TAMPA, Fla. -- When Joe Moorhead was introduced as Mississippi State's football coach 13 months ago, he felt there were enough similarities between his offense and his predecessor's, Dan Mullen, to label the systems "same church, different pew."
TAMPA, Fla. -- Nick Fitzgerald stood with his hands on his hips near the midfield logo of Raymond James Stadium and stared at nothing. The Mississippi State senior quarterback's face was blank as bodies whizzed by him, some in jubilation and some in dejection, and he processed the end of his career as a Bulldog.
TAMPA, Fla. -- Willie Gay Jr. had a moment of fear for Kylin Hill.
TAMPA, Fla. -- Keytaon Thompson touched the ball four times in the Outback Bowl but never attempted a pass.
If Mississippi State's backup quarterback is Nick Fitzgerald's successor in 2019, he will touch the ball much more often and likely do most of it as a passer.
TAMPA, Fla. -- A familiar story played out Tuesday for the No. 18 Mississippi State football team.
No. 18 MSU's defense held Iowa to -15 yards rushing on 20 carries in the Outback Bowl, but it wasn't enough, as MSU lost 27-22.
TAMPA -- After a litany of missed opportunities, the No. 18 Mississippi State football team still had one more.
STARKVILLE -- When Tem Lukabu was Colgate's leading linebacker at the beginning of the millennium, the spread offense hadn't reached the Patriot League. The league was still filled with traditional offenses that featured downhill running, fullbacks in active roles, and more pulling guards than quick screens.
STARKVILLE -- Tommy Champion's introduction to meaningful college football snaps came against No. 1 Alabama.
Champion wasn't thrown into the fire out of necessity. He earned the right to be on the field against the Crimson Tide, so Mississippi State offensive line coach Marcus Johnson put him out there.
Brenda Simmons watched as her son, Jeffery, became a public villain.
Then they leaned on each other to deal with the fallout.
STARKVILLE -- Mississippi State's second-leading scorer, Lamar Peters, finished the Bulldogs' final non-conference game with zero points. He missed all three 3-pointers he took and the Bulldogs around him weren't that much better, ending at a December-low 33.3 percent.
STARKVILLE -- Mississippi State got the entire defensive staff that produced the nation's second-best defense by yards per play allowed for cheaper than LSU pays defensive coordinator Dave Aranda.
STARKVILLE -- Lamar Peters, usually good for 10 shot attempts per game, took only three Saturday against BYU. Yet Mississippi State found itself in a fast-paced game with the Cougars, resulting in 70 shots compared to the average of 59.
STARKVILLE -- Joe Moorhead makes self-deprecating jokes about it now, but in the spring and summer of 1996 he wanted to play professional football.
STARKVILLE -- Nick Fitzgerald was born to an American man and an Icelandic woman living in Germany.
Mississippi State football player Jace Christmann's most recent obsession is rooted in the notion that a Division I football player has no special talent.
STARKVILLE -- Phil Helmuth watches Mississippi State football games conflicted with pride and a longing for what could have been.
STARKVILLE -- Jeffery Simmons knows time is of the essence.
As he was considering whether 2018 would be his last season as a member of the Mississippi State football team, the last few weeks weighed on his mind.
Ben Howland did everything he could to convince fans of the Mississippi State men's basketball team about Wofford. He was willing to distribute highlight clips to media members. He created the time for a media availability before the game to ensure it received the proper buildup.
STARKVILLE -- Three years is all Jeffery Simmons needed to draw the attention of NFL franchises.
STARKVILLE -- Coming off a season in which the Mississippi State football team displayed its strength at the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball, coach Joe Moorhead's first recruiting class made strides to help the Bulldogs maintain those advantages.
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