STARKVILLE -- After lighting up the scoreboard against a woeful Memphis defense this past Saturday, much was expected in Act 2 of Mississippi State's burgeoning passing game. But on Thursday, the curtain came down on the aerial attack as soon as it took off when Mississippi State quarterback Chris Relf had his first pass dropped by wideout Chad Bumphis. Relf was off-targed on throws to several receivers, but wasn't aided by five drops, the final going through the hands of Leon Berry on the second-to-last play of the game in a 17-14 loss to Auburn.
All the Mississippi State football team had to do was grab it. The Bulldogs had every opportunity Thursday night to back up all of their excited talk after a lopsided victory against the University of Memphis. Instead, faced with an opportunity to beat a ranked team at home in their Southeastern Conference opener, MSU struggled to find someone -- anyone -- to make a game-changing play. As a result, No. 21 Auburn escaped with a 17-14 victory in front of a crowd of 54,806 at Davis Wade Stadium.
The goal of every successful high school football program is to go undefeated on the season. It's an achievement very few teams have pulled off. If a high school team goes undefeated, it is even rarer for that squad not to allow a point. It's the dream of every defensive coordinator and the daily double of prep football, so to speak. Tonight, just such an accomplishment will be celebrated, as members of the 1977 unbeaten, unscored upon Hamilton High School football team will be honored prior to the Hamilton-Hatley contest.
Glenn Akins and Stance Henderson haven't had to talk about last season to get motivated for tonight's game. Aside from a three-game losing streak to open the season, the 2009 campaign was marked by disappointment and an inability to live up to the potential the Patriots saw in their team. Three games into the 2010 season, Akins and Henderson promise they won't let the same thing happen in their senior season.
STARKVILLE -- When a team lives on the edge long enough, a fall is imminent. Starkville Academy's soccer team was reminded Thursday what can happen to a team that lives nearly 60 minutes in its own half. The Lady Vols clung to a 1-0 lead for nearly the entire second half against Pillow Academy before conceding an 78th minute equalizer and a pair of extra-time goals in a 3-1 loss.
STARKVILLE -- Auburn overcame its own missed chances and a resilient Mississippi State defense to escape Starkville with a 17-14 win Thursday night. The anticipated shootout between two of the league's highlight offenses from Week 1 never materialized, as both offenses were held under 350 yards.
Auburn visits Mississippi State looking to replicate the same offensive performance from their Week 1 blowout of Arkansas State. The Bulldogs' offense was just as efficient and explosive in their opening-day 49-7 win over Memphis. Here's some quick keys for MSU winning tonight's game.
Timing has worked out in West Point High School's football team the past two seasons. The Green Wave used an early bye week last season to help refocus after a surprising loss to Shannon. This year's bye week has been about recovery.
On his way to becoming a head coach, Josh Harper learned a lot about football from Rusty Funk. Harper will get a second chance at 7 p.m. Friday to show what he learned when his South Lamar Stallions play host to Funk's Marion County Red Raiders in an Alabama High School Athletic Association Class A, Region 5 game.
Cameron Newton called it "probably one of the hardest decisions I've made in my recent life." It went beyond telling one of his closest mentors since high school, Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen, that he would sign with Auburn University instead of MSU this past winter.
STARKVILLE -- Cameron Newton gouged Arkansas State with runs and passes in an impressive debut as Auburn's starting quarterback. The former Dan Mullen pupil and Tim Tebow understudy at Florida had five total touchdowns and 357 combined yards in his first start as an FBS quarterback. Mississippi State's defense isn't naïve enough to think it'll shut down the Auburn quarterback or the dynamic skilled players around him in Thursday night's game at Scott Field.
It isn't hard to distinguish between Will Goodwin and the other students at Itawamba Community College. The freshman from Starkville Academy is the one being chauffeured in a golf cart across the Fulton campus from football practice to soccer practice. Goodwin is the lone kicker on Coach Jon Williams' football team and a forward on Coach Mike Sullivan's soccer team, and being escorted on a golf cart makes it easier for him to get to both team's practices.
The lessons were there Tuesday night to be absorbed. The Columbus High School volleyball team only had to watch the tenacity at the net of Annalisha Harris and Mattie Scarbrough to see how they were supposed to do things. On the other hand, the Aberdeen High girls had something to learn from Columbus. Even though they won the first two games, the Lady Bulldogs played inconsistently against the steadier Lady Falcons. Columbus' even-keeled approach helped it win game three and recapture the momentum before Aberdeen regrouped for a 3-1 victory.
STARKVILLE -- Tyler Russell's advent into college football was a reprieve for his lackluster play in Mississippi State's spring game.
STARKVILLE -- Brandon Heavens is no longer a secret. The sophomore wide receiver, who played sparingly last season, broke out Saturday with a five catch, 112-yard performance in the Mississippi State football team's 49-7 victory against Memphis.
Von Smith didn't think he was ready. After all, he was only a freshman and he couldn't be trusted to run a varsity offense, right? It was natural last season for Smith, then only a freshman, to experience some doubts about his readiness to take over at quarterback for the West Oktibbeha High School football team.
The appetizer was delicious. Now bring on the main course. In five days, Dan Mullen's Mississippi State football team will get to show another ESPN audience if his team is up to the challenge. On Saturday, the Bulldogs delivered a building block -- 49-7 victory against the University of Memphis at Davis Wade Stadium -- that at least makes you stop and go hmmm.
STARKVILLE -- Efficient through the air and on the ground, Mississippi State ran riot Saturday in its season-opening 49-7 win over the University of Memphis. The Bulldogs racked up 569 yards of total offense, and redshirt freshman quarterback Tyler Russell tossed four touchdown passess in his MSU debut.
STARKVILLE -- With a short-week of preparation for Thursday's matchup with Auburn, Mississippi State needed to have a thorough performance against Memphis. The Bulldogs got it on both sides of the ball Saturday, but it was their defensive pressure in first-year coordinator Manny Diaz's system that helped add to the point total and lay the groundwork for Gus Malzahn and Auburn's dynamic offense.
Bobby Berry never doubted his players. Even though the West Lowndes High School football team trailed Caledonia by one point in the second quarter, Berry knew his team's big-play potential gave it the ability to turn the momentum in a hurry. Having Antonio Wilson and Brandon Clark as weapons makes things a little easier.
1. MSU offense gearing up for showdown with Texas A&M COLLEGE SPORTS
2. Ole Miss overlooks hype, readies for No. 1 Alabama COLLEGE SPORTS
4. Fulgham's leadership helps pace undefeated Victory Christian HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
5. Jones leads new-look defensive line for top-ranked EMCC COLLEGE SPORTS