STARKVILLE -- Starkville High School football Jamie Mitchell can't figure out the playoff system in the state of Mississippi. His Yellow Jackets won the Class 5A, Region 2 title with an undefeated record, which included a 26-23 victory at Ridgeland, but his team still will have to make a second trip to play the Titans at 7 tonight to decide the Class 5A North State champion.
STARKVILLE -- The Liberty Bowl committee has made it clear to Mississippi State: The bowl will select the school for its game. Liberty Bowl Executive Director Steve Ehrhart told The Dispatch in a phone interview Tuesday his bowl game would like MSU to make its second appearance in its event since 2007.
STARKVILLE -- Respect is defined by actions, not words. To understand that concept, you need only to examine what Starkville High Athletic Director Stan Miller and football coach Jamie Mitchell have accomplished. Miller said this week the most important move he made nearly two years ago was hiring Mitchell as the Yellow Jackets' football coach.
STARKVILLE -- "Horrible." Catina Bett doesn't mince words when asked to describe her performance in the Mississippi State women's basketball team's first five games.
STARKVILLE -- When asked what the Egg Bowl rivalry means to him, Rockey Felker looked to the sky and took a deep breath before answering. Brevity isn't a useful personality trait when the former Mississippi State head football coach talks about importance of that matchup.
STARKVILLE -- Everybody around the Mississippi State football facility is trying to rally around sophomore quarterback Tyler Russell. Less than an hour after a 44-17 loss to then-No. 6 University of Arkansas, MSU coach Dan Mullen made a proclamation he hoped would help him avoid media questions about who would be his team's starting quarterback for its regular-season finale at 6 p.m. Saturday (ESPNU) against the University of Mississippi.
STARKVILLE -- When the Class 5A North State title game is in the balance, it is a safe bet the Starkville High School defense will be on the scene. Starkville (11-2) will ride a nine-game win streak into its game against Region 2 rival Ridgeland (10-3) at 7 p.m. Friday (WMSV 91.1 FM). It also will try to duplicate a feat it accomplished Oct. 7 when it defeated Ridgeland 26-23 in the regular season. That victory helped Starkville clinch first place in the region.
Sports start with a smile. Do you remember?
STARKVILLE -- Porsha Porter has earned a reputation for being a spark plug for the Mississippi State women's basketball team. Whether it's with her thievery on defense or with her lightning-quick first step or her 3-point shooting prowess, Porter has carved a niche in her second season with the Lady Bulldogs. MSU needed all of the dimensions of Porter's game Wednesday to enter the holiday on a positive note.
SCOOBA -- East Mississippi Community College defensive backs coach Clifton Collins knew his unit was going to be talented but young this season. That's why he counted on sophomore Jeremy Cannon, of West Point High School, to step up and make a difference.
OXFORD -- This wasn't the way Houston Nutt envisioned ending his Southeastern Conference career. The 14-year league veteran, who led the University of Arkansas for 10 seasons before coming to Mississippi for the past four, has always relished coaching in what he often calls the "toughest conference in America." But the brutal SEC has a habit of chewing up coaches, and Nutt is its latest victim.
STARKVILLE -- Not many kind words have said in the past couple of days about the Mississippi State pass defense. In the eyes of MSU's coaching staff, they're all accurate. "We weren't very good at all on pass defense," MSU coach Dan Mullen said. "That's a coaching issue. We'll get that fixed. We have to make sure we have guys in position to make plays."
STARKVILLE -- The Mississippi State men's basketball program celebrated being ranked with a victory. For the first time since January 2010, MSU was rewarded Monday afternoon with a No. 24 ranking in the latest Associated Press poll. MSU responded by outlasting the University of Louisiana at Monroe 78-63 at Humphrey Coliseum.
STARKVILLE -- On a night when the Starkville Academy girls basketball team was searching for its offense, its defense came through in the nick of time. Starkville Academy, the state's top-ranked Class AAA academy team by The Clarion-Ledger, survived a scare Monday night, defeating Oak Hill Academy 45-36 in overtime. In the nightcap, the Starkville Academy boys completed the sweep with a 66-48 victory.
STARKVILLE -- While any high school football game can present its twists and turns, Starkville High School coach Jamie Mitchell can always take solace in the fact his offensive line is going to come ready to play. As the Yellow Jackets have molded themselves into a state title contender, the offensive line may be the most underrated part of the squad. Line play again proved a key Friday night in a 20-14 Class 5A North State second-round playoff win against longtime rival West Point.
Sharon Fanning-Otis routinely lists battles she wants her Mississippi State women's basketball team to win every game. Rebounding, defense, turnovers, and deflections are staples on Fanning-Otis' rundown. Toughness is the drive force behind winning each of those statistical tallies.
ST. THOMAS, U.S. Virgin Islands -- Murphy Holloway scored 20 points to lead the University of Mississippi men's basketball team to an 80-69 victory against TCU on Monday night in the third-place game of the Paradise Jam.
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- Add the Mississippi State football team to the list of squads that couldn't slow down the University of Arkansas' offense this season. Quarterback Tyler Wilson had 267 passing yards before halftime, and No. 6 Arkansas had 20 plays of 10 yards or more in a dominating 44-17 victory Saturday at War Memorial Stadium.
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- Dan Mullen didn't need a statistic sheet to tell him how he felt Saturday after his Mississippi State football team lost to the No. 6 University of Arkansas 44-17 at War Memorial Stadium. MSU's third-year coach knew what he wanted to say.
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- The final game of the 2011 regular season will mean everything to the Mississippi State football team. For the first time since 1990, MSU (5-6, 1-6 Southeastern Conference) will have to defeat the University of Mississippi to become bowl eligible