STARKVILLE -- Unfortunately, the start of Rick Ray's third season as Mississippi State men's basketball coach looks familiar.
STARKVILLE -- The basketball doesn't discriminate.
STARKVILLE -- "Put the ball down."
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- The No. 4 Alabama football team sees a defined path to all of its big-picture goals, starting with LSU as the first of several big obstacles. Alabama received a boost on its open date when Auburn beat Ole Miss, the only team to defeat Alabama this season. That means its game at 7 p.m. Saturday (WCBI) against No. 14 LSU at Tiger Stadium is the first since that loss where Alabama (7-1, 4-1 Southeastern Conference) is in charge of its fate.
5 Offensive Keys for Mississippi State vs. Tennessee-Martin
STARKVILLE -- Dak Prescott shrugged his shoulders. Asked Tuesday how his team's offense can respond after a 17-point showing against Arkansas on Saturday night, Mississippi State's junior quarterback was his worst critic. He also came across as a player eager to right the ship.
STARKVILLE -- For the second-consecutive week, the Mississippi State football team is at the top of the heap in the College Football Playoff Committee's Top 25.
STARKVILLE -- Practice hasn't been the same for Mississippi State forward Gavin Ware this season. That's a good thing. Ware, a Starkville High School product, has been MSU's most productive front-court player since arriving on campus before the 2012-13 season. Ware's natural ability helped him adjust to the college game. At 6-foot-9, 250 pounds, Ware averaged 10 points and seven rebounds per game as a sophomore. But he achieved those numbers on a team that had little depth and not a lot of size up front. Now Ware has help.
The Ole Miss football team's heartbreaking loss to Auburn last weekend didn't just have a psychological effect on the Rebels. It also left them having to replace arguably the team's best offensive playmaker. Sophomore receiver Laquon Treadwell is out for the season after breaking his left leg and dislocating his ankle in the final minutes of a 35-31 loss to Auburn. Now the No. 12 Rebels (7-2, 4-2 Southeastern Conference) are trying to find a new lead receiver as they try to salvage their season.
SCOOBA -- While the East Mississippi Community College football team earned the desired result on the field Saturday, its latest victory didn't leave the impression the Lions wanted. No. 2 EMCC defeated then-No. 5 Mississippi Gulf Coast C.C. 42-21 in the opening round of the Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges state playoffs Saturday in Scooba.
STARKVILLE -- For the first time in six weeks, the No. 1 Mississippi State football team will line up against a non-Southeastern Conference opponent Saturday afternoon. That's when coach Dan Mullen and MSU will play host to Tennessee-Martin at 3 p.m. (SEC Network) in a Homecoming game that will provide a rare respite from the rigors of SEC play. But Mullen said there are plenty of things for the Bulldogs to work on.
STARKVILLE -- Junior quarterback Dak Prescott and junior middle linebacker Benardrick McKinney have been two key reasons why the No. 1 Mississippi State football team remains undefeated. On Monday, the duo received more national accolades. Prescott was named a national semifinalist for the 78th-annual Maxwell Award, while McKinney was named a semifinalist for the 20th-annual Chuck Bednarik Award.
SCOOBA -- With players in the program for a maximum of two playing seasons, East Mississippi Community College men's basketball coach Mark White is used to working with a new group each season. However, even the Lions are taking things to an extreme this year. White's 2014-15 squad has one returning player. However, White is still excited about his eighth season in Scooba. Talent abounds on a 16-player roster that features 12 freshmen.
SCOOBA -- For Kiki Patterson, the basketball journey has been a long one. After a standout career at Columbus High School, Patterson signed with Mississippi State. After a brief stint with MSU's women's basketball program, Patterson left the team. Now she is at East Mississippi Community College.
While Saturday was a tough night for the Ole Miss football program, the Rebels returned to work Monday determined to make the most of their final three games. A chance to win the Southeastern Conference Western Division championship and an opportunity to beat a team that could be ranked No. 1 in the nation remain. But a 35-31 loss to then-No. 4 Auburn at home Saturday night effectively took Ole Miss out of the discussion for the national championship. At 11 a.m. Saturday, No. 12 Ole Miss will play host to Presbyterian at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium in its final non-conference game.
STARKVILLE -- Confidence isn't a problem for Mississippi State guard Fred Thomas. Days after opening preseason practice for the 2014-15 men's basketball season, Thomas was asked what he thought about MSU coach Rick Ray saying he "should be an All-SEC Defensive player this season." Thomas, a 6-foot-7 junior guard from Jackson, agreed.
STARKVILLE -- Bret Bielema was frustrated. Bielema, the second-year Arkansas football coach, had just watched his Razorbacks dictate tempo, dominate time of possession, and hit every mark on the coaching staff's checklist to beat No. 1 Mississippi State on Saturday night. It still wasn't enough.
OXFORD -- The No. 7 Ole Miss football team trailed No. 3 Auburn 35-31 with less than two minutes to play Saturday night when senior quarterback Bo Wallace hit sophomore wide receiver Laquon Treadwell with a slip screen pass at the Auburn 20-yard line. Treadwell took the pass, broke two tackles, and streaked to the end zone for what appeared to be a game-winning touchdown with 1 minute, 30 seconds left on the clock. Most of the 62,090 fans at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium were coiled to explode.
OXFORD -- Cassanova McKinzy won the scramble for the ball and Auburn emerged from a playoff pileup to survive and advance. McKinzy recovered a fumble in the end zone to preserve the fourth-ranked Tigers' 35-31 victory against No. 7 Ole Miss on Saturday night in what amounted to the first College Football Playoff knockout game. That roller-coaster play proved to be the decisive blow.
STARKVILLE -- Dan Mullen was right. Following No. 1 Mississippi State's 45-31 win against Kentucky a week ago, MSU's sixth-year coach praised his offense but predicted great things for his defense, saying "One of these games, it's going to be low scoring, and our defense is going to win the game for us."
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