Bulldogs reporting for duty in Jacksonville

By Brad Locke/NEMS Daily Journal

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Mississippi State is back for another Gator Bowl.
The Bulldogs are reporting here today to resume preparations for their New Year’s Day matchup with No. 21 Northwestern (9-3) of the Big Ten. MSU (8-4) is playing in its second Gator Bowl in three years.
It defeated Michigan, 52-14, two years ago.
Quarterback Tyler Russell, who was a backup at the time, knows what to expect.
“Bowl games are supposed to be fun, and you can have fun when you’re not doing football stuff, but when it’s time for the game you’ve got to be ready and focused to play,” Russell said
The Bulldogs will begin practices Thursday at the University of North Florida. All practices are closed to the public.
As for fun, there will be team outings at the beach and at Latitude 30, a self-described “luxury entertainment venue.” Players will also pay a visit to Wolfson Memorial Children’s Hospital this week.
Northwestern also reports today, and its practices (also closed) will be held at Jacksonville University. The Wildcats will keep a similar off-the-field itinerary as MSU’s.
The game will kick off at 11 a.m. Central time on Tuesday at EverBank Field, home of the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars, and will be televised by ESPN2. It’s the first meeting between MSU and Northwestern.
State has won five consecutive bowl games, while Northwestern has lost nine in a row.
brad.locke@journalinc.com