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Mississippi State Bulldogs arrive in Jax

Hold first practice for upcoming TaxSlayer Bowl

Mississippi State quarterback Keytaon Thompson
Mississippi State quarterback Keytaon Thompson (Kelly Price, MSU Athletic Communications)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – For the fourth time in six years, Mississippi State football arrived in Florida in preparation for a bowl game.

The Bulldogs flew to Jacksonville Christmas night, then went through their first TaxSlayer Bowl game practice at the University of North Florida Tuesday afternoon. 

MSU (8-4), under the direction of interim head coach Greg Knox, practiced for just under two hours in its first workout since Thursday.

The Bulldogs’ travel party took a charter flight to Jacksonville International Airport and a bus to the Sawgrass Marriott before going through position meetings. 

Senior linebacker Dez Harris, who missed the final two regular-season games due to a thigh injury, returned to practice for the first time. 

Keytaon Thompson has taken all of the reps in practice and will be just the third true freshman quarterback to start in a bowl game for MSU. 

Starter Nick Fitzgerald, who broke his ankle during the Egg Bowl, made the trip to Jacksonville, as did senior wide receiver Donald Gray, who is recovering from sports hernia surgery. Both were at practice and provided leadership from the sideline. 

The Bulldogs will practice again Wednesday and spend the afternoon at Jacksonville’s Naval Station Mayport. MSU clashes with Louisville at 11 a.m. Saturday in the TaxSlayer Bowl at EverBank Field.