2011 Gator Bowl Preview & Point Spread: Michigan vs. Mississippi State: January 1st 2010
2011 Gator Bowl Betting Preview – January 1st 2011
Michigan Wolverines vs. No. 21 Mississippi State Bulldogs
Point spread: Bulldogs -4 ½
The Michigan Wolverines, out of the Big 10 take on the Mississippi State Bulldogs, from the SEC in a New Year’s Day battle in the 2011 Gator Bowl. Kickoff from Everbank Field in Jacksonville, FL. is set for 1:30 p.m. (ET) and the game will be broadcast nationally on ESPN2.
Michigan head coach Rich Rodriguez has come under fire all season long despite the fact he has the Wolverines playing in a New Year’s Day bowl after watching his team sit out the bowl season the previous two years with a losing record. Some of the heat could be justified after Michigan blew a 5-0 start by losing five of its next seven games to finish the year at 7-5 straight-up (3-9 against the spread)overall and 3-5 SU in Big 10 play.
The Wolverines come into this game with one of the worst defenses in the nation after finishing the season ranked 102nd in points allowed; giving up an average of 33.8 per game, while their offense averaged 34.3 points per game. They do have an explosive running game led by one of the most versatile quarterbacks in college football; Denard Robinson. He completed 62 percent of his passes for 2,316 yards and 16 touchdowns, but also led the team in rushing with 1,643 yards and 14 TD’s on the ground.
RB Vincent Smith was second on the team in rushing with 588 yards on a 129 carries and WR Roy Roundtree caught 63 passes for 882 yards and six TD’s.
Mississippi State bookended a 1-2 start with a 1-2 finish, but still managed to end the season with an 8-5 SU record overall (6-6 ATS) and go 4-4 SU in SEC play. The Bulldogs did finish the regular season on a high note with a 31-23 victory over in-state rival Mississippi as a 2 ½-point road favorite. It was the team’s first road win against the Rebels since 1998.
The Bulldogs also come into this game with one of the better rushing offenses in the country; averaging 215.8 yards per game on the ground. QB Chris Relf only threw for 1,508 yards but he was the team’s second leading rusher with 683 yards on 179 carries. RB Vick Ballard was the primary workhorse out of the backfield with 892 rushing yards on 166 carries. He also led the team in scoring with 17 TD’s.
RB LaDarius Perkins was third player out of the Bulldogs backfield to rush for over 500 yards as he picked up an additional 526 yards on 92 carries. Even though Mississippi States’ passing game was not the primary focus of its offense, WR Chad Bumphis still managed to snag 44 receptions for 634 yards to lead the team.
Michigan is 0-4 ATS in its last four games played on the road and 1-9 ATS in its last 10 games overall. The total has gone ‘over’ the total in four of its last six games overall.
Mississippi State is 3-2 ATS in its last five road games and is 4-3 ATS in its last seven games overall . The total has stayed ‘under’ in seven of its last 10 games overall.
These two teams have never played one another and the last time that Mississippi State played a team from the Big 10 was a 1980 game against Illinois.