Author Archives: spark

Outback Bowl 2019: MSU vs Iowa TV Schedule, Time and Odds

If you wake up on New Year’s Day hoping to see a plethora of points, let us temper your expectations for the Outback Bowl now.

Two of the top six defenses in the FBS are set to square off at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida, and it’s likely both Mississippi State and Iowa score under 20 points.

The 18th-ranked Bulldogs were expected to shine on offense with quarterback Nick Fitzgerald teaming up with head coach Joe Moorhead, but instead, their defense stole the show on a few occasions.

Iowa used another season of grind-it-out football to reach 8-4 and a New Year’s Day bowl, but its season could have been even better if it didn’t suffer through a three-game losing streak at the end of October and early November.

Outback Bowl 2019

Outback Bowl 2019

Date: Tuesday, January 1

Time: Noon ET


Live Stream: Watch ESPN or ESPN app

Odds (via OddsShark): Mississippi State -7; Over/Under: 41

Let’s begin the preview full of praise for both defenses by commending the pair of 8-4 teams for holding opponents to single digits on nine occasions.

Mississippi State’s defensive accomplishments become even more impressive when you find out it limited two teams to 10 points to add to the five single-digit totals it forced.

The Bulldogs ended the regular season giving up 12 points per game, which was the best total in the FBS, an impressive achievement given how controlling Alabama and Clemson were on that side of the ball.

First-round prospects Montez Sweat and Jeffery Simmons headline the Mississippi State defense, and unlike other top college players, they’re both playing in their team’s bowl game.

The sense of family that emanates inside the Mississippi State program was one of the main reasons the defensive linemen chose to participate in the Outback Bowl, as Simmons noted to Tyler Horka of the Jackson Clarion-Ledger.

“You can feel the energy at practice,” Simmons said. “We’re ready to take the field one more time. Just being able to take the field one more time is going to be the best feeling ever, especially with some of those guys who I know are fixing to go off and pursue their dream.”

In addition to the pair of potential first-round picks, the Bulldogs possess a strong secondary, led by safety Johnathan Abram, who is the program’s top tackler.

With plenty of defensive stars capable of shutting down the Iowa offense, Mississippi State hopes it can open up a lead behind Fitzgerald.

The dual-threat quarterback threw for 1,615 yards and ran for 1,018 yards in his senior season to earn two seasons with over 1,000 yards through the air and on the ground.

Although Fitzgerald is one of the better quarterbacks Iowa faces this season, the Hawkeyes can halt his progress in both facets of the game.

The Hawkeyes boast the seventh-best rushing defense in the FBS and are one of nine programs to concede fewer than 10 touchdowns on the ground.

Kirk Ferentz’s team is also impressive defending the pass, as it tied for first in the FBS with 18 interceptions alongside Boston College, Maryland and Utah State.

Defensive backs Amani Hooker and Geno Stone lead the Hawkeyes with four interceptions each, while Jake Gervase and Michael Ojemudia contributed three picks.

Because Iowa poses a problem to opposing quarterbacks, Fitzgerald should try to establish his ground presence first before trying to beat the Hawkeyes secondary.

Iowa could face the same trouble getting its offense going, as tight end Noah Fant is sitting out the Outback Bowl to focus on the NFL draft.

With Fant out, quarterback Nate Stanley only has one of his reliable tight ends to target, and that’s if Mississippi State allows T.J. Hockenson to get open.

Stanley achieved more success in the passing game than Fitzgerald, as he totaled 2,638 passing yards, but he needs one of his wide receivers to step up in the absence of Fant.

If Iowa is unable to generate first downs through the air, it’s going to have to challenge Mississippi State’s defensive line with running backs Mekhi Sargent and Toren Young.

Sargent is coming off back-to-back triple-digit rushing outings against Illinois and Nebraska, but those two Big Ten sides don’t compare defensively to what Mississippi State brings to the table.


Mississippi State 13, Iowa 9

If you feel inclined to bet on the Outback Bowl, throw all of your money toward the under.

