The Mississippi State Bulldogs opened as 2.5-point favorites to defeat Northwestern in the 2013 Gator Bowl. The line has moved a bit in Northwestern's direction since opening, and now MSU is favored by just two points at some sportsbooks.
The Bulldogs finished the regular season 8-4 overall and lost four of their last five games, though three of those were against ranked teams. Northwestern is 9-3, and their three losses came by a total of 19 points. The Wildcats are riding a two-game winning streak into the bowl.
Mississippi State ranks 77th in total offense and 58th in total defense among FBS teams this season. The Bulldogs 69th-ranked rushing defense is up against a Northwestern ground game that averages 230.9 yards per game. Wildcats running back Venric Mark has 1,310 rushing yards this year, while quarterback Kain Colter has more than 800 yards on the ground.
The Gator Bowl is set for noon ET on New Year's Day. ESPN2 will televise the game.