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Written by Brett Holloway | 11 December 2010

relfWell guys, I've been meaning to post this sooner, but with all the talk surrounding Dan Mullen over the past week, I'm just now getting to it. Dan Mullen's second season as the Bulldogs' Head Coach, has turned out to be quite special for the Maroon Nation. Mullen brought in the most regular season wins (8) and the longest winning streak since 1999 (6). Mullen and the Dawgs' work is far from finished though, considering that MSU's 2010 performance earned State a trip to the Gator Bowl vs Michigan. That game, which is scheduled for January 1st, marks the Dawgs' first Bowl bid since the 2007 season, and only the second in a decade. With that said, let's take a look back at MSU's 8-4 regular season finish. I've compiled some game stats and details for each of the 12 match ups.

Game 1-
  MSU 49  Memphis 7
At the Half:  21-0  State
Total yds: MSU (569)  Memphis (237)
Russell- 256 yds, 4 TDs
Relf- 116 yds passing, 1 TD
Heavens- 5 catches, 120 yds, 2 TDs
Bumphis- 4 catches, 100, 2 TDs
Ballard- 60 yds, 2 TDs
Perkins- 57 yds
Langston- 2 INTs
State fell 20 yards short of breaking the school record for total yds, and Russell tied a school record with his 4 TD passes. State's rushing attack finished just 3 yds shy of 200 yds rushing. State was clicking on every cylinder, and the D didn't allow Memphis to score until the 4th Qtr.
MSU (1-0)

Game 2-  #21 Auburn  17  MSU  14
At the Half: 17-7 Tigers
Total yds: AU (348) MSU  (246)
Relf- 110 yds, 26 yds rushing
Bumphis- 3 carries for 27 yds
Ballard- 1 Rushing TD
Whitley- INT
State shutout Auburn in the 2nd Half, and held Cam newton to just 136 yds passing and only 70 yds on the ground. That performance by the D, has been the best against Auburn this season, by any team. A pick 6 opportunity was missed in the 4th Qtr, and State dropped 2 passes that would have at least sealed a FG try in the closing seconds.
MSU (1-1)

Game 3-  #15 LSU  29  MSU 7
At the Half:  12-0 Tigers
Total yds: MSU (268) LSU (264)
Russell- 81 yds, 3 INTs
Relf- 35 yds passing, 46 rushing, 2 INTs
Elliot- 39 yds
Ballard- 1 TD, 28 yds
Clark- 3 catches 48 yds
On one of MSU's worst Saturday's of the season. State threw 5 INTs that awarded LSU with short field position the entire night. The Dawg D who was continually placed in bad situations, held the Tiger to 5 FGs (Jasper). Jordan Jefferson led the Tigers to 2 TDs in the 3rd Qtr, and LSU had the seperation they needed. State had now lost 2 in a row.
MSU (1-2)

Game 4- MSU  24  UGA  12
At the Half:  7-6  MSU
Total yds: UGA (387) MSU (314)
Relf- 135 yds passing, 97 rushing, 2 TDs
Ballard- 14 carries, 77 yds, 2 TDs
Bumphis- 4 catches, 64 yds
Clark- 2 catches, 47 yds, 1 TD
After a slow start, MSU would close out the game with a 17 point 4th Qtr. Relf's 33 yd pass to Arceto Clark put the Dawgs out front for good. Ballard established himself as MSU's main RB, Relf found confidence in his passing abilities, and the Dawg D was stout. Nickoe Whitley had the play of the game, forcing a UGA fumble on the goal line, in the 1st half. The win over UGA paved the way for an unbelievable run for State, that had just started. In my opinion, the UGA game was the game in which Relf took the starting job for the rest of the season. State fans were scratching their heads for the last 2 games, but left this one feeling a lot better.
MSU (2-2)

Game 5- MSU 49  Alcorn State  16
At the Half: 35-16 MSU
Total yds: MSU (566) Alcorn (330)
Relf- 209, 2 TDs
Ballard- 8 carries, 119 yds, 3 TDs
Perkins- 48 yds, 1 TD
Bumphis- 4 carries, 38 yds; 9 catches, 133 yds, 2 TDs
Berry- 3 cacthes, 97 yds; 97 yd KR for TD
State struggled early on with Alcorn, allowing their scrambling QB to post a 78 yd TD run, and a late score before half. Using this game as a chance to work on Relf's passing game and the Rabid Dawg formation, the Offense had it's moments of boring those in attendence, despite racking up 560+ yds. Relf got his work in, completing 11/15 passes. Perkins was given decent playing time in the second half, showcasing his speed on a 30 yd burst to set up a late score. Berry's KR for a TD, is still the only life that State would show on Special Teams-for the rest of 2010. State's win over the Braves made it 2 in a row for the Dawgs.
MSU (3-2)

Game 6- MSU 47  Houston  24
At the Half: 33-10 MSU
Total yds: MSU (538) UH  (403)
Relf- 57 yds passing; 96 yds rushing, 1 TD
Russell- 72 yds, 40 yds rushing
Ballard- 134 yds, 3 TDs
Perkins- 78 yds, 1 TD
Bumphis- 7 catches. 79 yds
Broomfield- 2 INTs (1 TD)
One game team that kept MSU out of Bowl contention in the 2009 season, was the Houston game. This time around, State posted over 400 yds rushing in the contest, and contained the Cougars' explosive attack. The Dawgs imposed their will, to the tune of 7.2 yds per rush, while holding UH's RB Beal to just 17 yds. Beal came into the game as one of the top rushers in the nation. Sadly, WR Leon Berry disclocated his ankle on a KR, which knocked Berry out for the remainder of the 2010 regular season. Relf was injured on a drive in the 2nd half, but appeared to be fine just a few plays later. Russell finished the game, leading a balanced Dawg attack for the remainder of the night. State added 14 points with Russell finishing the 2nd half. State had now won 3 in a row.
MSU (4-2)

Game 7-  MSU 10  #22 UF 7
At the Half: 10-0 MSU
Total yds: UF (361) MSU (241)
Relf- 4/9 33 yds, 82 yds rushing, 1 TD
Ballard- 98 yds
Bumphis- 3 rushes 21 yds, 1 catch 30 yds
Banks- 1 INT
Brauchle- 31 yd FG
Johnthan Banks' early INT led to MSU's first and only TD of the night. The rest of game, would unfold as an intense defensive struggle, and missed opportunities for both sidelines. With Brantley struggling to give the Gators any rhythym on Offense, Meyer turned to TE/QB Trey Burton to spark the unit, and he did just that. But, a late 3rd Qtr TD would be all that MSU would allow. UF was driving with 8 minutes left, but MSU's DT Fletcher Cox stripped the ball from Gator RB Jeff Demps , and stalled a promising drive for UF. After holding the ball for 5 + minutes, State would have to hold off a Gator 2 minute drill, that resulted in a missed FG in the closing seconds. When the night had ended, State had ran for 200+ yds. MSU was now winners of 4 straight.
MSU (5-2)

