Andrew Olson | 5 hours ago
Year 2 of the Mike Leach era at Mississippi State ended with a disappointing loss Tuesday. Texas Tech struck first in the Liberty Bowl and never looked back. The Red Raiders thumped Leach’s squad, a double-digit favorite, 34-7.
Texas Tech controlled the game from the get-go. The Red Raiders never trailed in the first 2 quarters, out gaining the Bulldogs 252-128 yards, notching a 13-7 lead at the half.
Things did not get any better in the second half. Mississippi State was shut out in the final 2 quarters, while Texas Tech added 21 points.
Mississippi State’s Air Raid attack finished with more passing yards than Texas Tech (290-252) thanks to nearly double the passing attempts (53-28), but total yardage (512-344), rushing yards (260-54), turnovers (3-0), tackles for loss (7-3) and sacks (4-1) all went the Red Raiders’ way.
The one positive Mississippi State story Tuesday night was Will Rogers breaking a Dak Prescott record for most yards of offense in a season. Rogers finished the Liberty Bowl 32-of-53 passing for 290 yards, a touchdown and an interception. Texas Tech freshman QB Donovan Smith was 15-of-28 for 252 yards and a touchdown pass. The Red Raiders ran the ball 44 times for 260 yards and 3 touchdowns, led by Tahj Brooks’ 16 carries for 107 yards and a TD.
MSU opened as an 8.5-point favorite in Las Vegas. According to Vegas Insider, the Bulldogs had been bet up to 10-point favorites Tuesday, less than an hour before kickoff. Shortly before kickoff, it was revealed that Leach’s squad was missing numerous key players.
Mississippi State falls to 7-6, ending 2021 on a 2-game losing skid. The Bulldogs lost to in-state rival Ole Miss 31-21 in the Egg Bowl regular-season finale.