward to having them in this year’s AutoZone Liberty Bowl.”
It will mark Mississippi State’s fifth trip to the Liberty Bowl. The Bulldogs are 3-1 all-time in the Liberty Bowl with their last visit resulting in a 44-7 victory over Rice in 2013. MSU also has wins over UCF (10-3) in 2007 and NC State (16-13) in 1963 back when the bowl was held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
State has not met Texas Tech on the gridiron since 1970 and the two have never played one another in the postseason. The Bulldogs hold a 4-2-1 record in the all-time series and have won the last two meetings.
Mississippi State reached bowl eligibility with three wins over opponents ranked in the Associated Press Top 25.
The Bulldogs’ offense is led by five sophomores. Quarterback Will Rogers leads the country in completions and completion percentage and ranks second in passing yardage. Makai Polk tops the SEC with 98 catches and Jo’quavious Marks and Dillon Johnson are the leading running backs in the league in receptions. Left tackle Charles Cross is also a first-team All-SEC performer.