Game 8-  #24 MSU 29  UAB  24
At the Half: 10-10
Total yds: MSU (378) UAB (354)
Relf- 107 yds passing, 1 TD; 51 yds rushing
Perkins- 18 carries, 131 yds, 2 TDs
Bumphis- 4 carries, 30 yds
Heavens- 2 catches, 44 yds
DePasquale- 5/5 FGs
After defeating UF, State returned home with their first national ranking since 2001. Now sporting #24 beside their name and a 4 game winning streak, Dan Mullen warned the players and coaches of a possible letdown. It almost happened. Had it not been for some timely turnovers forced by the Dawg D, and some clutch kicking by DePasquale, the Dawgs might have been embarassed on Homecoming. Manny Diaz's D which had bought into the bend but don't break mentality, bent more than they had all year in a Bulldog victory. State posted 271 yds rushing, but only 107 through the air. Perkins showed out in Ballard's absence (injury), claiming the #2 RB spot with his 131 yd performance. Winning their 5th straight, MSU had their longest winning streak since 1999.
MSU (6-2)

Game 9-  #21 MSU  24  UK 17
At the Half: 17-10 MSU
Total yds: UK (347) MSU  (325)
Relf- 111 yds passing, 1 TD; 79 yds rushing, 1 TD
Ballard- 14 carries, 103 yds, 1 TD
Bumphis- 2 catches, 41 yds
Heavens- 1 catch, 33 yds
Clark- 2 catches, for 27 yds, 1 TD
Banks, White, Whitley- INT
Another 200 yd night for the MSU running attack was needed, because State could not control Randall Cobb when UK had the football. State stormed out to a 17-7 lead, but became somewhat complacent with the early gap. A rushing TD by Relf with 10 minutes left, and a last minute INT by Johnthan Banks, sealed up State's 7th win of the season, and 6th in a row.
MSU (7-2)

Game 10-  #12 Bama 30   #19 MSU  10
At the Half: 20-3 Bama
Total yds: Bama (452) MSU (299)
Relf- 70 yds passing, 1 INT
Russell- 80 yds, 1 TD, 1 INT
Ballard- 80 yds rushing
Perkins- 44 yds rushing
Clark- 2 catches for 44 yds
Bumphis- 3 for 43 yds, 1 TD
DePasquale- 1/1 FG
Even though they were coming off a bye-week, State was only 7 days removed from teammate Nick Bell's funeral service. An unfocused team traveled to Tuscaloosa, and fell victim to 3 huge plays. A Defense that was not used to surrendering BIG gainers, and that prided themselves on keeping the ball in front of them, had a wake up call. Bama posted scoring plays of 45, 78, and 56 yards. Ballard ran the ball hard, but the lone highlight of the night was a 27 yd TD pass from Russell to Bumphis. This game was one to forget, and State's 6 game winning streak was over.
MSU (7-3)

Game 11-  #13 Arkansas 38  #21 MSU  31 (2-OT)
At the Half: 21-17 MSU
Total yds: Ark (488) MSU (486)
Relf- 20/30 for 224 yds; 103 yds rushing, 1 TD
Ballard- 33 carries, 150 yds, 3 TDs
Smith- 5 catches, 78 yds
Bumphis- 5 catches, 45 yds
Clark- 3 catches, 29 yds
State was down 10 with 10 minutes to play, and would fight back to tie the game at 31. With every bit of the momentum at the end of regulation, State would carry it with them into Overtime play. In the first OT, Vick Ballard managed to keep his balance on the sideline before diving and stretching for the pylon on an excellent run. Little did Ballard or anyone else know, that extra effort would actually cost him and his team. On Ballard's run, the ball was knocked out of his hands, and over the pylon for a touch back. The game would go into Double OT, and State's offense would once again miss opportunities that were there for them to win the game. The same D that struggled vs Bama, would struggle once again. Big plays from the Hogs, resulted in scores of 62, 25, and 89 yds. Relf seemed to finally find his strengths in the passing game, a new target emerged in WR Chris Smith, and State displayed the fact that even in a loss, they were on the rise. State had now lost 2 in a row, for the first time since Week 2 and 3. 
MSU (7-4)

Game 12-  #25 MSU  31  Ole Miss 23
At the Half: 21-9 MSU
Total yds: MSU (498)  OM (326)
Relf: 13/20, 288 passing yds, 3 TDs; 66 rushing yds
Perkins: 98 yds rushing, 140 receiving, 2 TDs
Ballard: 43 yds rushing,  22 receiving 1 TD
Bumphis: 44 yds receiving
Smith: 41 yds, 1 TD
Broomfield: INT
After losing 2 in a row, MSU bounced back with a strong showing vs their arch rival TSUN. The Bulldogs fell behind 6-0 early, but quickly sprinted out to a 21-9 lead at the Half. Chris Relf had a 71 yd run to set up State's first score, but for the rest of the night he would attack the Rebel D with his arm. Relf hit Perkins throughout the night on some timely screen plays and wheel routes. Perkins finished with just 3 catches, but racked up 140 yds on the 3 grabs. The Reb D focused their attention on Ballard, who was playing with a minor injury. That opened the door for Perkins, who served as an excellent change of pace for MSU. The Bulldog D was as strong as they had been all season long, but they took their foot off the gas in the 4th Qtr, allowing 2 late scores for TSUN. State held one of the SEC's most productive offenses to just 326 yds, and the Reb rushing attack which was averaging 220+ yds a game, was held to just 65 yds. State's win in Oxford, kept the Egg in Starkville for the second straight year. The win also game State 8 wins for the regular season, the most since 1999. 
MSU (8-4)

AllthingsMaroon Season Picks

-Turning Point of the Season:
Win over UGA
-Offensive MVP: QB Chris Relf- 1,508 yds passing, 10 TDs, 5 INTs, 683 yds rushing, 4 TDs.
-Defensive MVP:
LB Chris White- 105 tkls, 6 Sacks, 2 INTs.
-Honorable Mention: RB Vick Ballard- 166 carries, 892 yds, 5.4 ypc, 16 TDs

After taking a look back, which game do you feel was the turning point for MSU in 2010? Why?

What was your favorite play, game, or stretch of the season?

Who were your picks this season for MVP's?


Other Questions
Is the Gus Malzahn the right coach for Vandy?

Is Muschampthe right fit at UF? Apparently he was the only candidate they spoke to and interviewed.

Final thoughts on Cam Newton's Heisman win? Anyone find it ironic that ESPN showed the 30 for 30 film on SMU's dirty program in the 80's, right after the Heisman Show?

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Written by Brett Holloway | 09 December 2010

MullenImmediately following Urban Meyer's resignation yesterday, Dan Mullen's name was thrown in the mix as Meyer's successor. After a quiet afternoon, Mullen broke his silence concerning all of the speculation, by stating that he is 'absolutely' committed to MSU and 'happy' in Starkville. Thursday, Mullen clarified his stance once gain, while answering questions at a Gator Bowl press conference. "I haven’t had contact with anybody. The only person I’ve talked to about a coaching position is sitting right here at the end of the table (MSU AD Scott Stricklin). I’m very happy at Mississippi State University. I have no plans on going anywhere.”  Mullen was named as one of Miami's top 2 candidates earlier in the week, and now with Meyer leaving UF, the MSU coach is becoming the center of the media's attention. Dan commented that the amount of attention that he is getting is both 'flattering'  and 'annoying'. “It’s kind of annoying because I have to answer a lot of questions that don’t pertain to our football team, and that’s really all I have time for to worry about is our football team. Speculation is something a lot of the media has to deal with on a daily basis but in the coaching profession we deal with reality. My reality is making sure our football team is ready to go play a great game on Jan. 1, that our football players get good grades and graduate, and we recruit and build for the future to continue our great success at Mississippi State."

You feelings about all this now?



Husdpeth Talking with Lafayette
In late November, the MSU WR coach was contacted by ULL, but turned down the opportunity to interview. This week, Lafayette knocked on his door once again, and this time Huds decided to hear them out. Hudspeth has already been granted permission from Dan Mullen to interview with the school, who could name their new head coach as early as this weekend. I myself would hate to lose Coach Huds, because it's rare to have a coach who is already a fan of the school he is coaching at. He is a Bulldog fan, getting to live out a dream. One things for sure, he could very well end up back in Starkville-one day down the road.

Thoughts?


Cam Newton Talks
Any Foul Play in his recruiting? "I had no dealings with nobody at Mississippi State during the time that I came to Auburn. But Mississippi State knows it was between Mississippi State and Auburn. And if you've been following this, there's no secret. But I felt that, as a whole, Auburn possessed what's best for Cam Newton, and that's why I decided to come here on my decision."

Concerning "the money was too much comment":  "I'm not here to talk about any reports. I called Coach Mullen. I told him what I had in my heart at the time. I talked to him and his wife, Miss Megan, and we had an excellent conversation. They wished me the best, and I wished them the best. I wouldn't have been able to go to sleep at night without me saying I called Coach Mullen, man-to-man, not hiding behind anything and being able to say I called him because of the respect I have for him."

Concerned about his father's actions?  "That's not something that I'm trying to get clarity of because I really don't care. At the end of the day I can look him in his eye and he can look me in my eye and I can know that he has my best interest [in mind]. I'm not sitting up here saying that we all are perfect. Everybody's made mistakes. I'm not sitting up here saying what he did or what he didn't do was wrong. Who am I up here to say that what he did is true or not."

Cam chose Auburn NOT his dad: "There are a lot of things we talked about; he was bringing up a lot of decisions, a lot of situations. But at the end of the day, I was still the one making the decision."


Anything stick out to you?
-"I had no dealings with nobody at Mississippi State during the time that I came to Auburn."  Notice that Newton said  'at the time I came to Auburn.'  That doesn't rule out improper actions before he signed with Auburn, which very well could make him ineligible.
-"I'm not here to talk about any reports."  In other words, I'm not answering that. Completely dodged the question. No denial.
-"That's not something that I'm trying to get clarity of because I really don't care."  Not concerned with illegal actions or misconduct of your father? Who is a preacher? That says a lot.
-"But at the end of the day, I was still the one making the decision."  We all know that is a LIE, because Cameron himself came out and admitted it, that his father made the final call. Thus the 'rented mule' comment, that came from Cecil's mouth.

Your thoughts? Did I miss something?
cam

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Written by Brett Holloway | 09 December 2010

DanAt the end of the 2009 season, Florida Gator coach Urban Meyer  sent a shockwave of worry through the Bulldog Nation by announcing his resignation. MSU's Dan Mullen  was only a season removed from Meyer and his former job in Gainesville, where he served as Meyer's Offensive Coordinator. A decade of friendship and discipling had molded Mullen into a first year coach in the SEC, and many thought Mullen was on his way back to the Swamp. Urban Meyer would go on to change his mind in just a span of 24 hours, and State fans could exhale. Fast forward to yesterday, and Deja Vu' once again brought a cloud of worry to Starkville. This time though, it was official. Meyer will hang up the Blue and Orange, after the Gators face off with Penn State in the Outback Bowl.

Just the rumors of Meyer calling it quits, stirred a sickening feeling in the stomachs of State fans. First, your mind can't help but imagine everything that Mullen has built over the past 2 seasons-somehow crumbling at the foundation. Second, you think of the extremes that you hope the AD and Administration would go through to keep the young coach in Starkville. Third, you have to resort to imagining his possible replacement.

Amidst the doom and gloom of yesterday, enters a ray of light. That ray of light is made up of MSU AD Scott Stricklin and some in the media who have their own sources and opinions. Here are some quotes that somewhat calmed the stomach rumblings for Bulldog fans yesterday.

AD Scott Stricklin:  "Every one calm down, take a deep breath and book hotel rooms in Jacksonville. Speculation of this nature is the price of success. We want to have the kind of success that people look at our sports and say, 'I'd like to have a coach like Mississippi State has or have a program that's run like Mississippi State. That's a by-product of success in this day and age. We're making sure he's a part of our program moving forward and it's something that's really important. We're going to do everything we can to make him feel good about that."

Bulldog Junction (BDJ):  "State fans rest easy tonight...take Scott Stricklin's advice and get ready for the Gator Bowl. You'll like how this story ends."

Gene Swindoll (MississippiStateScout.com):  "I keep reminding you of this and I'll do it again, this is not your granddad's or dad's MSU. The right people are in place to make MSU to be big time...I was just told this by a very good MSU source. And just as Steve Foley said in his post, Florida is very likely going in another direction with their head coaching hire. And, as of now, it appears Dan is not on Foley's short·list. So it appears we are fine at the moment."

Matthew Stevens (Starkville Daily News):  "A source close to the situation has told The SDN Bulldog Blog  that he received word from Mississippi State head coach Dan Mullen that he has no immediate plans to be the next head football at the University of Florida."

More than anything that the Athletic Director could say, or those who are close to MSU thanks to a media pass, it was Dan Mullen's words that meant the most on a crazy Wednesday. When asked about his interest in the UF job, Mullen simply stated that he was "absolutely " commited to MSU. Mullen added, "No one has contacted me. My wife and I are happy at Mississippi State."

Be it coach-talk or the dead honest truth, we'll have to wait and see. I just know that it's time for Bulldog fans, including myself, to change their mindset.

Outside of Mullen's comments, Gene Swindoll's really grabbed me. If Dan Mullen has done anything, he has changed the way the rest of College Football views Mississippi State. The toughness, confidence, physicality, energy, and talent that is emerging in Starkville is evident to the likes of Chris Fowler, Reece Davis, and Kirk Herbstreit. Davis Wade Stadium is becoming a VERY tough place to play, the facilities are up to date with some of the nation's best programs, and MSU is in the Top 25 for the first time in 9 years. It's time to stop viewing ourselves as destined to fail. Time to stop thinking of ourselves as inferior to anyone. And finally, it's time to stop worrying about losing our coach to his OLD team, that he defeated this season. Dan Mullen has dramatically transformed the Bulldogs' performance on the field, but are we ready to allow him to do the same to our mindsets as a fanbase?

So, with that said, I want you to imagine a kick sailing wide right, a scoreboard that reads MSU  10 UF  7, the Golden Egg trophy being carried around the edges of Vaugh-Hemingway Stadium, a New Year's Day Bowl that awaits us, and Dan Mullen on the MSU sideline when we tee it up against Memphis in 2011.

Mullen on Meyer:  "Urban has been a tremendous ambassador for college football and the sport will certainly miss him. He has been a great mentor and friend to me throughout my career and I hope he's able to enjoy time with his family."

Anyway, what were your thoughts on everything yesterday?

First impressions?

Your feelings now?

What mark did Urban Meyer leave on College Football?

