Preview: Rice at Mississippi State

When: 4:00 PM ET, Tuesday, December 31, 2013
Where: Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium, Memphis, Tennessee


1. Rice picked up its first outright conference title since 1957 with a victory in the Conference-USA championship game and is headed to a bowl game in consecutive seasons for the second time in school history. The Owls’ reward for a strong season is a date with Mississippi State in the AutoZone Liberty Bowl in Memphis, Tenn., on Dec. 31. The Bulldogs needed to pull out overtime victories in their final two games to gain bowl eligibility.

2. Rice coach David Bailiff was named C-USA Coach of the year by his peers after guiding the Owls to the second 10-win season in school history and can set a record with an 11th triumph. Rice ended the season with four straight wins, including a 41-24 triumph over Marshall in the C-USA championship game, and will go after the Bulldogs defense with a strong running attack.

3. Mississippi State endured a particularly brutal regular-season schedule and counts its six losses against ranked teams Oklahoma State, Auburn, LSU, South Carolina, Texas A&M and Alabama. Quarterback Dak Prescott returned late in the season-ending win over rival Mississippi after a two-game absence due to a nerve injury in his non-throwing shoulder and should be healthy for the bowl game.

TV: 4 p.m. ET, ESPN. LINE: Mississippi State -7

ABOUT RICE (10-3, 7-1 C-USA): The Owls average 240.2 yards on the ground and Charles Ross ended up with 1,252 rushing yards despite missing a pair of games in the middle of the season. Quarterback Taylor McHargue finished second on the team in rushing and guided a passing attack that tied for the fewest interceptions in C-USA with nine. “We know we are in for a tremendous challenge, but that’s what is exciting about the season we have had,” Bailiff told the school’s website. “I know our players are excited to play a team from the SEC.”

Prescott led the team in passing (1,657 yards) and rushing (751) and came off the bench in the fourth quarter to lead the tying field-goal drive in regulation before diving into the end zone for the winning touchdown in overtime against Ole Miss. That score made the Bulldogs bowl eligible for the fourth straight season and eliminated questions about coach Dan Mullen’s job security. “We know how good we can be and we’re not going to take anything for granted,” Prescott told the Mississippi Press of the upcoming bowl game. “We’re just going to go out there, make each other better and push each other.”

PREDICTION: Mississippi State 24, Rice 21

Stats and Records

Team Comparison

  W/L Strk PF PA Home Away Grass Turf Conf
Rice 10-3 W4 31.4 22.9 6-1 4-2 2-1 0-0 8-1
Mississippi State 6-6 W2 26.3 24.3 5-2 1-4 5-6 1-0 3-5

Last Meeting

Rice Mississippi State
Date Away Home Tot Rus Pas Tot Rus Pas
No Previous Meeting.

Player Stats

Previous Matchup
Passing Player COMP% YDS TD INT
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
TDs Player TD
Passing Player COMP% YDS TD INT
RICE T. McHargue 52.1 2261 17 8
MSST D. Prescott 58.2 1657 7 7
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
RICE C. Ross 201 1252 6.2 14
MSST D. Prescott 120 751 6.3 11
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
RICE J. Taylor 54 846 15.7 8
MSST J. Lewis 55 703 12.8 5
TDs Player TD
RICE C. Ross 15
MSST D. Prescott 13

Quickchart Matchup

Rice Off vs  Mississippi State Def
425.6 yards
366.3 yards
4.7 yards/rush
4.4 yards/rush
7.3 yards/attempt
6.9 yards/attempt
Mississippi State Off vs  Rice Def
426.2 yards
351.1 yards
4.6 yards/rush
4 yards/rush
7.2 yards/attempt
6.7 yards/attempt

Live Game Odds

Lines History | All Odds
Currently no lines available.

Matchup Stats - Full Matchup

Rice Overall Mississippi State
10-3-0 W/L 6-6-0
8-5-0 ATS 7-5-0
6-7-0 O/U 4-8-0
31.4 Pts For 26.3
22.9 Pts Against 24.3
Rice A/H Mississippi State
4-2 W/L 5-2
4-2-0 ATS 4-3-0
4-2-0 O/U 3-4-0
31.0 Pts For 30.3
30.2 Pts Against 20.7