MEMPHIS – Bowl week has arrived for Mississippi State.
The Bulldogs ascended on the city of Memphis Thursday afternoon arriving at the Peabody Hotel, the team’s headquarters for the Liberty Bowl.
“This is where you want to be this time of year – a bowl game and practicing for it,” said MSU coach Dan Mullen. “Our team is thrilled to be in the AutoZone Liberty Bowl and staying in the beautiful Peabody Hotel. It’s a great game to be involved in. We’re ready to get back out there on the field and try to run off some of this Christmas joy that we all ingested over the last several days.”
MSU has several fun activities and excursions planned during its six-day stay but the primary focus during the week will be preparing for Tuesday’s contest against Rice.
“We’re here to win a football game,” Mullen said. “Now we want to have a lot of fun here while we do it but there’s a lot of time during the day to get everything done. The older guys will help the younger guys understand when it’s time to get serious and get to work.”
Although the Bulldogs have reached the postseason in each of the past four seasons, the team is not taking these bowl experiences for granted. State reached the Liberty Bowl by winning the final two regular season games in overtime just to even its record at 6-6.
“This one means a lot,” said quarterback Dak Prescott. “It’s probably the most meaningful bowl game so far in my career. It’s definitely meaningful to this team as much as we’ve been through all year. For us to win those last two games to get bowl eligible and get our Egg Bowl trophy back, this is beautiful for us.”
The Bulldogs have seven players who hail from the greater Memphis area including hometown products Will Redmond, Brandon Davis and Ferlando Bohanna.
Redmond starred at Manassas High School during the Academy Award winning documentary “Undefeated” and later transferred to East High School, both within the Memphis city limits.
“I’m coming back home where it all started from,” said Redmond, a sophomore cornerback. “I’m home and it feels good.”
Players are given six complementary tickets for family and friends to attend the game. There has been plenty of petitioning going on for several local products.
“Everybody is calling me asking for tickets to the Liberty Bowl,” said offensive tackle Damien Robinson of Olive Branch. “I’m happy my mom and my grandma will be able to see it. I’ve have a lot more ticket requests than I normally have. I’m hearing from a lot of people I haven’t heard from in a long time.”
Mississippi State’s practice Thursday was moved inside the gym at Rhodes College after the staff was unable to turn on the lights inside the Lynx football stadium.