Did I get you pumped up enough to run through a brick wall?


Other News (As if other news matters)


Chris Low looks at UF's coaching short list. Link


Cam Newton's  2010 season vs Tebow's  2007 Heisman season. Wow, haters might want to take a look. Link

Chris Low wraps up the 2010 season in the SEC. MSU's  his biggest surprise. Link

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Written by Brett Holloway | 06 December 2010

sherrodWell guys, as many of you know by now, MSU welcomed the Gator Bowl's executives to Starkville on Monday. Rick Catlett, who is the CEO of the Gator Bowl, was even awarded with his very own cowbell.Catlett had the following to say about a number of issues surrounding MSU's invite to Jacksonville: 

-On Strickland & MSU Fans:
  "I want you to know, your AD worked very hard to convince this board to make this selection. Your fans have proven they were the right fans to invite, they’ve sold all their tickets and asked for more! Scott worked very hard to educate our selection committee and people...I think Mississippi State conducted themselves very professionally and made sure we had all the facts to make the selection.”
-On State's Season and Bowl Ticket Sales:  "It’s not the largest stadium in the conference by any means (Davis Wade), but when the school you just invited calls for more tickets four, five hours into the process it shows the passion you have."
-Picking MSU over UT:  "It was a pretty easy selection at that point, a 8-4 team ranked 21st in the country. It’s sort of a rule, or feel, you don’t pass a team after the type of season Mississippi State had for a two-win-less team.” 
-On Cowbells:  "We’re going to let them to bring them to our game and they can ring them any time they want to!"

Catlett also told reporters that as of yesterday morning, there was only 428 tickets left. In order to put that figure in perspective, the Jaguars' stadium holds 77,000. MSUhas sold close to 16,000 tickets, while Wolverine fans have purchased around 12,500.  


White and Sherrod Named to All-SEC First Team
The Media has spoken, and the All-SEC Team has been named. MSU's MLB Chris White and LT Derek Sherrod were honored with First Team picks. RB Vick Ballard earned an Honorable Mention nod. Congrats to our Bulldogs! As for other honors...
-Off. Player of the Year: Cam Newton (Surprise, surprise)
-Def. Player of the Year: Nick Fairley (The next James Harrison, future NFL fines leader)
-SEC Freshman of the Year: Marcus Lattimore (Beast)
-Coach of the Year: Gene Chizik (Nazi)


Recruiting Update
Just wanted yall to keep an eye on the recruitment of QB Dak Prescott. Many of you may know that LSU is doing their best to pull the Haughton High (LA) standout away from MSU. Dak visited Baton Rouge this past weekend, but left with a 'Low Interest'  tag on his recruitment with the Tigers. Prescott will be in Starkville this weekend, for hopefully the visit that will seal his fate in Maroon and White. At this time, Prescott has given State a 'Soft Verbal'. He is the #66 QB in the country, a definite duel-threat, and is rated as a 3 Star. If Mullen would like to continue what he has done with Relf this season, after Russell is gone, then Prescott would be an excellent pick up. I talk at times with the LSU guy here at Bloguin, who is Kris on SaturdayNightSlant.com, and he actually gets to see Prescott play on Fridays. He continually reminds me that the kid is full of talent, and a perfect fit for Dan Mullen. Prescott holds offers from LSU, Grambling, La Tech, Memphis, and North Texas.

Last week, State did pick up their 23rd commitment of the 2011 recruiting class. Of course nothing is final until the players sign the dotted line, but Lloyd Allen became that 23rd player. Allen is a product of Gulf Coast Community College, and is rated as a 2 Star. The DE stands in at 6-4 240 lbs. Allen also has offers from UK, aTm, Troy, UH, Marshall, and UAB. Allen and Prescott are 2 of the pieces that could finalize MSU's spot in the Top 25 of National Recruiting. Dak_Prescott

SEC News
Here's the rest of the list of All-Conference performers. Link

Slive sticks by his ruling on Newton. Link

Urban Meyer votes Auburn #2 instead of #1...Some are saying sour grapes? Link

Remember how UT dropped UNC from their 2011 schedule? Can't run now, huh. Link

Chris Low's SEC Power Rankings. Link

LSU and Boise have conflicting rankings in the BCS...shhhhhh, don't tell anyone. Link

Every Bowl Game previewed here. Link

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Written by Brett Holloway | 05 December 2010

Gator_Bowl_LogoAfter a strong 8-4 season, Dan Mullen and the MSU Bulldogs are headed to the Gator Bowl, to face the Michigan Wolverines. The Gator Bowl is the 6th oldest Bowl, spanning some 65 years. Michigan, who hails from the·historic Big 10 conference, finished with a 7-5 mark. The Wolverines are led by Coach Rich Rodriguez and former Heisman hopeful QB Denard Robinson.

It seemed until Saturday afternoon, that the Chick-fil-a Bowl in Atlanta, was a done deal. But, once South Carolina had a weekend to win over the Bowl's board members during the SEC Championship's festivities, their own deal was in·place. I myself, thought that there was no way that USC had a chance to return to Atlanta after their WEAK performance on Saturday night. Not to mention, that you have to wonder how many Gamecock fans were willing to make the same trek, to the same venue, same hotels, and everything else, less than a month later. I was quite surprised, but Chick-fil-a and Carolina·got what they deserved. A deal like that, had to be in place before the SEC Championship game even kicked off, otherwise I·believe that USC officials would not have been able to·find a Bowl representative after the game (because they left·in the 3rd Qtr). They made their bed, and now they can lay in it.

Your thoughts, did·State get screwed?

Personally, I'll take it. Jacksonville BOUND!!!

While we are on a subject that is somewhat related to the SEC Championship, let's discuss·one more item. In order to do so, you will have to put aside all the dislike, hate, and whatever other bias that you·might bring to the argument. And in order to even approach it, I too have to throw so much baggage aside that it almost still hinders my opinion. So, with that said, here's my question to you...

Is Cam Newton the best college football player·ever?

Like I said, remove that cloud that is hovering over his head, and will continue to do so...remove Cecil Newton, Kenny Rodgers, and $180,000, and just examine his body of work. I've witnessed a single player make a team better, but never before have I seen a single player transform an entire team. Newton has single handedly taken Auburn from a 3rd place SEC West team, to a National Championship caliber team. This is going to be a whole load of I've Nevers but here we go. I've never seen a QB that is tougher to bring down, that can extend a play longer, who runs more effectively, who throws more·accurate than most truepocket passers in college football, and who can produce a touchdown on any given play. The kid is simply, unstoppable. He has talent around him, but nothing like Tebow had around him at UF, and that is the deciding factor for me. Not to mention that UF's Defense during that time was stellar, while Auburn's has its' weaknesses. The fact is, whether it's making a read in the option game, checking down·to a secondary receiver, or pulling the·ball down and running, Cam seems to always make the right choice on the·field. But, it's the decisions off the field-of those closest to him and quite possibly his own, that will forever raise questions about his eligibility.

Your thoughts?gatorbowl·

Btw, did I mention that USC was terrible on Saturday night?


Mullen Speaks
Before last week, MSU had no interest at all in the University of Miami. But during last week, State fans could not wait for the Canes to hire Randy Shannon's replacement. That has yet to happen, but it appears that Dan Mullen can be removed from the U's short list. Mullen was questioned on Sunday night about MSU's Gator Bowl invitation, and whether or not he had entertained offers from Miami or others. Mullen had this to say: "The only administrator I’ve talked to at any university about coaching football is Scott Stricklin. Right now we’re working on what we hope can be a deal that will suit everybody and get our program going in the right direction-the direction it’s going right now for us-in the long term. There are a lot of great things I think we can get done here at Mississippi State that I want to accomplish here at Mississippi State. I plan on being the head coach here for a long time."


SEC·in Bowl Games

Ohio State vs Arkansas (Sugar) Cam2
Penn State vs UF (Outback)
South Carolina vs FSU (Chick-fil-a)
UNC vs UT (Music City)
LSU vs aTm (Cotton)
UGA vs UCF (Liberty)
Bama vs·Michigan State·(Capital One)
UK vs·Pitt·(Compass)
Auburn vs Oregon (BCS Title)···
Ole Miss...(crickets)...

ESPN High On MSU
I don't know how many of yall saw it last night, but the question was raised about where would MSU be right now, if Cam Newton was at State rather than Auburn. Reece Davis, without any hesitation at all, said "Playing Oregon in the BCS National Championship." Funny thing was, none of the other analysts doubted him. They continued to talk about MSU's Offense and Defense, and were very high on State's talent, toughness, and Head Coach Dan Mullen. You can tell that they like our Dawgs. 

Your·thoughts on the entire weekend, State's Bowl invite, Newton, Mullen, and whatever else?

no comments

Written by Brett Holloway | 01 December 2010

camnewton2As of yesterday, the NCAA and SEC made it completely LEGAL to buy players by way of their parents. It's as simple as that. Let's look at all the 'language' that's being thrown around out there...

SEC bylaw 14.01.3.2

If at any time before or after matriculation in a member institution a student-athlete or any member of his/her family receives or agrees to receive, directly or indirectly, any aid or assistance beyond or in addition to that permitted by the Bylaws of this Conference (except such aid or assistance as such student-athlete may receive from those persons on whom the student is naturally or legally dependent for support), such student- athlete shall be ineligible for competition in any intercollegiate sport within the Conference for the remainder of his/her college career.

Problem:  [If at any time before or after matriculation in a member institution a student-athlete or any member of his/her family receives or agrees to receive...] So, what they are saying is that it's ok for  families to solicit money from a School, as long as they never shake on it or reach an actual agreement about the payments. Even though there was not an official agreement between State, Kenny Rodgers, and Cecil Newton, is the evidence not enough? There are phone text records revealing the payment plan that would be in place to purchase Newton's son, including a timeline and the size of each installment that would be paid. To be specific, "$80,000 when Cameron Newton signed, $50,000 30 days later and another $50,000 30 days after that." There were multiple phone calls and an apparent meeting at a hotel with Cecil Newton himself.

NCAA Spokesman Charles Bloom on the bylaw

"SEC Bylaw 14.01.3.2 does not apply in this situation. It only applies when there is an actual payment of an improper benefit, or an agreement (such as a handshake agreement) to pay and receive an improper benefit. The facts in this case, as we understand them, are that the student-athlete’s father, without the knowledge of athlete, solicited improper payments (which were rejected) from an institution the young man did not attend, and that the institution where the young man is enrolled was not involved.”

Problem:  [The facts in this case, as we understand them, are that the student-athlete’s father, without the knowledge of athlete solicited improper payments...]  By now, I'm sure that the NCAA has investigated the phone conversation between Cameron Newton and the unidentified MSU Recruiter, in which Cam seemed remorseful about his FATHER'S decision for him to attend Auburn and not MSU, because the "money was too much." That conversation to me, is the KEY to this entire case. If that conversation actually took place and those words were spoken by Newton, this case is finished. Where's the details on that conversation? At least confirm or deny the details please?

SEC Commissioner Mike Slive

"The conduct of Cam Newton's father and the involved individual is unacceptable and has no place in the SEC or in intercollegiate athletics. The actions taken by Auburn University and Mississippi State University make it clear this behavior will not be tolerated in the SEC." 

Problem: [The conduct of Cam Newton's father and the involved individual is unacceptable and has no place in the SEC or in intercollegiate athletics.] What's so unacceptable about Cecil's conduct, if Cam Newton is still an eligible and legal player for Auburn? Why has Auburn chosen to lessen Cecil Newton's contact and involvement with the team? And last but not least, if this was any other SEC team, that was not headed to the SEC and Nat'l Championship, this case would not even be debatable. If you ask me, the fact that Slive said that "The conduct of Cam Newton's father and the involved individual is unacceptable and has no place in the SEC or in intercollegiate athletics", should by letter of the law, mean that Cam Newton should not legally have a place in the SEC or in intercollegiate athletics

I also agree with Pardon the Interruptions (ESPN) Michael Wilbon, that this is nothing more than  "agenda-based junk."  Wilbon went on to add that if TCU or another smaller conference school wasn't in the BCS' 3rd spot, that Auburn and Newton would be in hot water.

My Say:This is nothing more than the authorities looking the other way, committing crimes of OMISSION. The NCAA always seems to catch players, agents, and families long after they are gone. What's so sad about this case, is that the NCAA and SEC has the chance to protect two of the most prized awards in all of Sports, in the Heisman Trophy and the Nat'l Championship. Profit now, pay for it later, and preserve the BCS system that you receive money from. The sad thing is, I don't know who is dirtier, the Newtons or the NCAA and Mike Slive. A very poor precedent has now been set by both the NCAA and the SEC. 

Your thoughts?


Donald Trump wants the 'U' to hire Mike Leach. Link slive 

Oregon could slip up on Saturday, like so many teams before them. Link 

Stanford's Harbaugh says bring on Playoff, if BCS overlooks the Cardinal. Link

Fulmer to Vandy? Naw! Link

Btw, Jackie Sherrill mentioned that in his mind, Tommy Tuberville would be his #1 guy for the Miami job.


That's all today boys... no comments

Written by Brett Holloway | 30 November 2010

dan2One thing always accompanies the end of any regular season, and that's rumors. Since Monday, the University of Miami has made it clearly known that MSU's Dan Mullen and former NFL coach John Gruden are their 2 main targets, to replace the fired Randy Shannon.

Let me pause right there and say "Not gonna happen." I'm well aware that Miami's Football program is one of the top 20 of all-time in NCAA history. I know that the state of Florida is drenched with some of the best High School football that this fine country has to offer. I know that the 'U' has got a much bigger Athletic budget than what MSU could only dream about. And finally, I'm well aware that the Canes are famous for turning out NFL talent, and add every year to the meat market that pro scouts feast on. Ok, heck, I'll even go as far as to throw in the beach, sandals, and everything else Miami in itself has to offer. But, still I say "Not gonna happen."

Here's why I feel the way I do...

