Mississippi State rallies for ReliaQuest Bowl win as team honors Mike Leach with helmets, Air Raid formation


Mississippi State defeated Illinois State 19-10 in the Leriaquest Bowl in the Bulldogs’ first game since the death of legendary coach Mike Leach. They held onto a 13-10 lead with four seconds remaining, and Bulldogs cornerback Marcus Banks picked up a lateral on the Fighting Illini’s final play to take it 60 yards home to end the 9-point win. rice field.

Massimo Biscardi kicked a 27-yard field goal with four seconds left to give Mississippi a 13-10 lead. The Bulldogs advanced 70 yards on nine plays led by quarterback Will Rogers and got inside the 10-yard line to set Biscardi on the forward score. Rodgers completed 29 of 44 passes for 261 yards and one touchdown (8 yards behind Justin Robinson), making him Mississippi State’s only offensive touchdown. Robinson recorded his seven catches for 81 yards on the afternoon.

During the matchup, the team paid tribute to Reach’s legacy in several ways. Shortly before kickoff, the team announced they would wear maroon helmets with a white pirate flag to honor Leach, who was famously interested in the history of the pirate lifestyle.

As the game began, Mississippi received the opening kick and once again honored their deceased coach. The Bulldogs lined up in an airstrike formation and played down his clock to zero for what was a football version of a moment of silence. Illinois refused to delay the game penalty.

After former coach Dan Mullen left for Florida, Leach got a job in Mississippi. Leach was 19-17 in his three seasons leading the Bulldogs. This included a 24–22 victory over rival Ole in his last game at the Egg Bowl. He went 158-107 overall and had stints at Texas Tech (2000-09) and Washington State University (2012-19).

He was widely known as the designer of air raid offenses. This was to spread the receiver and use his game short passes as an aid to his game running. When the two worked together in Kentucky (1997-98), where he developed an offense alongside Hal Mumme, Leach won National Coach of the Year that year, three times for him, and a Power Five. He won the conference coach of the year three times. During his 21-year head coaching career, he won his two Power Five Division titles and led the team to his 19th bowl his game.

Leach died on December 13 at the age of 61 after complications from heart disease. He was hospitalized two days ago after suffering from a medical condition at his home.

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