MSU secures 7th-straight bowl bid

Mississippi State football is going bowling for a school-record seventh straight year.

The Bulldogs officially accepted an invitation Sunday to play Miami (Ohio) in the St. Petersburg Bowl on Monday, Dec. 26 at 11 a.m. ET/10 a.m. CT live on ESPN from Tropicana Field.

"On behalf of everyone at Mississippi State, we are excited to accept a bowl invitation for a school-record seventh straight year," MSU Director of Athletics John Cohen said. "St. Petersburg is an excellent destination, and our fans have shown over the years how well they travel to support the Bulldogs. We look forward to the experience of playing a bowl game in the state of Florida for the third time in five seasons. Congratulations to head coach Dan Mullen and his staff on earning a bid to the St. Petersburg Bowl."

After a dominating 55-20 Egg Bowl victory to close the regular season, MSU pushed its overall record to 5-7 and secured a tie for fifth place in the Southeastern Conference Western Division. In addition, the Bulldogs qualified for a bowl with their outstanding NCAA Academic Progress Rate (APR). MSU's APR of 971 is 12 points better than the national average and second-best among the 12 teams who finished 5-7.

"We are thrilled to reach a bowl game for a school-record seventh straight year and finish the season in St. Petersburg," MSU head coach Dan Mullen said. "This is a great opportunity for one of the winningest senior classes in school history and for our program to build momentum for 2017. It also speaks volumes of our student-athletes for their commitment in the classroom to qualify for a bowl based on our successful APR."

Tickets to the St. Petersburg Bowl are on sale now at Tickets start at $60. Cowbells will be permitted in Tropicana Field.

"We are happy to be in position to reward both schools with a trip to a bowl game in our beautiful resort city of St. Petersburg," said Brett Dulaney, Executive Director of the St. Petersburg Bowl. "I'm sure that the players and fans from both programs will enjoy spending the holidays in our vibrant downtown and also our beautiful top-rated beaches."

Miami (Ohio) finished 6-6 overall and second in the Mid-American Conference Eastern Division. The RedHawks reeled off six straight victories after starting the season 0-6. They feature the top defense in the Mid-American Conference, allowing 361.4 yards and 23.4 points per game.

MSU is making its 20th all-time bowl appearance and is one of only five SEC schools to go to a bowl in every season this decade. It will be Mullen's seventh bowl appearance, representing the most by a coach in Bulldog history.

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