Watch 2017 TaxSlayer Bowl Live stream: Louisville vs. Mississippi State TV Schedule, Date & Time and TV Info
Date: Saturday, Dec. 30 | Time: Noon ET
Location: Everbank Field — Jacksonville, Florida
That’s because this game will be the final opportunity to watch Lamar Jackson play for the Louisville Cardinals (8-4) as his team prepares to take on the Mississippi State Bulldogs (8-4).
The game will kick off Saturday at 12 noon ET, and it will be televised by ESPN
Jackson won the Heisman Trophy in 2016, and he was at least as good this year as he completed 241 of 399 passes for 3,489 yards with 25 touchdowns and just six interceptions. Additionally, he is one of the most dangerous running quarterbacks in the game as he ran for 1,443 yards and scored 17 touchdowns.
The 20-year-old has a future in the NFL, but he will not be given an opportunity to run as much at the next level. He is clearly the centerpiece of the Louisville offense; if he is having a good day, the Cardinals have an excellent chance to win the game.
While it may seem otherwise, Louisville is not a one-man team. Wideout Jaylen Smith is a big part of the offense, catching 53 passes for 873 yards and six touchdowns. Dez Fitzpatrick has also had a big year with 45 catches for 699 yards and nine touchdowns, while Seth Dawkins has caught 39 passes for 604 yards and four touchdowns.
Malik Williams has helped Jackson out in the running game with 518 yards, an 8.4 yards-per-carry mark and four touchdowns.
Mississippi State has been tested throughout the season by facing a brutal Southeastern Conference schedule. After winning their first three games, including a 37-7 beatdown of No. 12 Louisiana State, the Bulldogs got pasted in consecutive weeks by Georgia and Auburn.
They bounced back with a four-game winning streak before playing one of their best games of the year against Alabama. The Bulldogs battled closely for 60 minutes before dropping a 31-24 decision.
If Mississippi State can beat LSU and stay close to Alabama, the Bulldogs are not going to be intimidated by Jackson and Louisville.
The Bulldogs want to run the ball, control the clock and keep Jackson from having a chance to light up the scoreboard. Aeris Williams is Mississippi State’s leading ball-carrier, rushing for 1,019 yards with a 4.5 yards per carry average and five touchdowns.
However, it’s going to be hard for the Bulldogs without Nick Fitzgerald at quarterback. He suffered a severe ankle injury in his last game against Ole Miss and is not going to be able to play. He has been coaching freshman Keytaon Thompson, who has been taking most of the first-team snaps in practice.
“Nick has been great,” Thompson said, per Garry Smits of the Florida Times-Union. “It helps take the pressure off. He’s been loose, keeping me going.”
The other factor is that Mississippi State is in a transition period. They will be led by interim head coach Greg Knox, who has the reins until Joe Moorhead leaves his position as Penn State’s offensive coordinator and takes over the program.
Moorhead succeeds Dan Mullen, who has moved on to the Florida head coaching position.
Louisville is a 6.5-point favorite, according to OddsShark. Fitzgerald’s injury and the coaching transition have left Mississippi State as decided underdogs, but if the Bulldogs can withstand an early onslaught by Jackson, they may be able to keep this game close 2017 Taxslayer Bowl live streaming watch and enjoy.