October 6, 2013 1:57:19 AM
Matthew Stevens - firstname.lastname@example.org
STARKVILLE -- At every home game of Dan Mullen's 55 previous games as Mississippi State football coach, the school announced a starting quarterback.
The streak stopped Saturday.
MSU officials didn't release a starting quarterback before the kickoff against LSU. The video board announcement of the starting lineups 25 minutes before the scheduled start time also didn't include a quarterback.
Dak Prescott earned his fourth-consecutive start and capped the opening drive with a 28-yard touchdown run to help the Bulldogs start quickly. Senior quarterback Tyler Russell played mostly through the second quarter and ended the first half 5 of 8 for 117 yards and two touchdowns.
Russell was medically cleared for contact and Mullen said up until Thursday night that Russell would start. However, on his radio call-in show Thursday night, Mullen dropped a "you'll just have to wait and find out" line when asked about the starting quarterback. After Russell suffered a concussion in the season opener against then-No. 13 Oklahoma State, MSU fans got behind Prescott as the starter after he had successful performances against Alcorn State, Auburn, and Troy.
To compound matter, Russell has lost six of his last seven starts at MSU, but Mullen stood by him last week, saying Russell would start Saturday.
Former MSU outfielder Van Cleave honored before kickoff
Before the national anthem, school officials honored former MSU outfielder Dan Van Cleave with a moment of silence.
Van Cleave was found dead Wednesday night in his home in Jackson. He was 51.
Van Cleve played on one of MSU's most memorable teams. The 1985 Bulldogs came one game shy of a College World Series final headlined by Will Clark, Rafael Palmeiro, Bobby Thigpen, and Jeff Brantley. Van Cleve was the starting center fielder and lead-off hitter for the team that advanced to the College World Series in Omaha, Neb.
Van Cleve played for the Bulldogs from 1982-85. He is MSU's all-time leader in runs (232), is second in career stolen bases (70), and is fourth in doubles (55) and walks (143). He earned All-SEC Western Division honors after setting the single-season school record with 38 stolen bases. He is still the only player to swipe more than 30 in a season. The Texas Rangers selected Van Cleve in the 21st round of the 1985 amateur draft. He made his pro debut with the Daytona Beach Islanders, hitting only .215 with 22 steals in 30 tries. In 1986, he played for the Salem Redbirds and Tulsa Drillers in his final season of professional baseball.
MRA coach says MSU verbal commit will impress with versatility
Sean Rawlings' coach at Madison-Ridgeland Academy finally got one of his players to his alma mater.
Forrest Williams, who played at MSU for coach Jackie Sherrill in 2000, said his senior offensive lineman is one of the most versatile prospects in the state of Mississippi.
"He's a basketball player by nature just like (fellow MRA graduate) Justin Malone, so I think he really impressed them with his feet in the Big Dawgs Camp this summer," Williams said. "He is somebody that eventually will be able to play tackle, guard, or center at Mississippi State. They love offensive lineman that they can move around."
Williams attended LSU's 59-26 at Davis Wade Stadium on Saturday as a season-ticket holder. Rawlings wasn't allowed to have a ticket purchased for him by MSU as a recruiting visit due to the NCAA sanctions regarding the Will Redmond violations earlier this summer.
"He's a very smart and very tough player that can get out on the perimeter for screens," Williams said. "I think in today's age where you come from isn't as big a deal. If you're from a smaller private school, and you dominate in camp like Sean did, you'll get to the highest level."
Rawlings is rated a three-star prospect on 247 Sports' composite rankings system. The 6-foot-4, 285-pound center also has scholarship offers from Arkansas State, Louisiana-Lafayette, and Louisiana Tech.
MSU announces 26th consecutive sellout at Davis Wade Stadium
On his Twitter account, @stricklinmsu, Mississippi State Director of Athletics Scott Stricklin announced the 26th consecutive sellout at Davis Wade Stadium one hour before kickoff.
The announced crowd Saturday night was 57,113.
The sellout streak began in the 29-19 loss to then-No. 2 Florida led by head coach Urban Meyer and quarterback Tim Tebow. In that game, Johnthan Banks became the first player in MSU history to return two interceptions back for touchdowns in the same game.
Follow Matt Stevens on Twitter @matthewcstevens.