MIAMI LAKES, Fla. (AP) — Mississippi State’s body of work somehow looked considerably better to the College Football Playoff selection committee this week, without the Bulldogs even playing.
As such, they’re headed to the Orange Bowl.
After climbing three spots in the final CFP rankings and leapfrogging Michigan State, the Bulldogs will be at Sun Life Stadium on Dec. 31 to take on Georgia Tech — the first meeting between those programs since 2009.
Mississippi State (10-2, No. 8 AP, No. 7 CFP) was second to Alabama in the Southeastern Conference’s West Division. Georgia Tech (10-3, No. 10 AP, No. 12 CFP) won the Atlantic Coast Conference’s Coastal Division and lost the league title game to Florida State.
Georgia Tech ranked second nationally by piling up 333.6 yards rushing per game this season, and finished with 41 rushing touchdowns — fourth-most among all FBS schools. Mississippi State allowed only 11 touchdowns on the ground all season, has an elite running back in Josh Robinson (1,128 yards) and a dual-threat quarterback in Dak Prescott (2,996 passing yards, 939 rushing yards).
Prescott has thrown for 24 touchdowns and rushed for 13 more this season.
It’ll be the fourth straight ranked opponent — and third straight top-10 foe — for Georgia Tech. The Yellow Jackets have gone 2-1 in that stretch, beating then-No. 18 Clemson and then-No. 8 Georgia before losing 37-35 to the CFP-bound Seminoles on Saturday night.
“You know, we’ve had a pretty good little three-game stretch here,” Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson said after the ACC title-game loss. “And probably going to be a four-game stretch.”
Georgia Tech is going to the Orange Bowl for the seventh time, most recently after the 2009 season.
Mississippi State has been to the Orange Bowl twice before, losing in 1937 and winning in 1941.
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