Gator Bowl Predictions – Mississippi State vs. Northwestern 1/1/13

Last Updated: December 31st, 2012 by Adam Markowitz (Bankroll Sports Columnist)
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Gator Bowl LogoOur 2013 bowl predictions continue on Tuesday, January 1st with the Gator Bowl, and we are set to make our Gator Bowl predictions, tips, and keys to the game for the duel between the Mississippi State Bulldogs and the Northwestern Wildcats.

2013 Gator Bowl: Mississippi State Bulldogs vs. Northwestern Wildcats
2013 Gator Bowl Location: EverBank Field, Jacksonville, FL
2013 Gator Bowl Date/Time: Tuesday, January 1st, 12:00 p.m. (ET)
2013 Gator Bowl On TV: ESPN2, Watch ESPN

Click Here For The Rest Of The 2012-13 Bowl Game Schedule And Other Bowl Game Previews

Key #1: The Wildcats have to get Kain Kolter involved in all facets of the game
QB Kain Kolter is really a quarterback in name only. He is the prototypical “Slash” type of player, and he’ll line up against anyone in any position on the field. He’s just that great of an athlete. Kolter isn’t the best passer in the world, but he will take some snaps under center and in the shotgun and throw the ball. He had 796 passing yards with eight TDs and just two picks, but at this point, it is almost a bit more of a gimmick for him to throw the ball than anything else. Still, he is the Wildcat quarterback and is quick as the wind, and his 12 rushing touchdowns this year were no mistake. He had 820 yards as well and averaged 5.2 yards per carry, and that number includes all of the times that he was sacked as well. Kolter was also frequently split out wide at the receiver position as well. He caught 16 passes for 169 yards on the outside. This is the type of man that really can mess with the game plan that the Bulldogs have defensively, and the SEC reps have to be prepared to see anything and everything out of Kolter.

Gator Bowl Odds at WagerWeb Sportsbook
Mississippi State Bulldogs +1.5
Northwestern Wildcats -1.5
Over/Under 53.5
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Key #2: Venric Mark has to have a big time game
Those in Evanston really thought that Mark should have been considered for the Heisman Trophy at some points this year. Just a junior, Mark is going to have another chance to flash his skills next year. He had 213 carries for 1,310 yards on the ground in his primary trade, but he also proved to be a decent receiver with 101 yards and a great return man as well. All told, Mark ended the season with the most all-purpose yards in the Big Ten with 2,048, and he is going to have the chance to get the ball in his hands a solid 20-25 times in this game between offense and special teams. The Mississippi State defense is going to have to be all over the field, knowing exactly where Mark is with the football, because one misstep, and the junior could be off to the races. This is the man that has the ability to blow this game out of proportion if the Wildcats get ahead.


Key #3: Tyler Russell has to take care of the football and hit some big plays to Chad Bumphis
Northwestern had a defense this year that made some big time plays against the run, but this secondary is absolutely suspect at best. The Cats ranked just 97th in the country, allowing 261.6 passing yards per game, and that came against a Big Ten conference that just didn’t have all that many great passers in it this year. The time is clearly here for QB Tyler Russell to be a playmaker in this, the final game of his junior season. An ankle injury has slowed down Russell just a bit, but there is a clear difference in his stats between his wins and his losses. In wins this year, Russell threw for 19 TDs and just one pick. In four losses, he had three scores and five INTs. Those latter numbers just aren’t going to cut it, and it is a clear indication that this team is only going to go as far as Russell takes it. WR Chad Bumphis is the big play man and the favored receiver that Russell has to work with, and if he makes some big time plays, as he has done sporadically over his whole career in Starkville, the Bulldogs are going to have a real chance at the mild upset.

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Posted in College Football - Last Updated on Monday, December 31st, 2012 @ 12:29 pm (EST)
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