College Football: Miami to face Mississippi State in bowl game

The RedHawks on Sunday accepted an invitation to play in the St. Petersburg Bowl against Mississippi State on Dec. 26. Kickoff is at 11 a.m. and the game will televised by ESPN.

“We are thrilled and honored to be selected to play in the St. Petersburg Bowl,” Miami coach Chuck Martin said in a release. “This is a great reward for our players and staff who have put in so much work and effort to build our program back to bowl eligibility.”

This will be Miami’s 11th appearance in a bowl game. The RedHawks, who are 7-3 in bowl games, last played in the postseason in the 2010 GoDaddy Bowl.

The game against Mississippi State (5-7) will cap a remarkable season for the Redhawks, who lost their first six games then won six straight to become the first team in college football history to begin a season 0-6 and finish 6-6.

Quarterback Gus Ragland returned to the lineup to lead Miami to those six straight wins. The sophomore, who tore his ACL in April, returned Oct. 15 vs. Kent State, leading the RedHawks to comeback win — the first of six straight. He finished the season 94 of 149 for 1,274 yards, 15 touchdowns and no interceptions.

Miami features the Mid-American Conference’s top defense. The RedHawks allow 361.4 yards and 23.4 points per game.

The Bulldogs, of the Southeastern Conference, are making their 20th bowl appearance and their seventh straight.

Quarterback Nick Fitzgerald directs a Mississippi State offense that averages 31.5 points and 449 yards per game. Fitzgerald passes for 2,287 yards and 21 touchdowns and added 1,243 yards and seven TDs on the ground.

The Bulldogs’ defense allows 33.1 points and 461.2 yards per game.

This will be the first meeting between Miami and Mississippi State.

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