STARKVILLE -- Mississippi State football coach Dan Mullen knows the importance of conference openers. In his previous seven seasons, Mullen is 2-5 in Southeastern Conference openers. The wins came in 2012 against Auburn and in 2014 against LSU. MSU finished 4-4 in 2012 and second in the SEC Western Division in 2014 with a 6-2 record. Mullen hopes his Bulldogs can duplicate the results of 2012 and 2014 at 6 p.m. Saturday (ESPN2) when they play host to South Carolina (1-0, 1-0) in its SEC opener at Davis Wade Stadium. SEC Nation, SEC Network's on-campus pre-game show, will be live from the Junction at 9 a.m.
PERKINSTON -- De'Andre Johnson reminded everybody Thursday night he still knows how to play football. Johnson threw for 224 yards and three touchdowns as No, 12 EMCC knocked off No. 17 Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College 45-7 before a capacity crowd at A.L. May Stadium.
PERKINSTON -- East Mississippi Community College sophomore linebacker Diamante Pounds knew the moment his team's defense had seized control of the game. "It is like there is blood in the water and we are sharks getting ready to attack," Pounds said. "When we force one turnover, it is easy to get another. We just start feeding off that. You can tell when the other team is beaten down." No. 12 EMCC held No. 17 Mississippi Gulf Coast C.C. to 168 yards and forced four turnovers Thursday night en route to a 45-7 victory before a capacity crowd at A.L. May Stadium.
Perry Orth is feeling a little more pressure this week. The South Carolina senior quarterback kept receiving videos from his mother, Anna, last Saturday. Anna was in Starkville to watch South Alabama beat Mississippi state 21-20 at Davis Wade Stadium. Perry's younger brother, Evan, is a backup quarterback for the Jaguars.
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Damien Harris was the answer to the second-biggest question facing Alabama's backfield on opening week: Who's the starting tailback? While most of the focus was on the top-ranked Crimson Tide's quarterback competition, Harris grabbed the edge in the battle of former five-star runners vying to replace Heisman Trophy winner Derrick Henry.
The No. 19 Ole Miss football team doesn't have much time to sulk after its marquee Labor Day matchup against Florida State didn't go the way it had hoped. The 19th-ranked Rebels didn't return to campus until 4 a.m. on Tuesday and then had to quickly begin preparation for its home opener on Saturday against Wofford.
Alex Warren knew she wasn't done.
STARKVILLE -- As Leo Lewis thinks about his collegiate debut, he is surprised with how well he played.
STARKVILLE -- After a first half filled with offensive highs, the Mississippi State football team couldn't replicate that in the second half.
STARKVILLE -- As Fred Ross let the question sink in, he let out a breath and shook his head.
STARKVILLE -- Mississippi State football coach Dan Mullen isn't hitting the panic button after a season-opening loss to South Alabama. MSU entered its game against South Alabama as a four-touchdown favorite. The Bulldogs built a 17-0 lead only to see the Jaguars rally and then escape Davis Wade Stadium with a 21-20 victory after Westin Graves missed a 28-yard field goal in the final seconds.
ORLANDO, Fla. -- Deondre Francois was a little concerned after his first couple of drives Monday night. Things weren't going the way Florida State's redshirt freshman quarterback had hoped. Some critical passes floated high, some fell short, and the fourth-ranked Seminoles trailed No. 11 Ole Miss by 22 points before the end of the first quarter.
STARKVILLE -- As the sun beat down on a half-empty Davis Wade Stadium, Mississippi State football coach Dan Mullen was faced with an improbable situation. After watching MSU build a 17-0 halftime lead, Mullen was left to give his team's fate to kicker Westin Graves with nine seconds remaining. A four-touchdown favorite entering Saturday's season opener against South Alabama, Mullen had to hope Graves was going to revert to the form that saw him make two field goals earlier in the game, including a career-long 48-yarder.
STARKVILLE -- Damian Williams' role as a backup didn't last long. The Mississippi State junior quarterback served as Nick Fitzgerald's backup Saturday at the start of the season-opening game against South Alabama at Davis Wade Stadium, but Williams entered the game after two series and led a touchdown drive on his first series. From there, Williams played all but one series and statistically had a solid day, but he and the Bulldogs came up on the short end of a 21-20 upset.
STARKVILLE -- After a lot of turnover in the offseason, 18 players made their debuts Saturday in the Mississippi State football team's season-opening 21-20 loss to South Alabama at Davis Wade Stadium. Redshirt freshman linebacker Leo Lewis was one of those players who saw his first playing time. He led MSU with nine tackles (two for loss).
OXFORD -- Ole Miss football coach Hugh Freeze made a surprise choice to protect his team's most valuable asset. Junior Rod Taylor will be the starter at left tackle when No. 11 Ole Miss plays No. 4 Florida State on Monday in Orlando, Florida. That means the 6-foot-3, 329-pounder -- who has never made a start at either tackle spot -- will be charged with protecting quarterback Chad Kelly's blindside against the Seminoles' talented defense.
ELLISVILLE -- Dakota Allen, Tim Bonner, and Chauncey Rivers made plays against Division I opposition last season. The setting was much different Thursday night when they played in the season opener for their new team, top-ranked East Mississippi Community College. Still, leadership was needed and plays were to be made. In the end, short-handed EMCC didn't make enough of them in a 27-25 loss to Jones County Junior College before a crowd of 5,500 at Bobcat Stadium.
STARKVILLE -- It has been a long wait for the 2016 college football season since Southeastern Conference Media Days in July. A humid August filled with training camps only made the wait seem that much longer, but that wait and all of the speculation and prognostications will end at 11 a.m. Saturday when the Mississippi State football team plays host to South Alabama at Davis Wade Stadium. The SEC Network will broadcast the game live.
When Dylan Bradley arrived at Southern Mississippi, he had signed on with a football program that went 0-12 the previous season. Three years later, Bradley has been a key cog in getting the Golden Eagles back on the map. Last season, the Noxubee County High School product started 13 games at defensive end and helped the team to the Conference USA championship game and the Heart of Dallas Bowl.
Trae Collins never will forget his first career start. It was a little more than eight months ago that the Southern Mississippi redshirt sophomore defensive back drew a start against Washington in the Heart of Dallas Bowl. "I worked hard for it for a long time," said Collins, a former New Hope High School standout.
1. Mullen balances calling plays, running team COLLEGE SPORTS
2. Shorter hopes Noxubee County can follow 2015 path HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
3. Columbus awaits region showdown vs. No. 3 Tupelo HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
4. Offensive line has fueled Starkville High's success HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
5. Plenty of big region matchups set for Friday LOCAL COLUMNS