(1) SEC is King: Even on years when the SEC fails to win the Nat'l Title, it's still the best conference in College Football. The conference has claimed the Crown in 4 of the past 5 seasons. It has the highest attendance rates of any other conference, and dominates the NFL draft year in and year out. You play the best of the best every Saturday. The passion, tradition, and pageantry is unmatched. Because of that, why go elsewhere? Championships are without a doubt easier to achieve in another conference, but when you've coached among the best, anything else is a step down. Mullen is a coach who demands the best from his players and fanbase, so why would he require anything less than that from himself. Leaving the best in order to win among the mediocre, is not in the cards for Dan. And in his mind, it's probably unacceptable to even consider, and lie to the standard he holds himself and team to. Anyway, why go anywhere else, when you are already in the best conference in football, not to mention arguably the best division in college football. Many may see that as a self-defeating argument, and a good basis for a good coach to leave a strong conference. Some have already said that State will always trail Bama and LSU in tradition and success, but one can only look to the 2009 and 2010 as reality check. Mullen took a team that finished with just 3 wins in '08, to within inches of a Bowl bid in '09. In 2010, Mullen responded by leading the Dawgs to an 8-4 regular season record, and a .500 mark in conference play. Dan will have MSU in Atlanta within 5 years.

(2) Building a Program Builds Pride: Let me ask you this, is there anything more rewarding in life...anything that builds more pride...or anything more gratifying then seeing the fruits of your labor? There's nothing like seeing results, and knowing you had a hand in that product. Mullen has put butts in the seats, breaking the season attendance record in consecutive years. When the seats are full, and continually full, that changes everything. Not only is it a display of faithfulness on behalf of the fans, or just evidence that you are doing something right, but so much more. Attendance equals atmosphere, money for the program, better facilities, etc. What's amazing, is that since Mullen was hired, he has manufactured so much interest and excitement in the program, that he has yet to see Davis Wade Stadium empty. The Bulldog Club has more members now- than ever. He's taught the MSU program and fans what it feels like to win and compete-week in and week out. Mullen is pulling in the best recruits in the State, and currently has MSU ranked #23 in National recruiting. He's witnessed the hunger of 55-59,000 in the seats, and the demand that is on the horizon for expanding Davis Wade. I'm sure that Dan has seen the plans to do just just, and he can't help but realize just what he is building in Starkville. He is making what used to be 'future' plans, an immediate reality. (Don't fool yourself either, whether or not stadium expansion plans were apart of the university's master plan, it would have never happened if not for success on the football field). It's because of ALL this that I've mentioned, that Mullen won't leave in the next 3 years. Coaches are all about results, and being able to sit back and look at what they've built and accomplished. We are all capable of accomplishing amazing things in life, but rarely do we have the chance to effect the lives of 55-100,000 people on a given Saturday. Even though I would say that Mullen is more confident than arrogant, it can't help but feed his or anyone else's ego to an extent. Like I said, there's pride in building something. And in building something it's even harder to walk away. Dan Mullen is building at MSU, not just a winning program, but other elements that will be hard to walk away from one day.

In the midst of all this, MSU AD Scott Stricklin has already commented on the fact that the school is setting up Dan Mullen's contract to carry over through 2014. "We’re going to be smart and aggressive in this process. The normal protocol for something like this and the way we’ve done it in the past is to rip up the old contract and sign a brand new four-year deal.” Mullen currently brings in  $1.2 Million a year, and is set to receive plenty of incentives due to the Dawgs' upcoming Bowl appearance. As of Tuesday night, Mullen confirmed that he has NOT been contacted by anyone, even Miami. For more, here's a link to a conversation between Mullen and the CL's Rick Cleveland about staying in Starkville. Link

That's my take, your thoughts?


Chris White Wins Conerly Trophy
Just days after the Bulldogs won the Egg Bowl, and the reputation of the best team in Mississippi, Senior LB Chris White won the honor of the being named the best football player in the State. White has had a stellar Senior season, racking up 105 Tkls, 6 Sacks, 15.5 Tkls for Loss, 2 INTs, and 1 Fumble Recovery. After making a name for himself in his Junior season at MSU, White improved even more in 2010. White increased in Tackles (+30) and Sacks (+5.5). Congrats Chris, you will be hard to replace. Link 


Bumphis Out
As many of yall know, leading Bulldog WR Chad Bumphis, will miss the Bowl Game with a broken clavicle. I wanted to know your opinion, as to whether or not you think the injury hurts or helps the Bulldogs more? Out for the Bowl, but that's some major reps for a lot of our young WRs in practice and preparation.  Link


State Falls to FAU Owls
I guess we knew it was coming eventually, considering that Stansbury's squad is low on talent and experience and having already had some close calls. I can't wait til Sidney and Bost can play. For those of you who are new to the site, I cover basketball in-depth, but not til SEC play, or quality opponents show up on the schedule before conference play. Ravern Johnson finished with 18 pts, Kodi Augustus brought down 10 Rebs, and Riley Benock has 3 asst. Very bad shooting night for State, only nailing three 3-pointers. State missed 4 FT's in the final minute, and a last minute tip-in for the win. Typical. 

White


_____News_____

aTm accepts Cotton Bowl invite. Link

Boise's kicker is receiving death threats. Link

UT's Bruce Pearl zingsLane Kiffin. Link

Gamecocks make History. Link

CL reports that Chick-Fil-A Bowl isn't a done deal? Link

no comments

Written by Brett Holloway | 29 November 2010

Excuse today's post. We are having some problems on the site. Feel free to post a comment though.Thanks no comments

Written by Brett Holloway | 29 November 2010

perkinsEggMAROON Rising

Last November, the Thanksgiving holiday weekend was capped off with a 41-27 Egg Bowl victory by MSU. As Dan Mullen's almost prophetic words echoed throughout Davis Wade Stadium, and it was clear that the Bulldog Football program was in the right hands, and headed in the right direction. A new QB had emerged, raw and rough around the edges. Though young on Offense and Defense, the Maroon Nation knew that if the Dawgs could build on that rivalry win over Ole Miss, 2010 could be a corner-turning year in Starkville. Fast forward to Saturday night's 31-23 victory over the Rebels, and the hopes of many, had become a reality. State finished the 2010 regular season with an 8-4 record, and a 4-4 mark in conference play. Anyway, stories are for writers, and I'm a fan first. So, let's get to our game notes and recap.

(1) Chris Relf 2.0- Over the past 2 weeks, Relf has thrown for 512 yards (224 yds vs Arkansas, 288 yds vs Ole Miss), with 3 TDs. Not only is he averaging 256 ypg through the air, but he is also making a statement on the ground. Relf rushed for 103 yards vs Arkansas, and another 66 on the ground vs Ole Miss (84.5 ypg, in 2 wks). Relf had 354 of MSU's 498 yards vs the Rebels, and has 683 yards in the last 2 games combined. There are a few reads here and there that Chris doesn't make, but we all know that the option game is feast or famine. He also needs to develop a more timely, internal QB Pocket clock. But, the kid is slowly but surely, becoming the QB we all hoped he would be. Ole Miss stacked the box all night, and the kid just made plays.

(2) LaDarius Perkins Breaks Out- When MSU played UAB earlier this season, it was an excellent opportunity to rest a banged-up Vick Ballard, while getting Freshman LaDarius Perkins some much needed experience. Perkins, aka 'Waterbug' on this site, responded with 18 carries for 131 yards. Ever since we saw the speed that Perkins displayed on that Homecoming night, many Bulldog fans have been hoping that Dan Mullen and Les Koenning would utilize his speed in open space, where the kid could have opportunities to make plays. On Saturday night, it was Perkins who shined, gashing the Black Bears' defense for 238 yds. Waterbug posted 140 yds on just 3 receptions (2 for TDs), and added another 98 on the ground. It was Perkins' footwork and speed, that cut through holes in the run game and screen game, and left the Rebels in the dust. Les Koenning and Dan Mullen must read my blog, because we have been begging for a screen pass all year. Saved it for TSUN, so no complaints there. Breakout game for the Freshman, and we'll be looking to many more of these type performances over the next 3 years.

