GATOR BOWL: Young Bulldogs not intimidated by bright lights

By Brad Locke/NEMS Daily Journal

GATOR BOWL: MSU vs. Northwestern Tuesday, 11 a.m. at Jacksonville.

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Playing in a New Year’s Day bowl game doesn’t faze Josh Robinson.
Sure, Tuesday’s Gator Bowl against Northwestern will be the first bowl game for Robinson, Mississippi State’s redshirt freshman tailback. But he’s been in big games and big venues before, and he now has a full season of SEC football under his belt.
“Naw, it really don’t affect me, because I played in the Superdome twice,” Robinson said. “It’s just like a normal state championship game. It’s just a bowl game, so you’ve just got to go out there and perform.”
Robinson led Franklinton (La.) High School to two consecutive state title game appearances, winning it all as a senior. Louisiana plays its high school championships in the Superdome, home of the New Orleans Saints.
The Gator Bowl will be played at EverBank Field, home of the Jacksonville Jaguars. MSU was here two years ago, and 22 players on the current roster participated in that game.
That means a lot of young faces will be getting their first taste of the college postseason. MSU has been leaning on guys like Robinson, who’s second on the team in rushing with 244 yards.
With backup Nick Griffin out injured, Robinson and fellow redshirt freshman Derrick Milton might have to play a significant role behind starter LaDarius Perkins.
“We’re going to have to step our game up a little bit. We’ve got to fill in that role,” Robinson said.
Prescott should play
Dak Prescott is another redshirt freshman who should see the field today. The backup quarterback has been used more and more as the season’s gone on.
He’s accounted for four touchdowns rushing and four passing, and Prescott has embraced the expectations coaches have put upon him.
“We thrive on the coaches expecting more out of us,” he said. “These young guys, we pick it up. We have to play more and expect more out of us, so we’re going to go out there, and we’re going to perform and do what we can do to help the team.”
One quality that has helped Prescott and Robinson be so effective is the willingness to shoulder coaches’ expectations while assuming complementary roles. There are no apparent jealousies, just a desire to help each other and the team get better.
“I’m going to go out here and help my team as much as I can and get better at practice,” Prescott said. “When it comes game time, perform when my number’s called.”
brad.locke@journalinc.com