2017 TaxSlayer Bowl: MSU Bulldogs vs. Louisville Cardinals
This game happened under absolutely bizarre circumstances.
With Dan Mullen having departed for the Florida Gators and MSU having to turn to true freshman quarterback Keytaon Thompson because Nick Fitzgerald was injured in the Egg Bowl just a few weeks prior, the MSU Bulldogs took on a Louisville Cardinals team that was led by former Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson.
No big deal for Mississippi State, right?
The Bulldogs didn’t have much of a coaching staff because Mullen took key leaders away to Gainesville. And MSU had to figure out how to move forward without the Bulldogs’ starting quarterback and centerpiece for their offense.
Again, no big deal for Mississippi State, right?
And so, on December 30, 2017 at EverBank Field in Jacksonville, Florida, after losing its head coach, starting quarterback, and a variety of assistants, MSU took on Lamar Jackson and the Louisville Cardinals.
Led by Keytaon Thompson at quarterback and Greg Knox as interim head coach, Mississippi State went to work. And while a lot of fans love to give Thompson a ton of credit for helping the Bulldogs come out on top of this one, State’s defense did a lot of heavy lifting to make this improbable win possible.
That includes picking off the former Heisman winner on four different occasions and limiting Louisville to just 358 total yards of offense.
Aeris Williams was key at running back and he helped compliment Thompson (who ran for just shy of 150 yards on his own). The duo ended up punishing Louisville’s defense for a combined 277 rushing yards and four rushing touchdowns.
And Mississippi State won 31-27. It was the third straight bowl win for the Bulldogs and their eighth straight bowl appearance.