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By William M. Larsha, Jr., Columnist/Sports Reporter

The Mid-South Tribune and the Black Information Highway


MEMPHIS, TN, Dec. 31, 2013- The 55th annual AutoZone Liberty Bowl was played in Memphis, TN on New tears Eve between the Mississippi State Bulldogs and the Rice Owls. The Bulldogs prevailed with a 44-7 blowout of the Owls. 


The game began under sunny skies and a 45 degree temperature. The crowd of 57,846 was decidedly Mississippi State as the school is less than a 3 hour drive from Memphis and has thousands of alumni here.


Rice began the day's scoring on a 1 yard touchdown run from their leading rusher, Charles Ross. Burt as the sun began setting and the temperatures dropped, the Bulldogs made it colder on the Owls. Mississippi State quarterback Dak Prescott went wild. He threw 3 touchdown passes and rushed for two more as he set the Liberty Bowl record with 5 touchdowns.


He was not the only Bulldog to go in the record books. Receiver Jameon Lewis had 220 receiving yards on nine catches breaking the Liberty Bowl receiving record of 201 yards. Mississippi State Head Coach Dan Mullen said of Lewis, "When he has the ball in his hands, he's special." So special in fact that Rice had no answer for him. Rice head coach David Bailiff said, ‘‘We knew coming into this game we were going to have to play our best to win it,'' we didn't.''


The score is also in the record books. It was the largest margin of victory in the game's 55 year history. The win gave Mississippi State its 4th consecutive winning season. Dak Prescott was named the game's Most Valuable Player.