*The Bulldogs are playing for a fourth-straight winning record, last done at State in 1997-2000.
*This is the 17th bowl game in program history, eleven of them coming since 1980. Mississippi State is 9-7 in bowl games, having had a five win streak (1998-2011) snapped last season.
*Coach Dan Mullen is 2-1 in his previous two bowl games with State. He has made a prior trip to this event, as an assistant with Utah in 2003 where his team beat Southern Mississippi.
*Mullen's four bowl trips, in five seasons, are second-most by a Bulldog coach, behind Jackie Sherrill's six bowls in 13 seasons. With a win Mullen will surpass Sherrill for first place in that category.
*Mullen goes into the game with 35 career victories, 4th-best of the 33 head coaches in MSU history. Two more wins will tie him for third-most.
*Mississippi State is officially 0-1 against Rice. The 1975 Bulldogs won the only meeting of the programs 28-14, in Houston; but later had to forfeit the game for use of a player declared ineligible.
*A 2013 ‘bowl' trophy already resides on campus, as the Bulldogs regained possession of the Golden Egg to end the regular schedule. It is Mullen fourth win in five meetings with the arch-rivals, and he is 3-0 on Scott Field in the series.
State at the Liberty Bowl: Three previous Bulldog teams have played in Liberty Bowls, with a 2-1 record. The wins came in 1963 and 2007, with a 1991 loss. This game will tie Mississippi State with six other programs for most appearances in Liberty Bowls, at four.
*Most Valuable Players in State's wins were Ode Burrell in '63, and Derek Pegues in '07.
*In that most recent trip, the '07 Bulldogs beat then-CUSA member and champion Central Florida 10-3. The game's only touchdown came in the fourth quarter by Anthony ‘Boobie' Dixon.
*This year's game is the 50th anniversary of that legendarily-frigid 1963 game played at the original bowl site of Philadelphia. State defeated North Carolina State 16-12 before just 8,3,09 fans who braved artic conditions. That is still the lowest attendance for any Liberty Bowl.
*The highest attendance though came in '07 when a MSU-dominated crowd of 63,816 watched. State and Air Force in 1991 set the record at the time and that crowd of 61,497 is still third-most for the event.
Bowling Bulldogs: When they take the field tomorrow, a trio of Bulldogs will become the only State players ever to participate in four bowl games: OG Gabe Jackson, RB LaDarius Perkins, and LB Deontae Skinner. And Jackson will be the first and only Bulldog so far ever to start four bowl games.
*Perkins is looking for his first bowl touchdown.
*Just two current Bulldogs have scored points in a bowl game, both at the 2013 Gator Bowl. TE Malcolm Johnson scored a touchdown on a 14-yard catch, from QB Tyler Russell; and PK Devon Bell hit two field goals and two PATs.
*This is the final career game for the last members of Mullen's 2009 recruiting class, his first at State. Besides Jackson, Perkins, and Skinner, other fifth-year Dogs making their bows are P Baker Swedenburg and injured seniors Russell and FS Nickoe Whitley. The latter who had post-season surgeries and will not play.
*Jackson will be making his 52nd consecutive start, which will not only be the most in Mississippi State history. He will finish 2013 leading the NCAA in active-player starts, as Georgia's Aaron Murray (also 51) is sidelined for his team's bowl game with injury.
TEAM NOTES: Though they'd rather get the job done in regulation, overtime became prime time for the Bulldogs in November. They defeated both Arkansas (24-17) and Ole Miss (17-10) in one overtime period each. State is now 5-4 in OT play.
*Both of those victories were sealed with forced turnovers too; an Arkanas interception by CB Taveze Calhoun and a Ole Miss fumble made by Whitley and recovered by CB Jamerson Love.
*In their final four games the Bulldog defense forced 14 turnovers; in the first eight games they forced ten total.
*By contrast, State lost five fumbles all season, lowest in the SEC.
*This team remains on pace to reset the season offensive-yardage average record, with 426.2 through the dozen regular-schedule games. They need to stay on that average though to beat the standard of 422.0 yards set in 1982, in a 11-game season.