(3) Defense was PERFECT for all but 10 Minutes- Let's just clarify how good our Defense was on Saturday night in Oxford. Ole Miss averages 406 ypg, but were held to just 326 yds. RB Brandon Bolden averages over 85 ypg, but finished with 45 yds. QB Jeremiah Masoli who is extremely dangerous with his feet, was smothered for 12 yards on 11 carries. The Rebel Offense came in averaging 220 ypg rushing, and were held to just 65 yds. State led 31-9 to start the 4th Quarter, until the Dawg D and Offense fell asleep. Ole Miss scored on drives of 66 and 80 yds, due to some very complacent play in the Dawg secondary. After a great punt by State's Heath Hutchins (with 2:30 left), the Dawg D held Ole Miss to just 12 yds on a 9 play sequence to end the game. The Rebs would only sniff the 37 yd line, only by way of a play which was called back due to an illegal block. State swarmed Masoli and Co., for the entire series, and secured a 31-23 MSU victory. State's D forced just 1 turnover (INT-Broomfield), but had 3 other Masoli passes that should have been picked. For the most part, Manny Diaz did an excellent job of preparing his Dawgs not to bite on the misdirection runs that the Bears live and thrive on. It wasn't until the 4th, when the tackling and coverage seemed to faulter for MSU. Almost a perfect game, but they played a heck of a 50 minutes. I'd have to agree with Mullen, in stating that-that was the team's "best 50 minutes of the season." LBs Chris White and KJ Wright, finished with 9 tkls a piece. Wright did a remarkable job containing Masoli, and registered 2 Sacks. As for everyone else, here's a list of their performances: S Charles Mitchell- 7 tkls; CB Corey Broomfield- 6 tkls, INT; LB Emmanuel Gatling- 6 tkls; CB Maurice Langston- 5 tkls, DE Pernell McPhee- 2 sacks, 2 tkls for loss. State finished with 3 Sacks, 10 tackles for a loss (-37 yds), and held Ole Miss on 14 of 17 3rd down tries.  

(4) STILL Not Capitalizing on the Opositions' Miscues- We've been pointing it out since the Auburn game. Whether it's a fumble recovery, an on-side kick, or an INT. Les Koenning has the WORST play-calling in these type situations. At a time when you are supposed to step on the opposition's neck, we play it so close to the vest, that it usually results in a 3-n-Out. After Halftime, State was unable to move the ball to start the 2nd half and had to punt. On the return, State forced a fumble at the OM 30 yd line. Bad play calling, and State settles for just 3 points (24-9). On another instance in the 4rd Quarter, Corey Broomfield picks off Masoli on the OM 41. Another 3-n-Out. This trend HAS to stop. Start capitalizing! Turnovers are supposed to HURT the opposition.

(5) Offense is Clicking- 498 yds of Total Offense. 210 of those were on the ground, with 288 through the air. State held the ball for 31+ minutes, including 9:49 in the 3rd Quarter, and 8:30 in the 4th. Relf averaged 22.2 yds per completion, and the Dawg rushing attack average 4.2 yds per carry. State had runs of 34 and 71, with completions of 71, 44, and 22. RB Vick Ballard now holds the MSU record for the most TDs in a season by a Bulldog, and tied the Rushing TD record with his 16th.

Dan Mullen: ["Chris did a good job of managing the game. Their plan was to take away the run. They were daring us to throw the ball and we did. On the Egg & Smack TalkWe say it to them, too, they know. That’s what rivalry games are all about. I promise you they’ll always get our best shot every single year. It’s something that’s really important to me and we make an emphasis of it. On the Trophy: We’re going to bring this trophy right back to where it belongs. It’s got a nice trophy case right in our building there. To send our seniors out like Egg Bowl champions just like we did last year is huge thing. On the OM late rally: The one bad thing is we got up 31-9, and I was on our guys, and I told them, 'We cannot take our foot off the gas.' And I felt on our sideline, our coaches, for some reason we felt and put it into cruise control and said, 'Oh, we're good.' And all of a sudden we find ourselves in a football game. Chick-Fil-A Bowl?: One of my goals going into the season was to the opportunity to go to Atlanta. We may get that opportunity now, maybe a couple of weeks later than we originally wanted."]

 

Dan Mullen OWNS Houston Nutt

I know it may get old because of how much I've mentioned it, but I was right, this year will go down as playing a pivotal role in the MSU and TSUN rivalry. It was all up for grabs on Saturday night, and OM could have somewhat halted State's roll, but the Bulldogs grabbed the momentum in the series. State and OM have completely switched places and appear to be heading in opposite directions. With 2 Egg Bowl victories in a row under his belt, I'm sure that Mullen could sway a recruit or two away from the Rebs, and with a possible 9 win season-could do the same for out of state recruits. In my opinion, Dan Mullen OWNS Houston Nutt on and off the football field. And, as I also predicted, that Mullen would run Nutt out of Oxford in just 2 years (tick-tock Doc), is becoming even more of a possibility. Even now, the rumor mill is already turning out it's whispers, but the thing is, people can notice how big of an in-state swing has taken place, that it's not a far fetched idea that Nutt could be gone today or tomorrow. I personally see him staying on, but just for another year. The atmosphere in Oxford is by far as dead as I have ever seen it. I'm not just trying to knock a rival here, I'm just being honest. The only 2 times the stadium came anywhere close to the noise level in Starkville, was on Chris Smith's fumble, and the score on the next play. Trust me, I know what a 4 win season can do to a stadium's feel (firsthand), but the Rebels are in danger of a lot more than just having a Black Bear as their mascot. If the Egg Bowl crowd was anything like their other crowds this season, no wonder the Grove was the place to be. Mullen and the Dawgs have done the hard part, now they get the Rebs at home next season, with a chance to make it 3 in a row. Pivotal year? I'd say so.

Anyway, I'll stop talking about the Egg Bowl. I'm going to act like an Ole Miss fan and act like this rivalry doesn't mean that much to me. What I'm not going to do, is slip on my sweater-vest and penny loafers.


Other News

Miami might have an eye on Mullen and Diaz. Link

Yall see the Iron Bowl? Man, that's how you blow a game, Bama. Link 

LSU falls to Arkansas. Link

Boiseand Nevada was AWESOME, I stayed up and watched live. Boo-hooo. Link DanEgg2

Auburnis #1 in the BCS. BARF. Link

State is now #22 in every poll. Link

Caldwell is out at Vandy. Good Choice. Link

Gators fall BIG to FSU. Link 


Your thoughts and opinions on the Egg Bowl?

Is Mullen in control of the rivalry?

Is Chris Relf a 'true' duel-threat QB now?

BCS Shake-ups?

no comments

Written by Brett Holloway | 25 November 2010

Dan-Mullen-2-200

  Go Get 'em Dawgs!

