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2013 AutoZone Liberty Bowl: Rice vs. Mississippi State game preview, odds and prediction

Oct 12, 2013; Starkville, MS, USA; Mississippi State Bulldogs head coach Dan Mullen pleads his case to a referee about a call during the game against the Bowling Green Falcons at Davis Wade Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

In the third game of the bowl slate on Tuesday, the AutoZone Liberty Bowl will take place featuring a match up between the Conference-USA champion Rice Owls and the Mississippi State Bulldogs of the SEC.

Rice comes in on an absolute roll after their 10-win campaign. They’re also very high on confidence as, to capture that Conference-USA title, they absolutely obliterated a very good Marshall Thundering Herd team to secure just their second 10-win season in their history.

Mississippi State also comes in very confident after their overtime win on Thanksgiving night in the Egg Bowl against the rival Ole Miss Rebels. The Bulldogs needed that win as it was their sixth on the season, barely making them bowl eligible for 2013.

Date: Dec. 31

Start Time: 4 PM ET

Location: Memphis, TN

Stadium: Liberty Bowl

TV Info: ESPN

Live Stream: WatchESPN app

Odds: Mississippi State -7

Prediction: Don’t let the name of the conference that Mississippi State hails from fool you. This Rice team is for real, and it may show through in this one. The Owls are averaging over 31 points per game this season, so they can find ways to score.

The question is whether or not their defense can stop Mississippi State QB Dak Prescott, who has already begun to draw comparisons to Tim Tebow.

This is one of the tougher ones of the bowl season to call, but in the end, it was a nice season for Rice but Prescott will start his 2014 Heisman campaign early in this one.

Mississippi State 35, Rice 31

Topics: Liberty Bowl. Mississippi State Bulldogs, Rice Owls

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