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CNN/SI Front '98-'99 Bowl Front More College Football news Schedule Scoreboard Picks Bowl Grid Stat Matchups Past Champs Extinct Bowls Message Boards Fan Poll

The Breakdown

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Posted: Sunday December 20, 1998 04:58 PM

(8-3 record; Mack Brown, 1st season)
Mississippi State
(8-4 record; Jackie Sherrill, 8th season)
School's Bowl Record: 17-18-2

Coach's Bowl Record: 6-5

Last Bowl Appearance: January 1997 Fiesta Bowl (lost to Penn State 38-15)

Record in Cotton Bowl: 9-9-1 (Last appearance 1991, lost to Miami 46-3)
School's Bowl Record: 21-11-2

Coach's Bowl Record: 18-9-1

Last Bowl Appearance: January 1995 Peach Bowl (lost to NC State 28-24)

Record in Cotton Bowl: First appearance
Offensive Stud
Ricky Williams, RB, Sr. (361 carries, 2,124 yards, 27 TDs): Just the Heisman Trophy winner and all-time leader in career rushing yards James Johnson, RB, Sr. (236 carries, 1,383 yards, 12 TDs): Very quietly led the SEC in rushing
Defensive Stud
Aaron Humphrey, DE, Jr. (10 sacks): Team leader in sacks; coaches' third team All-Big 12 Edward Smith, DE, Sr. (127 tackles, 12 sacks): First team All-SEC, led the conference in sacks
Player to Watch
Wane McGarity, WR, Sr. (59 catches, 1,097 yards, 9 TDs): All-Big 12 first team member quietly had a great year in the shadow of Williams Kevin Prentiss, WR, Sr. (38 catches, 681 yards, 3 TDs): Return specialist showed off his skills with an 83-yard punt return TD against Tennessee in the SEC title game
Key Stats
11th in the nation in total offense (470.6 yards per game) and scoring offense (36.2 points per game) Ranked 20th in the nation in total defense, allowing 312.9 yards per game.
Surprise Stat
Led the Big 12 in passing offense at 266.4 yards per game The Bulldogs are 7-0 in day games, just 1-4 at night (the only night win being against Ole Miss on Thanksgiving).
1998 Turning Point
Ricky Williams breaking Tony Dorsett's career rushing mark in the same game that the Longhorns upset their in-state rivals Texas A&M on a late field goal.. After getting little respect all season, the Bulldogs upset Arkansas on a last-second field goal. That win helped propel them to the SEC title game.
Key to Victory
Letting Ricky Williams put up his normal gaudy numbers. Shutting down Ricky Williams
A fitting way for Williams to end his career - playing in the stadium that made Doak Walker such a star. He'll face a good Mississippi State defense but should run wild all the way to the NFL. If Johnson is healed from his late-season injuries, the Bulldogs have a shot. Otherwise, they could be seeing Williams finish his college career with a huge bang.

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