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(UPDATED) - Mississippi State headed to 2011 Music City Bowl to play Wake Forest


Matt Stevens


STARKVILLE - Mississippi State University has accepted a bid to play in the 2011 Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl in Nashville for the first time in school history.  


The Bulldogs (6-6) will play Wake Forest University on Dec. 30 at 5:40 p.m. (ESPN) at LP Field, the home of the Tennessee Titans of the National Football League. The on-air talent for the game will be Mark Jones (play-by-play), Ed Cunningham (analyst), and Jeannine Edwards (sideline). 


Sunday's announcement marks the first time since 2000 that MSU has qualified for back-to-back bowl games. That year marked the completion of three straight bowl bids by then-head coach Jackie Sherrill from 1998-2000. 


"We're happy to accept this invitation and for the opportunity to play in such a great bowl and wonderful city," Stricklin said in a university release. "I'm proud of our players and coaches for their efforts throughout the season, and we're all looking forward to seeing the huge crowd of Bulldog fans in Nashville." 


Wake Forest is led by the pass-catching combination of sophomore quarterback Tanner Price (2,803 yards, 20 TDs, 6 INTs) and junior wide receiver Chris Givens (1,276 yards, 9 TDs). The Demon Deacons (6-6), led by veteran head coach Jim Grobe, lost five of its last seven games of the 2011 season and are recently coming off a 41-7 home loss to Vanderbilt to end the campaign. 


MSU head coach Dan Mullen has never coached against Wake Forest as an offensive coordinator under Under Meyer at Bowling Green, Utah and Florida or in his three seasons at Mississippi State. 


MSU (6-6) lost five of its six games to teams ranked in the current Associated Press Top 25 poll (LSU, Alabama, Arkansas, South Carolina and Georgia) but managed to get bowl eligible with its 31-3 victory on Nov. 26 against the University of Mississippi in the 2011 Egg Bowl matchup. 


"This is a great accomplishment for our players and coaches who worked hard all season long," MSU coach Dan Mullen said in the release. "We're excited to make the trip to Nashville and play in a great bowl game. This game is a reward for our players and fans and - as we've said all season - the practices and preparation will be important for the development of the future of our program." 


Sunday's announcement marks the first ever matchup between the two schools. It is also the first time the two schools will be playing in the Music City Bowl. 


The Bulldogs have won its last four bowl games and have gone 1-1 in school history in the Volunteer state during postseason play (10-3 win over Central Florida in 2007 Liberty Bowl and 38-15 loss to Air Force in 1991 Liberty Bowl). 


MSU officials have confirmed cowbells will be allowed in LP Field facility but are asking fans to use same policy in place that exists for Southeastern Conference games at Davis Wade Stadium in Starkville.  


Student tickets will be available Wednesday night in a lottery at the Humphrey Coliseum. Gates are expected to be open at 6:30 p.m. with the lottery beginning at 7:30 p.m. 


MSU's on-the-field bowl practices will begin Friday on campus and will be open to the public 




All of the Dispatch MSU Sports Blog readers: feel free to follow me on Twitter at http://twitter.com/matthewcstevens for up-to-date Mississippi State coverage.



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