It was a special day for Mississippi State on Monday as they took the field in the ReliaQuest Bowl without head coach Mike Leach, who passed away last month. The team decided to play the game to honor him and they certainly did that in many ways, including a wild final play that ruined the day of many gamblers.
On the final play of the game, Illinois trailed the Bulldogs, 13-10. Out of options, they did what so many teams have been doing in this situation. They just started lateraling until they couldn’t anymore. However, for the second time in recent weeks, we saw this go horribly wrong as the opposing team recovered the ball and returned it for a touchdown.
Mississippi State steals a touchdown with no time left and covers (-3.5). A brutal bad beat! pic.twitter.com/r8ChV0O7X4
— The Comeback (@thecomeback) January 2, 2023
While MSU’s touchdown didn’t change the outcome of the game, the 19-10 score certainly changed the outcome for many bettors. The line was in favor of Illinois at 3.5 or 4, depending on the sportsbook. That means that had Illinois simply gotten tackled, those bettors would have won. But because they gave away the meaningless touchdown with no time left on the clock, they lost.
Adding insult to injury, Illinois bettors just thought they’d survived because the Bulldogs kicked a field goal instead of scoring a touchdown on the previous play, which kept them under the spread.
A great season and a great ReliaQuest Bowl ends with disappointment for Illinois. The long run on third down leads to the game-winning field goal for Mississippi State, who gets a scoop-and-score on the last play to win 19-10. Illinois finishes the season with an 8-5 record.
— Larry Hawley (@HawleySports) January 2, 2023
That’s a brutal bad beat.
“Hitting a backdoor cover at the buzzer for Leach,” wrote Brian Floyd.
hitting a backdoor cover at the buzzer for leach https://t.co/tSBd2x64T6
— Brian Floyd (@BrianMFloyd) January 2, 2023
“Swing Your Sword … if you needed this to get the Miss. State win against the number. Wow,” added The Athletic’s Bruce Feldman.
Swing Your Sword … if you needed this to get the Miss. State win against the number. Wow. https://t.co/GZoAP6sxaO
— Bruce Feldman (@BruceFeldmanCFB) January 2, 2023