Well boys, we are one day away from the 2010 edition of the Egg Bowl. After last year's 41-27 route of Ole Miss, MSU's Dan Mullen was handed a microphone and addressed the crowd. "There's certainly one program in this state that's definitely on the rise and going in the right direction." Who would have thought that those words would serve as an almost 'curse' to the Rebel football program. Here were are a year later, and the 2009 roles have been completely reversed. Last season, the battle for the Egg looked like this: Ole Miss was 8-3, MSU was 4-7, and the Rebels carried a #25 national ranking into Starkville. When you look at how the stage is set for this year's game, it's almost scary. MSU is 7-4, Ole Miss is 4-7, and State carries their #25 ranking into Oxford. Mullen commented earlier in the week about State's progression and Ole Miss' degression: "Obviously, since that game to now we are the program on the rise. And we plan to keep it that way." There's no doubt that Mullen and the Bulldogs could take hold of the reigns of the rivalry, and have the chance to make it 3 in a row, when the Rebels visit Starkville in 2011. One things for sure, we'll find out what we need to know on Saturday.

When you play your rival, there's always a ton of stomach-turning elements that you feel that can work against you. Teams and individual players, have the ability to play above their heads in these type match ups. Trick plays seem to stick and work, and heck, winds can even erase a field goal...even after it's headed right down the middle.

Before we get into talking about how things will or could shake out in this CRAZY rivalry, let's refer to what the experts at College Gameday Stats are saying. Keep in mind that you can recieve their weekly news letter, by emailing them at info@collegegamedaystats.com

  • MSU Scoring vs TSUN Opponent Scoring- Advantage MSU
  • MSU Pass Off. vs TSUN Pass Def.- None
  • MSU Rushing vs TSUN Rush Def.- Advantage MSU
  • TSUN Scoring vs MSU Opponent Scoring- Advantage MSU
  • TSUN Pass Off. vs MSU Pass Def.- None
  • TSUN Rush Off. vs MSU Rush Def.- Advantage TSUN

MSU Off. & Def. Leaders

  • QB Chris Relf- 110 ypg passing
  • RB Vick Ballard- 84 ypg rushing
  • WR Chad Bumphis- 53 ypg receiving
  • S Nickoe Whitley- 3 INTs
  • LB Chris White- 96 Tkls, 6 Sacks

TSUN Off. & Def. Leaders

  • QB Jeremiah Masoli- 161 ypg passing
  • RB Brandon Bolden- 84 ypg rushing
  • WR Markeith Summers- 47 ypg receiving
  • DB Charles Sawyer- 2 INTs
  • LB Johnathan Cornell- 4.5 Sacks

Keys to Victory 

(1) Contain TSUN's Run Game: A mobile QB is always a threat to defenses, and Masoli is just that. His days of dazzling the crowds with long runs and amazing throws, seemed to have been reserved for his days in the Pac 10. The kid is still talented and could without a doubt cause trouble the Manny Diaz's D on Saturday, but I think we can all admit that he has taken a step down, when considering his former level of performance on the West Coast. Welcome to the SEC. Even though Masoli is not going to bust off 70 yd runs, he could still hurt MSU with his feet, reeling off 5-10 yd runs. state has to eye him in the option game, pressure him on passing plays, and NOT over-pursue on both. When they have the chance to lay the wood to him, or simply get him down, they have to. State has seen the danger of allowing offenses to have second chances on plays. RB Brandon Bolden is the type of RByou have to worry about. Physical, straight on, N/S runner, who is not flashy, but can put distance between himself and defenses in a hurry. State must hold him to his average (85 ypg), and not allow him to get anything else. More than anyone, I'm worried about one player on TSUN's offense. That player is Jeffery Scott (#3). If Houston Nutt needed a player that could somewhat replicate what Dexter McCluster did in recent years, Scott is the guy. So much acceleration, finds the outside edge with ease, and considering how short Masoli and Scott are, it makes it even harder for the D to eye the read plays. We will really need our DE to penetrate and disrupt the Black Bear OL.

(2) Don't Give Up on Plays: Masoli's scrambling abilities will keep the Dawg D busy, and so with that in mind, play til the whistle. Nutt will call for a lot of 2 receiver sets on Saturday, which could result in a number of 1-on-1 situations for our DB, considering our tendency to blitz. State cannot allow their man get too far behind them or in front of them. Broken plays could hurt the Dawgs more than they help them.

(3) Run the Ball/Impose Your Will/Pass Effectively: State got back to their bread n' butter vs Arkansas, not to mention spicing things up in the passing game. Running the ball as effective as MSU did in that game, led to a 15 min advantage in T.O.P. If the Bulldogs can lean on the Reb DL the way they have done against other teams this season, State will have success on Saturday. On the flip side of that, allowing the opposition to get the ball on fewer possessions and fewer time to work with, means they'll shoot for big plays, which State has to stop giving up. The option game has the ability to demoralize and frustrate opposing D's, and State has to do exactly that. When you consider Ole Miss' mindset, and all the intentions of revenge they will play with, State has to be the 'more' physical team on Saturday. They have to hit Ole Miss in the mouth, on both sides of the ball, and respond to adversity better than they have all year. Physicality is key, and any form of submission will crush a team in rivalry match ups. Impose your will, strike early, and don't give up big plays. I know Mullen is an Offensive Brain, and is well aware of the Rebels' struggles in defending the pass. With that said, Mullen doesn't need Relf to throw for as many yards as he did vs Arkansas, but he has to exploit the Rebel D. I do think that if there's one game in which State could throw deep, it's against Ole Miss. I expect run blitz packages from the Reb D, with 8 or 9 in the box, which means open receivers. Also, State must eliminate run blitzes on the outside edge, that the Hogs starting implementing in the 2nd half. If we get up by 2 scores, we can't take our foot off the gas. And I don't expect Mullen to do that, considering the emphasis he places on winning the Egg. Be PHYSICAL Dawgs!

My Prediction:MSU  34  Ole Miss 20. Since my superstitions can rest, I can now make my predictions straight up, including my individual performance predictions. Here we go...

  • MSU Run Off.- 240 yds
  • MSU Pass Off.- 180 yds
  • QB Chris Relf- 80 yds rushing
  • RB Vick Ballard- 120+ yds rushing
  • WR Chad Bumphis- 60 total yds
  • WR Chris Smith- 30 yds
  • WR Arceto Clark- 45 yds
  • LB Chris White- 14 tkls
  • LB KJ Wright- 12 tkls
  • DT Fletcher Cox- 3 TFL, 1 Sack
  • DE Pernell McPhee- 1 Sack
  • DT Josh Boyd- 1 Sack
  • S Nickoe Whitely- INT, 10tkls
  • S Charles Mitchell- INT
  • Johnthan Banks- INT

Anyway, what's your predictions?

Individual Performances Predictions as well?

Remember, for the Ole Miss perspective, check out Jake's Ole Miss Blog. (Link) mcphee1

 

Big Weekend

Auburn vs Bama  34-28

UFvs FSU 20-17

LSU vs Arkansas 24-21

UGAvs GT  38-21

USC vs Clemson 41-17

UK vs UT 28-24 

Arizona vs Oregon  38-28

Okl vs  OSU  41-35

Have a great weekend guys!

 

Go Bulldogs! Beat TSUN!           

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