This game was notable in that it was the first time Texas had reached the post-season since the 1996 season. It was the first bowl game for Texas under new head coach Mack Brown, who would go on to transform Texas back into a college football powerhouse. Texas had compiled an 8-3 season record.
Meanwhile, Mississippi State had compiled an 8-3 regular season record under head coach Jackie Sherrill. They won the SEC West division title before falling to Tennessee 24-14 in the SEC Championship game. The loss knocked them to 8-4 coming into the bowl game.
Behind the rushing of Ricky Williams, who was declared the Heisman Trophy and Doak Walker award winner a few days before, Texas raced to a 14-3 lead by halftime. They would score 24 unanswered points in the 3rd quarter to rise to a 38-11 victory.