The Cards will face off vs. the Mississippi State Bulldogs on Saturday December 30th at Everbank Field for the Tax Slayer Gator Bowl.  Mississippi State finished 8-4 on the season with wins over LSU, Texas A&M, Arkansas and 5 other less notable programs.  The Bulldogs took Alabama to the wire in a game in which they dominated time of possession but then Grantham’d.  Miss State did lose their QB in the Egg Bowl where they fell to their rival Ole Miss and were also blown out by Auburn and Georgia.  In the off-season they also lost their Head Coach and Defensive Coordinator as they moved on to Florida.

Upon review of the following stats and some film study it’s clear that the Bulldogs really love to run the football to put a lot of pressure on the defense and control the clock and rely on their defense to not put their offense in pressure situations.  Freshman QB Keytaon Thompson has a lot of promise and will fit in nicely with with Mississippi State does regularly but has yet to show that he can deliver consistently on 3rd down.  Louisville needs to score and create that pressure but it will not be easy against a unit that is Top 25 in both pass & rush D and 10th overall.

Mississippi State gets 1st downs often and they are #1 in the nation in preventing 1st down defensively.  The loss of Jaire Alexander and James Hearns will hurt, but not as much as fans likely believe because, well…….. Mississippi State doesn’t really throw the ball.  There will be a HUGE emphasis on tackling in this game because if the Cards shut down the rushing attack then UofL should be able to control the game.  If Louisville can’t get off the field this will be a ball game.

Overall Overall
Louisville Mississippi State
Strength of Schedule (Sagarin) 47th 50th
Scoring Offense (ppg) 39.0 (12th) 32.1 (37th)
Total Offense (ypg) 560.5 (3rd) 419.8 (45th)
Passing Offense (ypg) 310.6 (15th) 170.3 (109th)
Rushing Offense (ypg) 249.92 (13th) 249.58 (14th)
Scoring Defense (ppg) 27.1 (70th) 20.4 (25th)
Total Defense (ypg) 386.8 (61st) 302.0 (10th)
Passing Defense (ypg) 232.8 (77th) 175.0 (13th)
Rushing Defense (ypg) 153.92 (52nd) 127.0 (23rd)
Punt Returns (ypr) 4.96 (108th) 10.48 (28th)
Kickoff Returns (ypr) 19.68 (94th) 20.13 (89th)
Opponent Punt Returns (ypr) 6.35 (55th) 4.25 (20th)
Opponent Kickoff Return (ypr) 19.42 (37th) 18.08 (20th)
Punting (ypp) 43.63 (25th) 41.90 (62nd)
Field Goal % 88.2% (7th) 81.3% (34th)
Opponent FG % 57.1% (10th) 81.8% (100th)
First Downs (per game) 27.7 (2nd) 23.0 (25th)
Opponent First Downs (per game) 20.3 (64th) 12.9 (1st)
Penalties (ypg) 51.8 (60th) 50.8 (55th)
Turnover Margin (season) 3 (48th) -2 (81st)
Time of Possession 30:25.58 (56th) 33:41.75 (6th)
Sacks (Per Game) 2.08 (59th) 2.50 (30th)
Tackles for Loss (Per Game) 6.08 (58th) 6.25 (52nd)
Sacks Allowed (Per Game) 2.25 (82nd) 0.92 (5th)
Tackles for Loss Allowed (Per Game) 4.67 (21st) 4.33 (13th)
Interceptions (season) 12 (47th) 9 (74th)
Passes Defended (per game) 4.75 (46th) 4.00 (77th)
Fumbles Recovered (season) 8 (50th) 8 (50th)
Fumbles Forced (season) 11 (42nd) 16 (6th)
Fumbles Lost (season) 11 (99th) 6 (25th)
Kick/Punts Blocked (season) 2 (31st) 3 (18th)
3rd Down Conversion % 46.06% (12th) 46.15% (11th)
4th Down Conversion % 59.26% (39th) 52.17% (67th)
Opponent 3rd Down Conversion % 40.85% (85th) 30.97% (12th)
Opponent 4th Down Conversion % 58.82% (94th) 23.08% (4th)
Red Zone Conversion % 84.91% (60th) 84.91% (60th)
Red Zone TD Conversion % 62.26% (58th) 64.15% (48th)
Opponent Red Zone Conversion % 85.29% (82nd) 79.17% (31st)
Opponent Red Zone TD Conversion % 73.53% (122nd) 58.33% (58th)
Kickoffs (ypk) 60.29 (92nd) 63.80 (12th)
Plays 889 (51st) 912 (34th)
Yards Per Play 7.57 (3rd) 5.52 (76th)
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@UofLSheriff50. Louisville native, University of Louisville Business School Grad c/o 2004. Co-Founder of

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