Coach: Scott Satterfield
Louisville Players to watch:
*Junior OT Mekhi Becton (6-7/365)
Becton, a potential top-50 NFL prospect, was named the winner of the Jacobs Blocking Trophy. The award has been given to the ACC’s most outstanding blocker since 1953 an is voted on by league’s head coaches and defensive coordinators.
“He’s got tremendous size, tremendous athletic ability, but it’s nice to see that come onto the field where he’s going against some elite defensive linemen,” offensive coordinator Dwayne Ledford said. “He’s having a good season but he and I talked today about it, just keep pushing. How good can we get?”
The junior from Highland Springs, Virginia, has started 33 games at offensive tackle for the Cardinals and was named ACC “Offensive Lineman of the Week” on Oct. 7 after his performance in the 41-39 victory over Boston College. Don’t be surprised if he declares for the draft.
***rFreshman RB Javian Hawkins (5-9/180)
Rushing for a Louisville freshman record of 1,420 yards and eight touchdowns, Hawkins averaged 118.3 yards per game, which ranks seventh nationally heading into the Music City Bowl against Mississippi State. His 1,420 yards rushing ranks fourth on the school’s single-season list and stands third in league history among freshmen.
**Sophomore QB Malik Cunningham (6-1/195)
It looked like “Puma” Pass was going to be the heir apparent to Lamar Jackson, but that experiment hasn’t worked out so well, so far. Instead, HC Satterfield has turned to duel-threat quarterback Malik Cunningham for most of 2019. Cunningham has thrown for 20 touchdowns and rushed for another six. While he was shut down by Clemson (4 of 11 for 63 yards), he completed over 60 percent of his passes against the rest of the ACC.
**Sophomore WR Chatarius “Tutu” Atwell (5-9/160)
The diminutive wide receiver has gotten the attention of the opposition with his dynamic playmaking abilities this season. Atwell has racked up 1,125 receiving yards on 60 catches for an 18.8 yard per catch average. The speedster also has 11 receiving touchdowns.
“We like to get him in space,” head coach Scott Satterfield said. “I think that’s where he obviously thrives the best you don’t want to get him in situations where he’s, you know, matched up with some bigger guys where you can get hemmed up, we want to get them outside against safeties and corners and he’s been very good at that and he obviously a big play threat for us.”
Coach: Joe Moorhead
Mississippi State Players to watch:
*Junior RB Kylin Hill (5-11/215)
Hill rushed for 1,347 yards and score 11 touchdowns as a junior. He was named A.P. first team All-SEC earlier this month. With that news, Hill had this to say, “But just like every kid, it’s always been a dream of mine to play in the NFL. After much prayer and discussion with my family, I have decided it is time for the next chapter in my life and football career. I will be forgoing my final season of eligibility and entering my name in the 2020 NFL Draft. I look forward to continuing to chase my lifelong dream of playing on Sundays.”
He also added, ” I can’t wait to wear the Maroon and White one last time with my brothers and play in the Music City Bowl.”
Senior DE Chauncey Rivers (6-3/275)
Rivers leads the Bulldogs in sacks (5.0) and tackles-for-loss (7.5) this season. He is also tops on the team and 10th in the SEC in total pressures (29). He also had two passes defended and forced one fumble.
In a bit of trivia, Rivers comes from the same high school in Georgia (Stephenson) as former MSU All-American Montez Sweat.
***Freshman DT Nathan Pickering (6-4/300)
Mississippi State defensive tackle Nathan Pickering has been named to the Southeastern Conference All-Freshman Team, the league office announced December 12. A quick, athletic and versatile defensive lineman, Pickering’s 3.0 sacks this season led all SEC freshman defensive linemen. His 5.5 tackles-for-loss were the second most by any SEC rookie.
Senior SS Jaquarius Landrews (6-0/195)
In the regular season finale, Mississippi State faced the fleet-footed quarterback from Ole Miss, John Rhys Plumlee. HC Joe Moorhead had this to say about Landrews ability to keep the QB in check.
“With [John Rhys Plumlee] ability, and how he is able to make plays by design and improvisation, you can’t [anticipate what he is going to do]. You kind of just run your own [defense] and get that kid on the ground. He’s done it against the best teams in the conference, and if he continues to do it, his future is bright. We need to make sure that between he and [Jerrion] Ealy and the rest of those guys, we did a good job stopping the run. I think we did that for the most part.”
Landrews finished the season second on the team in total tackles with 72, he had one interception and six passes defended.
Music City Bowl
Louisville 28, Mississippi State 28
Dec 30, 2019 | 4 p.m. | ESPN
2018 Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl
Auburn 63, Purdue 14