Even if Fitzgerald and Stanley lead their respective teams down the field, there’s a decent chance they’ll have to settle for field goals.

Iowa’s Miguel Recinos is 15-for-20 on field goals with a long of 49 yards, while Mississippi State’s Jace Christmann is 9-for-13 with a 47-yard kick being his longest.

Expect both kickers to receive plenty of airtime Tuesday before a touchdown is scored.

When you finally see a touchdown in Tampa, cherish it because it will be the only one you witness, as Fitzgerald finds a way to get into the end zone in the second half to topple Iowa.

Outback Bowl 2018: Michigan vs South Carolina things to watch

The 2018 Outback Bowl is an American college football bowl game to be played on January 1, 2018 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. The 32nd annual Outback Bowl is one of the 2017–18 NCAA football bowl games that concludes the 2017 NCAA Division I FBS football season.

Outback Bowl 2018 Michigan vs South Carolina

Matchup: Michigan (8-4) vs. South Carolina (8-4); Outback Bowl

When: Noon, Jan. 1.

Where: Raymond James Stadium; Tampa, Fla.

TV/radio: ESPN2; WWJ-AM (950), WTKA-AM (1050).

Line: Wolverines by 8.


SHEA PATTERSON COULD ACTUALLY SUIT UP: Yes, that Shea Patterson, the one from Ole Miss who is transferring to Ann Arbor for the 2018 season. He would be an awesome choice here for Michigan. Unfortunately, the Wolverines have a dumpster fire at quarterback, with Brandon Peters likely starting in Tampa. His numbers, while definitely not impressive (57%) in 4 starts, he hasn’t thrown an interception yet. But still, if you want to beat a good South Carolina team, Peters, O’Korn, Speight, Harbaugh in Disguise, Patterson in Disguise, etc. will have to be on top of their game to win.

MAKE SOUTH CAROLINA’S OFFENSE AS ONE-DIMENSIONAL AS POSSIBLE: The Gamecocks were a meager 107th in total rushing in 2017. Of course, the passing wasn’t much better either (79th) but it felt like South Carolina when needed to, Jake Bentley made the plays. I would say get to Bentley (SC allowed 26 sacks in 2017, 76th) and Michigan can do that (39 sacks) and make them try to go against the run, which is stout too (20th ranked)

THEY RUN THE BALL EFFECTIVELY: South Carolina wasn’t as strong as what many believe they were on defense in 2017, but they were all right defensively against the run (45th). Michigan has to win the war on the line to generate ANY offense because I don’t think you will get much play from the quarterback. Karan Higdon could have a big day if given the chance.


THEY GET 3 TURNOVERS: Michigan wasn’t horrible with turning the ball over, but wasn’t great either. South Carolina can net a few turnovers here and there. But in a game where scoring is at a premium, setting yourself up for great field position is huge. South Carolina needs 3 of them to go against a great Wolverine D.

JAKE BENTLEY HAS SUCCESS: For the first half of the year, Bentley played great, throwing for 12 TD’s and only 3 INT’s and had success at times airing it out. Then the second half of the year came and it fell apart. He threw for only 4 TD’s and 7 INT’s while throwing for 249 yards was his highest in a win against a Florida team that had thrown in the towel. Bentley needs to play like first half of the season Bentley to stand a chance. Not the best of match-ups against Michigan.

THEY CAN FIND ANY SUCCESS RUNNING THE BALL: South Carolina was abysmal running in 2017. To give some pressure taken off of Bentley, the Gamecocks need to have great games from AJ Turner (assuming he plays) and Tyson Williams. The good news is those two run for about 5 yards per carry but they need to run the ball often and have success often.

Outback Bowl 2018 Prediction

This game may be very ugly. I think whoever gets 17 points wins. Whoever has the best day running the ball, will win the game. My guess is I will go with Michigan in a close one. MICHIGAN 17, SOUTH CAROLINA 16