Dennis Johnson is out a dream. The former Amory High School defensive lineman could have remained at Itawamba Community College to complete his two years of eligibility, but he saw the opportunity to be a part of the LSU football program.
STARKVILLE — Mississippi State football coach Dan Mullen had one priority when he was hired. Not long after Mullen took the MSU job on Dec. 10, 2008, he visited defensive lineman Pernell McPhee and punter Heath Hutchins at Itawamba Community College.
STARKVILLE –– Sean Brauchle is finding his range at Mississippi State. The confidence for the placekicker is rising as he makes field goals for the Bulldogs. In Saturday’s 15-3 victory against Vanderbilt, Brauchle made three field goals and he’s starting to make them from long distances.. Brauchle, a transfer from Itawamba Community College, made field goals from 44 and 27 yards in the second quarter and a season-long of 49 yards in the third to give MSU a 9-3 lead.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Mississippi State football team’s defense wasn’t going to let the play of the offense and special teams go to waste Saturday night against Vanderbilt University. After not taking advantage of a blocked punt return for a touchdown by Robert Elliott last week in a loss to Auburn, the Bulldogs were again put in a position to win with solid special teams play and timely offense.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Tyson Lee picked a good time to score the second rushing touchdown of his Mississippi State career. With the Bulldogs clinging to a 9-3 lead late in the fourth quarter, the senior quarterback from Columbus broke loose on a keeper and scored from 22 yards. The run on fourth-and-1 provided the finishing touches on MSU’s 15-3 victory against Vanderbilt on Saturday night.
Kat Walsh is used to succeeding in soccer. Her ability as a scorer helped her earn Alabama Gatorade Player of the Year honors in 2004 and 2005 at Spain Park High School in Hoover, Ala. As a result, Walsh was a sought-after recruit who decided to take her skills to LSU. That’s when Walsh discovered the first choice might not always be the best choice.
SCOOBA –– East Mississippi Community College carried a No. 2 national ranking in the NJCAA/JCfootball.com poll and an undefeated record into Thursday night’s game against rival No. 13 ranked Mississippi Gulf Coast C.C. A soggy field and the threat of rain didn’t deter fans from filling EMCC’s Sullivan-Windham Field for the much-anticipated matchup. The Lions seemed to be in gear to continue their winning ways and offensive domination when All-America quarterback Randall Mackey hit wide receiver Lance Lewis in stride for an 80-yard opening play touchdown. With barely 18 seconds elapsed, EMCC led 7-0. But the lead was short lived as EMCC suffered a 43-26 loss.
Zach Smith knows about the potential of Vanderbilt quarterback Larry Smith. The Mississippi State junior safety became familiar with Larry Smith during preparation for the Alabama High School Athletic Association All-Star Game in 2005. They also spent time together attending high school football camps in Alabama and became friends. Zach played at Susan Moore High School in Altoona, Ala., while Larry Smith prepped at Prattville (Ala.) High.
Mississippi State women’s basketball coach Sharon Fanning-Otis believes her program has the potential to make history this season. At least one national basketball publication believes in the Lady Bulldogs, too. Lindy’s College Basketball magazine has Mississippi State ranked No. 25 in its poll of the nation’s best teams.
Dan Mullen has a plan to build the Mississippi State football program into a winner. The first-year coach said successful recruiting will help the Bulldogs implement that plan and help them return to postseason bowl games, something they have done once (Liberty Bowl, 2007) in the past five years.
An abundance of playmakers has helped the East Mississippi Community College football team climb to No. 2 in the nation. The contributions are coming from the usual places — like All-America sophomore quarterback Randall Mackey — and plenty of unlikely sources, particularly a player with a broken hand.
Southeastern Conference teams know depth in the backfield is crucial. Vanderbilt University is glad to have it. With senior running back Jared Hawkins still unable to do very much in practice with a foot injury, freshmen Zac Stacy and Warren Norman and junior Kennard Reeves have emerged for the Commodores.
STARKVILLE — Greg Byrne understands the importance of recruiting for his head coaches. That’s why the Mississippi State Athletic Director believes in keeping coaches’ financial contracts at four years. Byrne has recommended that the contracts of basketball coach Rick Stansbury and baseball coach John Cohen be extended through June 30, 2013. The item on the College Board of Education’s agenda this week still has Stansbury’s contract through June 30, 2012, but Byrne expects it to be extended.
University of North Texas football coach Todd Dodge doesn’t mind going after Mississippi junior college talent. Dodge intends to do plenty of more recruiting there if it means his program will get players like senior offensive guard Gabe Hollivay, who was a standout at Hamilton High School, and junior wide receiver Michael Outlaw, of Starkville. Hollivay transferred from Itawamba Community College, while Outlaw transferred from East Mississippi C.C.
While growing up in Amory, Chris Wilson was a football fan of the University of Mississippi football team. Wilson especially liked Ole Miss when Amory natives Rufus French (tight end, 1996-98) and Joe Gunn (running back, 1998-2001) starred for the Rebels. Wilson aspired to play for the Rebels and was recruited by former Ole Miss coach Ed Orgeron. Wilson will be on the field Saturday when the Rebels play host Southeastern Louisiana, but he won’t be in an Ole Miss uniform.
STARKVILLE — Mississippi State appreciates Wade Bonner’s effort. The Bulldogs just want to make sure the sophomore doesn’t get overworked. Not only does Bonner back up Zach Smith at free safety, he also helps out on special teams. Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen likes Bonner’s versatility, but doesn’t want to use him too much.
STARKVILLE — Charles Mitchell gave a statement on behalf of the Mississippi State defense Monday. Coming off a 49-24 loss to Auburn University on Saturday, Mitchell expects the Bulldogs to play better.
STARKVILLE -- The Mississippi State basketball program has had another preseason blow due to injury at the guard position. After sophomore point guard Twany Beckham was lost for the season because of hip surgery in August, it was confirmed by MSU team spokesman Gregg Ellis last week that junior guard Riley Benock will miss up to six weeks following a procedure to repair a stress fracture in his right ankle. Benock, who averaged 2.3 points and 11.4 minutes per game last season, may be recovered enough in time to join the Bulldogs for practice by late October.
STARKVILLE –– Mississippi State receiver Leon Berry knows he and his teammates need to have short memories. With another road game coming up for Mississippi State on Saturday at Vanderbilt, Berry said the Bulldogs need to put a 49-24 loss to Auburn behind them quickly. “We have to forget about this,” Berry said. “We have to get a win (at Vanderbilt).”
AUBURN, Ala. — One loss shouldn’t keep Mississippi State from reaching its goal, according to senior running back Anthony Dixon. Dixon, who returned from a one-game suspension, to lead the Bulldogs with 92 yards on 20 carries, still has hopes for this season despite a 49-24 loss to Auburn University on Saturday night. “We are still trying to get to the Southeastern Conference championship game this year,” Dixon said. “Today didn’t change that. We are going to come up with a new plan for next week.”
1. More younger pitchers having Tommy John surgery COLLEGE SPORTS
2. Bradley becomes New Hope's first Scholar-Athlete HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
3. Columbus, New Hope, Heritage Academy gearing up for playoffs HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
4. Mitchell's complete game propels MSU past Missouri COLLEGE SPORTS
5. White beats Crimson in A-Day Game COLLEGE SPORTS