STARKVILLE — Ravern Johnson is picking up his game. The Mississippi State junior guard’s improved play is helping him earn awards. Johnson learned by text message Monday he had been named Southeastern Conference Player of the Week after his performances against DePaul and UCLA.
STARKVILLE — The game was well in hand, but Diamber Johnson knew there was still work to be done. The Mississippi State sophomore point guard handled the basketball as she moved to her left and motioned with her off hand for a teammate to set a screen at the left elbow, foul-line extended.
It appears Carl Torbush’s stint as the defensive coordinator for the Mississippi State football team is over after only one season.
Consider it a lesson learned. Mississippi State women’s basketball coach Sharon Fanning-Otis believes that’s an ideal way to describe her team’s 72-68 victory Saturday at Louisiana Tech.
OXFORD — Jim Foster didn’t have an elaborate explanation. Late in the second half Sunday, the veteran Ohio State women’s basketball coach almost looked resigned to that fact that the University of Mississippi was going to upset his No. 9 Buckeyes. Then something unexpected happened.
STARKVILLE — Dan Mullen believes the foundation has been laid for Mississippi State football program. The former assistant coach at the University of Florida saw many positive signs in his first year as head coach of the Bulldogs, and he plans to build on them in the coming months. Record crowds at Davis Wade Stadium, the accomplishments of senior running back Anthony Dixon, the emergence of young players, and MSU’s season-ending 41-27 victory against the University of Mississippi encouraged Mullen.
STARKVILLE -- Tyson Lee remembers seeing the movie “Rudy” and he loved it. Now the Mississippi State quarterback has a chance to win an award named after the film. Lee, of Columbus, has been nominated for the third-annual Rudy Award as announced by The Rudy Foundation. The award honors student-athletes who demonstrate character, courage, contribution and commitment for their teams. Those traits were exhibited by Daniel “Rudy” Ruettiger in the movie. Ruettiger was a character who beat all odds to play in a college football game.
William Jones said thanks but no thanks Tuesday to Itawamba Community College. The East Mississippi C.C. associate head coach interviewed for the vacant head football coach job at ICC and was offered the position Monday night. But Jones said Thursday that he and the school couldn’t come to terms that satisfied him, so he declined the offer to become ICC’s new coach.
STARVILLE — Chanel Mokango doesn’t know how many times she has heard the word tough in her short time in Mississippi. How effectively the senior center plays with that kind of spirit, though, likely will have a huge impact on the Mississippi State women’s basketball’s 2009-10 season. So far, the 6-foot-5 center is still working to find the right balance to her game. Mokango and MSU (5-3) will try to take another step closer to their comfort zone at 7 p.m. Saturday when it plays against Louisiana Tech in Ruston, La.
Kayla Melson is making the best of a difficult situation. In the preseason, the University of Mississippi women’s basketball team lost junior guard Alliesha Easley to a season-ending knee injury. The loss of an experienced and versatile player like Easley would have crippled many other teams, but Melson is helping the Rebels make the best out of a trying predicament. Melson, a 5-foot-8 junior guard, is second on the tam in scoring at 11.8 points per game. She also is averaging 4.8 rebounds per game and is second on the team with 40 assists and tied for second with 12 steals.
STARKVILLE — Ravern Johnson understands the importance of playing defense. The Mississippi State junior guard never has been afraid to shoot the basketball, but defense hasn’t always come as easily for him. Even though the benefits don’t always show up in the boxscore, Johnson has learned concentrating on defense can make a difference.
STARKVILLE — Mississippi State football coach Dan Mullen appeared surprised his name surfaced last week in connection with the vacancy at the University of Kansas. Not long after Kansas announced the resignation of Mark Mangino, Mullen’s name surfaced as a possible replacement in an Associated Press story by Doug Tucker. Mullen quickly put those rumors to rest and said he hadn’t been in contact with anyone at Kansas. He said his family loves living in Mississippi.
STARKVILLE -- Mississippi State offensive coordinator Les Koenning realizes how important junior offensive tackle Derek Sherrod is for the Bulldogs. Other coaches from around the Southeastern Conference have learned how valuable Sherrod is to the Bulldogs as they picked him on the All-SEC second-team on a list released Tuesday. “I’m very proud of him,” Koenning said. “It’s a great honor for him and this football team. It was a reward and a good deal for him. I know he’s proud of it and he’s well deserving.”
STARKVILLE — The postseason recognition continues for Mississippi State senior running back Anthony Dixon. One week after taking home the Cellular South Conerly Trophy as Mississippi’s top college player, Dixon earned first-team honors on The Associated Press All-Southeastern Conference team.
STARKVILLE — This is an important week for the Mississippi State men’s basketball team. The Bulldogs go back on the road, but it’s not going to be an easy trip.
BILOXI ---The East Mississippi Community College football team’s historical season continued Sunday with a 27-24 win against Arizona Western College in the second-annual Mississippi Bowl at Biloxi Stadium. The win allowed the Lions, ranked No. 5, to cap off head coach Buddy Stephens second season with a school record 11 wins to go win one loss. EMCC, which won its first state championship last month by beating Gulf Coast 75-71, made the school’s first bowl appearance since a 1963 visit to the Hospitality Bowl in Gulfport.
STARKVILLE -- Mississippi State found playing St. Bonaventure to be a little bit easier this season. Last season, the Bulldogs had to score the final five points to beat the Bonnies 76-71. However, the rematch Saturday was never in doubt as MSU hit four 3-point field goals in the first 4 minutes, jumped out to a 16-2 lead and went on to a 105-53 win at Humphrey Coliseum. It ties for the largest margin of victory in the 12-year era of coach Rick Stansbury.
SCOOBA – Today’s Mississippi Bowl in Biloxi figures to be a formidable matchup of two of the nation’s rising junior college football programs. Paired together from opposite sides of the cournty, the No. 5 East Mississippi Community College Lions (10-1) will meet the sixth-ranked Matadors of Arizona Western College (9-1). Kickoff for the Mississippi Gulf Coast’s second-annual junior college bowl event is set for 2 p.m. at Biloxi Indian Stadium.
“Roll Tide, Redden.” Regardless of which college football team you love, those words have a familiar ring if you live in Columbus or in West Alabama. That’s because Alan Redden just might be the area’s biggest fan of the University of Alabama. He holds that title even though he drives a truck for his business, Redden Satellite, that has lettering outlined in blue and orange — the colors or archrival Auburn.
STARKVILLE — Mississippi State men’s basketball coach Rick Stansbury knows St. Bonaventure center Andrew Nicholson will be a difficult matchup. The toughest thing for the Bulldogs about facing Nicholson is center Jarvis Varnado might have his shot-blocking hand taped up. Varnado dislocated two fingers on his left hand last week attempting to block a shot against Old Dominion. Stansbury isn’t sure how much he’ll be able to help against the Bonnies at 1 p.m. Saturday.
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