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Mississippi State Football Players Tour Navy Ships Ahead Of Jacksonville TaxSlayer Bowl

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Lindsey Kilbride
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WJCT News
Mississippi State players get a catered barbecue lunch before touring ships at the Mayport Naval Base.

Visiting college football players are touring Navy ships in Jacksonville this week. The tours are one of the perks of playing in this weekend’s TaxSlayer Bowl at Everbank Field.

On Wednesday, TaxSlayer Events Manager Alex McGarity was at Mayport Naval base welcoming four busloads of Mississippi State football players.

“This is our third year coming out to Mayport,” he said. “It’s a great partnership we have with them, and hopefully we can continue this.”

This year the players toured the USS Iwo Jima and USS Farragut.

McGarity said part of the tradition is feeding the teams lunch on their days in Jacksonville. Bonos Barbecue was on Wednesday’s menu. Freshman Mississippi State linebacker Willie Gay said he was looking forward to the afternoon aboard the ships.

“I’m excited you know, just ready to see something new, something you don’t see every day in Starkville, Mississippi,” Gay said.

Related: Jacksonville TaxSlayer Bowl Donates Thousands Of Tickets To Military Members

The military theme will extend to game day. Service members and their families were offered 5,000 free tickets to the bowl game.

Thursday, Mississippi State’s opponent, the Louisville Cardinals, will get the same tour before the teams face off at noon on Saturday.

Reporter Lindsey Kilbride can be reached at lkilbride@wjct.org, 904-358-6359 or on Twitter at @lindskilbride.