Bulldogs to play bowl game, ‘honor Coach Leach’

STARKVILLE, Miss.– Mississippi State will play in its Jan. 2 ReliaQuest Championship game versus Illinois, Bulldogs interim athletic director Bracky Brett informed ESPN on Tuesday.Mississippi State coach Mike Leach died Monday night after issues related to a heart disease. He was 61.”The players are 100%behind playing this championship game and doing what Coach Leach would expect them to do,”Brett stated.”All of us know that’s what Coach Leach would desire, and it’s what we must do.” Mississippi State players will go back to school Thursday and raise weights that day. The next

full bowl practice is Friday, Brett said.Defensive organizer Zach Arnett was put in charge of the program after Leach was required to the healthcare facility Sunday.

Arnett will coach the Bulldogs in the championship game.”Coach Arnett has actually made it clear that we’re going to complete what we started and honor Coach Leach,”Brett said.Brett took control of the interim advertisement tasks after John Cohen left to take the Auburn AD job on Oct. 31. The ReliaQuest Bowl is played in Tampa at Raymond James Arena, home to the NFL

‘s Buccaneers.”It’s only fitting that we play this game and honor Coach Leach in an arena that has a pirate ship,”Brett said.Leach, nicknamed the Pirate, was a huge fan of pirates and had a life-size statue of a talking pirate in his workplace.

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