Mississippi State does not have a large amount of bowl game history, but if you put the Bulldogs' bowl games on a timeline, they would stretch back to 1936. For a team that has turned in some disappointing seasons, they have done well in bowl games going 9-6. The Maroon and White currently features a five bowl game winning streak dating back to the 1999 Peach Bowl, but before that game, their last bowl victory took place in the Hall of Fame Bowl over Kansas, 10-0.
For all of the younguns reading this, going to a bowl game actually meant something at one time. You had to have a winning record. Good teams did not get invited to one every year. In 1981, the Bulldogs put together a great season.
In an out of conference schedule that most would not believe, the Bulldogs dropped Memphis, Colorado State, and Miami (shockingly in Starkville). Without a doubt, this helped them secure a bowl bid, and that bid was the Hall of Fame Bowl in Birmingham.
The game tried to take an ACC or SEC school and pit them against a team from another region, hence the Jayhawks making the trip to Birmingham. On the New Years' Eve game, Mississippi State jumped on the Jayhawks early when Kansas fumbled on the opening kick off and All-SEC safety Rob Fesmire recovered the ball.
John Bond then scored on a 17-yard touchdown run.
Fesmire later picked off a pass on the Bulldog's 26 to stop another drive, and Kenneth Johnson picked off a pass at the MSU three.
Johnnie Cooks was named the outstanding defensive player, and Bond won offensive MVP honors.
Dana Moore also booted a 74-yard punt.
For those wondering, the Hall of Fame Bowl later became the Outback Bowl, the bowl that snubbed the Bulldogs about twenty years later.