NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WLBT) - The adventures at quarterback for Mississippi State this season took another abrupt turn. Just a week after Joe Moorhead announced that freshman Garrett Shrader had earned the start against Louisville in the Music City Bowl, the MSU coach was forced to call an audible and turn things over to senior Tommy Stevens.
According to sources, Shrader will miss the December 30 bowl game after injuring an orbital bone following an altercation with a defensive teammate following the Bulldogs’ practice in Nashville on Thursday.
This incident comes after it appeared to be the first time in a while that Mississippi State was going to enter a game with a fully healthy quarterback room. A graduate-transfer from Penn State last offseason, Stevens was named the starting quarterback to open the 2019 season but an assortment of injuries paved the way for Shrader’s emergence.
In 10 appearances this season, including three starts, Shrader posted 1,170 passing yards with eight touchdowns and five interceptions, while also rushing for 587 yards and six touchdowns, including a pair in the Bulldogs 21-20 win over Ole Miss in the Egg Bowl.
Stevens will play in his 10th and final game for the Bulldogs on Monday. He has thrown for 9 touchdowns and 935 yards to this point. Another potential, but unlikely option, would be junior quarterback Keytaon Thompson, who started at quarterback and ran for three touchdowns against Lamar Jackson and Louisville in the 2017 TaxSlayer Bowl.
Thompson, who lost out to Stevens in the offseason quarterback battle, will likely transfer after this season. He did make an appearance in the Egg Bowl as a receiver and registered a catch.
Kick-off for the Music City Bowl is scheduled for 3 p.m. on Monday and will be televised on ESPN.