*State has 5,114 yards through a dozen games, 103 behind the 2010 team's season record in 13 games.
*The Bulldogs have a long shot at catching the 2010 team's record of 48 touchdowns. This team has 42.
*But this team scored more rushing touchdowns than the '12 team did by a 26 to 18 margin. One of those TDs belongs to an offensive tackle, as RT Charles Siddoway recovered his quarterback's fumble in the end zone to score against Alabama. Jackson (Auburn, 2010) also has a touchdown as a Bulldog blocker.
*This is the only SEC kicking squad under 50% in field goals, 9-of-20.
*A MSU-Mullen streak is in danger, as in each of the previous four seasons State has returned some sort of kicking play for a touchdown. They were on kickoffs in 2009, '10, and '12; and twice on punts in 2011.
*State has drawn just 18 penalties in the final five games of the '13 slate.
*The MSU offense is tied for 5th nationally in number of receivers, with 18 Dogs having caught a pass this season.
*Injuries to upperclassmen have accelerated the ‘takeover' of this '13 team by underclassmen. For the Liberty Bowl only four seniors are listed as starters on offense or defense with just one more senior listed as a second-teamer.
Player Notes: Five Bulldogs now hold college degrees. P Baker Swedenburg, OT Blaine Clausell, and Whitley all earned degrees prior to the season. This month they were joined by newest graduates Russell and Skinner.
*Whitley's surgery means he cannot try to tie or surpass the career interceptions record. He ended with 15 picks, one shy of the mark set by Walt Harris in 1992-95 and tied by John Banks 2009-12.
*Nor will Russell, who missed the Egg Bowl with his twice-separated shoulder, extend his own career records. Russell leaves with the most touchdown passes ever by a Bulldog, 42. He is second in career completion rate at 58.7%, just behind former Mullen quarterback Tyson Lee's 58.8%. Russell will stand third in both career yardage (5,441) and completions (410), and first in efficiency. His 45 touchdowns responsible-for are third behind only Don Smith (52, 1983-86) and Dixon (46).
*Swedenburg goes into his finale 9th in career punts and 5th-best in yardage, 41.65pg.
*Perkins was unable to repeat as a 1,000-yard rusher this season, after becoming the ninth Bulldog to break the barrier as a '12 junior. Still the senior stands 6th in career rushing at 2,507 yards, just 51 out of the top-five.
*And with his receiving and returning, Perkins is second in all-time all-purpose yards at 4,196. Dixon holds the record at 4,443.
*Skinner goes into his last game with 199 career tackles.
*QB Dak Prescott wrote a page in Egg Bowl annals with his dramatic return from a left shoulder nerve injury, directing the tying fourth-quarter drive and scoring the winning touchdown in overtime. He had missed the previous two games and three quarters.
*But his stint wasn't only enough to beat the Rebels, but set a season record. His 751 rushing yards as a sophomore are the most ever by a true quarterback at State. He surpassed Don Smith's 740 yards in 1986 (11 games).
*Prescott's three-yard touchdown dash in overtime gave him 20 touchdowns for the season; eleven rushing, seven passing, and two receiving.
*Now for his two varsity seasons Prescott has produced 27 touchdowns, over half-way to Smith's career record of 52.
*Though he's not played a full season, Prescott's 139 completions are only four shy of a top-ten year!
*Off the bench, Prescott threw just one pass, incomplete, in the Gator Bowl; and rushed twice for 20 yards.
*Including catches for scores, Prescott has produced those 27 TDs on 422 runs, throws, or receptions. That comes out to one score every 15.6 plays.
*This season Prescott improved his yard-per-completion from 10.8 as a freshman to 11.9.
*QB Damian Williams became the first Bulldog quarterback known to make his first college start in an Egg Bowl.
*But the most ‘efficient' Bulldog in touchdown terms is WR Jameon Lewis. He has rushed for three scores this season, caught five touchdown passes and thrown three. That comes out to a scoring play every 6.5 times Lewis handles the ball on an offensive play.
