Gator Bowl: MSU (8-4) vs. No. 21 Northwestern (9-3), EverBank Field, Tuesday, 11 a.m., ESPN2 (Bob Wischusen, Danny Kanell and Allison Williams)
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. | Mississippi State has plenty to prepare for this week, and as you can read in today’s Journal, one big concern is keeping a set of eyes on Northwestern quarterback Kain Colter at all times. That’s my lead story in today’s Journal and something I wrote about briefly on the blog yesterday.
Colter can throw, run, and even plays a little receiver. So he can hurt MSU in a variety of ways.
“A guy like that with that ability to be a receiver and quarterback, we’re going to have our work cut out for us,” linebacker Deontae Skinner said. “We’ve got to be prepared, and I feel like we’ve been getting prepared all week and all bowl prep for them. I feel like we’re going to be prepared for them.”
MSU has some very athletic linebackers, like Skinner and Matt Wells and Benardrick McKinney. They’ll play key roles in keeping Colter hemmed up.
“The thing about Benardrick and Skinner is they’re so long and they can make up for some things,” linebackers coach Geoff Collins said. “They can make plays that people at 6-foot can’t really make. And then the guys like (Ferlando) Bohanna and Matt Wells make up for anything with their speed. Cam (Lawrence) is a great athlete but he’s highly intelligent and does a great job reading and reacting to things.”
• Also in today’s Journal, you’ll find a Gator Bowl notebook. In it I detail Northwestern’s proclivity for creating turnovers – especially fumbles – MSU’s communication issues in the secondary, and Northwestern’s indifference toward cowbells.
• More links: A good profile on Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald. … Here’s a story on Northwestern kicker Jeff Budzien. … From the local paper, a story on MSU cornerbacks Johnthan Banks and Darius Slay.
• Today’s itinerary is simple: MSU practices early this afternoon, so I’ll be out there to watch a little bit and then talk with offensive players and coaches. I’m also working on a story for Sunday’s Journal about MSU’s recent struggles in the run game.