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Mississippi State's defense ready to rebound

STARKVILLE, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi State's veteran defense is one of the biggest reasons the program has emerged as a consistent competitor in the Southeastern Conference over the past three seasons.

But it's also been a big contributor to the Bulldogs' disappointing finish to this regular season — which included losses in four of five games.

Senior linebacker Cameron Lawrence says he's glad Mississippi State (8-4) has one more chance to leave a good impression when it plays No. 21 Northwestern (9-3) in the Gator Bowl on Jan. 1.

It will be the last game for Lawrence, Thorpe Award-winning cornerback Johnthan Banks, safety Corey Broomfield and defensive tackle Josh Boyd. The quartet has helped the Bulldogs to three consecutive bowl games.

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