*All three times he threw a pass this season, they went for touchdowns; twice to Prescott and once to WR Joe Morrow.
*Lewis and Prescott made SEC history as they both ran, caught, and threw a touchdown, against Troy. It was the first time in conference records a team had two players score the touchdown trifecta in the same game. The last time one Dog did so was in 1978, James Jones against Florida State.
*Lewis is the only Dog with a reception in every game this season.
*Lewis ended his junior season on a tear with six catches against both Arkansas (94 yards 1 TD) and Ole Miss (68 yards). His 55 catches this year is the seventh-best season by a Bulldog. And he needs 76 yards for a top-ten season.
*He has the second-most catches by a Bulldog in Mullen's tenure, needing three to tie Chad Bumphis' 58 grabs last fall.
*31 of his catches produced first downs.
*With Lewis unable to make anything happen in the punt return game, WR Brandon Holloway was given a chance in the Egg Bowl. His one return went for 23 yards, the longest by a Dog this season.
*RB Josh Robinson has scored State's only regulation-time rushing touchdown in the last three games, with his one-yard dive in the Egg Bowl.
*In the last two games Robinson averaged 5.8 yards per rush.
*TE Malcolm Johnson has caught a dozen balls in the last two games, for 172 yards.
*After two one-catch games, WR De'Runnya Wilson returned to prominence with a four-catch, 45-yard output against Ole Miss. That included the clutch grab to set up the tying field goal in regulation.
*The true freshman has 23 catches for 314 yards. His 13.7 average gain is best of all the starting receivers, split or tight.
*A 70-tackle season might seem disappointing for MLB Benardrick McKinney, after he tallied 102 as a freshman in 2012. But he still leads this team with a nine-stop lead on OLB Skinner.
*McKinney and rotation OLB Beniquez Brown are the only Dog defenders with two fumbles recovered.
*With Whitley (5 interceptions) done, cornerbacks Calhoun and Love are the active leaders on the season with three picks apiece. All but one of those six combined interceptions came in November; Love had a 70-yard pick-six in the September Troy game.
*Calhoun had a career-best nine tackles in the Egg Bowl.
*DT Chris Jones took over the team sacks lead at 3.0, bagging the Rebel passer in the Egg Bowl. That also gave the true freshman first place in tackles-for-losses at 7.0.
*Jones also now leads in quarterback hurries with 10, ahead of DE Preston Smith at 8.
*He might have missed a 39-yarder that would have ended the game. But the made 36-yard field goal by PK Evan Sobiesk in the fourth quarter did tie the game up and allow an even more dramatic overtime ending. Sobiesk is now 3-of-6 on field goals, and kicked both PATs in the Egg Bowl.
*KO Devon Bell has 23 touchbacks in 59 kickoffs this season, and only one out-of-bounds kick.
*Bell is averaging 41.7 yards on punts with the year's longest effort, a 62-yarder.
*But both Bell and Swedenburg have had kicks blocked, for a safety (Bell) and touchdown (Swedenburg). Bell also fumbled a snap in the end zone for a safety.
*In five seasons, Mullen defenses have scored 11 touchdowns on either interceptions or fumble returns; and three safeties.
*Special teams have blocked one field goal (Whitley) and one punt (DT Nelson Adams) this season.
*Nine true freshmen played this season: CB Kivon Coman, OG Jamaal Clayborn, CB Tolando Cleveland, DT Chris Jones, WR Fred Ross, TE Artimas Samuel, RB Ashton Shumpert, QB Damian Williams, and WR De'Runnya Wilson.
*True freshmen who did not play are: WR Shelby Christy, OL Kent Flowers, WR B.J. Hammond, LB Dezmond Harris, DB Gabe Myles, OL Jake Thomas, DB Brandon Wells.
*Only two scholarship recruits of 2012 have yet to play in a game; TE Gus Walley (inj), and DT Jordan Washington.