New Year’s Eve features three college football bowl games – there were four, but the Texas Bowl was canceled – and the first of the day at noon ET is the Armed Forces Bowl between No. 24 Tulsa of the AAC and Mississippi State of the SEC from Fort Worth.
How to Bet Tulsa vs. Mississippi State NCAA Football Odds & TV Info
When: Thursday, noon ET
Where: Amon G. Carter Stadium, Fort Worth
Stream: ESPN app
Opening NCAAF Lines: Tulsa -2 (total 45)
It’s the 18th edition of this bowl and third time in it for Tulsa, which is 0-2. The Hurricane played Utah in 2006 and BYU in the 2011 game. Mississippi State is the first Southeastern Conference member ever to appear in the game.
Why Bet on Tulsa?
The Golden Hurricane (6-2) lost in the AAC title game to unbeaten Cincinnati 27-24 on a 34-yard field goal as time expires. Tulsa was looking for its 5th comeback win of the season after trailing by double-digits in the first quarter.
Trailing 24-17, the Hurricane offense took possession at their own 20-yard line and marched 80 yards in 7 plays as Zach Smith threaded the needle for a 13-yard scoring strike to Juan Carlos Santana to tie the score, 24-24 after the PAT, with 3:41 remaining in the contest.
Tulsa had 365 yards of offense to the Bearcats’ 420 yards. Tulsa outrushed Cincinnati 199 to 151, as Corey Taylor II had a game-high 130 yards and one touchdown on 22 carries, and Deneric Prince added 78 yards and one TD. Smith completed 13 passes for 166 yards.
Tulsa’s star is linebacker Zaven Collins, who won the 2020 Bronko Nagurski Trophy, which honors college football’s national defensive player of the year. In 2016, Collins was a high school senior quarterback at small Class A Hominy (Okla.) High School. His only Division I scholarship offer came from Tulsa.
This year, he totaled 54 tackles, 11.5 TFLs for minus 49 yards, four sacks for minus 25 yards, four interceptions for 152 return yards, two TDs off INTs, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery, as well as one safety, in eight games. Two of Collins’ interceptions were game-clinchers.
Collins is the first Tulsa player to win any of the current on-field performance awards and becomes the school’s first All-American since offensive lineman Jerry Ostroski in 1991. Collins was unanimously chosen as the American Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Year, becoming the first player in league history to earn unanimous player-of-the-year honors.
Head coach Philip Montgomery is in his sixth year directing the program. The Golden Hurricane are 10-11 in bowl appearances. Montgomery takes his third team into a bowl game after leading the 2015 squad to the Independence Bowl, while the 2016 team won the Miami Beach Bowl.
Why Bet on Mississippi State?
QB Will Rogers completed 21-of-36 passes for 295 yards and three touchdowns. Jaden Walley hauled in five of those passes for a game-high 129 yards and a touchdown, giving him four straight 100-yard games to close the regular season. The 51 points were MSU’s highest scoring output in a game since a 54-24 victory at Arkansas on Nov. 2, 2019.
Rogers has completed 220 passes this season, which is fourth in MSU single-season history. He improved his MSU freshman-record marks in passing yards (1,828), passing attempts (316) and completions (220). Walley increased his MSU freshman-record receiving yards total to 691 this season. He is the first true freshman in program history to record four 100-yard receiving games in the same season.
Rogers and Walley are the nation’s top true freshman quarterback-wide receiver duo. MSU’s true freshmen have combined for 146 receptions this season, the most by any first-year group in the FBS.
State’s defense ranks fourth in the SEC in both yards per play allowed (5.5) and total defense (380.3). Senior linebacker Erroll Thompson is the Bulldogs’ leading tackler (86), while sophomore Aaron Brule leads the nation in quarterback hurries (34) among linebackers.
MSU is making its 24th all-time bowl appearance and will be one of only four SEC programs to go to a bowl each of the last 11 seasons, joining Alabama, Georgia and Texas A&M. The Bulldogs own a 13-10 bowl record.
Golden Hurricane are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 Bowl games as a favorite.
Golden Hurricane are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 neutral site games as a favorite.
Golden Hurricane are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 Thursday games.
Bulldogs are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 neutral site games as an underdog.
Bulldogs are 2-8 ATS vs. a team with a winning record.
Bulldogs are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 neutral site games.
Expert College Football Prediction
Tulsa 24, Mississippi State 21
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