Throughout high school, Amber Owen heard she’d never play college volleyball. At 4-foot-11 1/2, Owen was relegated to playing on the junior varsity volleyball team at Caledonia High School and it looked like college volleyball wouldn’t be in her future. “It hurt a lot because I knew I had the potential and I had the ability to play and I wasn’t really given that chance,” Owen said. “I was looking for a small (college) so I could play volleyball, or at least try, because everybody told me I would never play college volleyball.”
STARKVILLE — Anthony Dixon is about to become Mississippi State’s all-time leading rusher. The journey to that top spot has been bumpy. In the offseason, the senior tailback was arrested for DUI. He fulfilled unspecified punishment from the team and served a one-game suspension in the season opener against Jackson State. Now, Dixon has to bounce back from a game where he fumbled twice in a 42-31 loss to Georgia Tech.
STARKVILLE — The rhythm of the Famous Maroon Band’s drum section doesn’t catch the attention of Mississippi State football coach Dan Mullen most on game day. When Mullen talks about rhythm he’s referring to the offense, especially early in games.
STARKVILLE -- Georgia Tech quarterback Josh Nesbitt isn’t known for his passing ability. Yet Nesbitt torched the Mississippi State secondary for 266 yards in leading the Yellow Jackets to a 42-31 victory Saturday night. Case Keenum, the signal caller at the University of Houston, does have a reputation for throwing the football with success. On Saturday, Keenum was 51 of 76 for 536 yards and five touchdowns in Houston’s 58-41 loss to Texas-El Paso.
STARKVILLE -- Mississippi State was supposed to begin fall baseball practice Friday. The mounds of dirt and the absence of sod at Dudy Noble Field altered those plans. As of Thursday, the work to cover the new and improved drainage and irrigation system at the home field of the Bulldogs hadn’t been completed.
STARKVILLE — Splishing, splashing, and sploshing aren’t typical ingredients of a soccer match. But Rachel Wannek has experienced enough of those moments to feel right at home playing in inclement weather. The freshman showed Sunday just how comfortable she is in bad weather and on soggy fields when she scored on a 25-yard free kick in the second half to help the Mississippi State women’s soccer team earn a 1-1 overtime tie against No. 8 South Carolina at the MSU Soccer Field.
Mississippi State linebacker Jamar Chaney watched helplessly in Starkville last season as Georgia Tech’s triple-option offense dominated the Bulldogs. Chaney was recovering from a broken leg and didn’t make the trip to Atlanta for MSU’s 38-7 loss. Things got so bad for the Bulldogs, who surrendered 438 yards rushing, that Chaney turned off the television at halftime.
Georgia Tech doesn’t have a monopoly on the option offense. There are times when Mississippi State uses the scheme in its spread offense.
It’s not all about the option game for Georgia Tech quarterback Josh Nesbitt. Although he’s a key in what the Yellow Jackets try to do running the triple option primarily out of the wishbone, opponents also know Nesbitt can throw the football.
STARKVILLE — Mississippi State senior quarterback Tyson Lee is glad junior wide receiver Leon Berry joined the Bulldogs. On the field, Berry is a go-to player in coach Dan Mullen’s spread offense. Berry is equally valuable off the field because he can grill a pretty good steak. Lee has dined at Berry’s house and said his steaks are the best he has had in a while.
Donald Jackson, the attorney for Mississippi State men’s basketball signee Renardo Sidney, has taken his fight to Capitol Hill. In an attempt to get his client eligible to play for the Bulldogs, Jackson has requested intervention from the United State’s House of Representatives and Senate to investigate a pattern of racially selective conduct by the NCAA Enforcement Staff and Eligibility Center. Those concerns have been raised as Jackson attempts to clear up Sidney’s status as an amateur athlete.
Through four games this seasson, the only direction the Kentucky Wesleyan football team can go is up. That’s because the Panthers have lost their first four games by a combined score of 177-58. But Kentucky Wesleyan senior linebacker Kevin Baldwin isn’t letting his team’s slow start get him down. Baldwin, a 2006 graduate of Columbus High School and a transfer from Itawamba Community College in Fulton, believes the Panthers are capable of salvaging what’s left of the season.
STARKVILLE — The timing was perfect for Todd Bramble. Facing the prospect of playing three matches in six days, the University of Alabama women’s soccer coach wanted to substitute liberally Tuesday night against Mississippi State. The return of junior forward Kelly King from a high ankle sprain couldn’t have come at a better time. In her first game of the 2009 season, King proved her timing was pretty good, too.
STARKVILLE — Mississippi State football coach Dan Mullen is still trying to get his team’s passing game where it needs to be after four games. Through spring practice, offseason workouts, preseason drills and four regular-season games in Mullen’s spread offense, the Bulldogs have yet to click on all cylinders.
STARKVILLE -- There’s no silver-lining in a loss for Dan Mullen. Mississippi State’s football coach didn’t see anything as a positive coming out of Saturday’s 30-26 loss to seventh-ranked LSU. “We didn’t win the game and the most important thing is to win the game for us in the end,” Mullen said on his Sunday teleconference. “We’ve preached competition since the first day, but there’s a winner and a loser. There’s really good things that happen to winners and nothing good happens when you don’t win.”
STARKVILLE — Mississippi State was six inches away from scoring a go-ahead touchdown against the No. 7 team in the country. With 1 minute, 8 seconds left in Saturday’s game against the LSU Tigers, the Bulldogs were turned away.
STARKVILLE — Mississippi State senior tailback Anthony Dixon continues to add records to his resume. Dixon scored 12 points on a pair of touchdown runs Saturday in a 30-26 loss to No. 7 LSU to become the school’s all-time scoring leader with 222 points. He also extended his school record with 33 career touchdowns.
Leanna Baldner knows Hannah Tyler doesn’t have a problem being vocal. In fact, if a poll was taken of the Mississippi State soccer team, Tyler would likely be named the most outgoing player on the squad. On the other hand, Baldner is a quiet, lead-by-example player or, as she likes to put it, “more relaxed.” Despite their differences in style, Baldner and Tyler have teamed to play integral roles in MSU’s success this season.
The numbers say LSU’s running game is 10th in the Southeastern Conference. Mississippi State’s defensive players see something different on film. The Bulldogs are preparing like they are about to face one of the conference’s best running teams. One of their goals is to hold the Tigers below their 163.7 yards per game average when the teams meet at 11:21 a.m. Saturday (WCBI-TV) in a Southeastern Conference game in Starkville.
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3. Starkville Academy falls in state championship game HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
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5. Starkville defense swarms all over Southaven HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS