STARKVILLE -- Dan Mullen will be in familiar territory Friday when he steps off the plane in Providence, Rhode Island. The Mississippi State football coach was raised in Manchester, New Hampshire, and played tight end at Ursinus College in Collegeville, Pennsylvania. A huge New England Patriots and Boston Red Sox fan, Mullen will take his team to his old stomping grounds this weekend when MSU (1-2) plays Massachusetts (1-2) at 2:30 p.m. Saturday (WCBI) at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts.
Ole Miss football coach Hugh Freeze knows how close his team is to becoming one of the best in the nation. Despite a 1-2 record, the Rebels have been competitive against one of the nation's best schedules. In losses to top-five programs Florida State and Alabama, Ole Miss squandered 21-point leads in both games. No. 23 Ole Miss (0-1 Southeastern Conference) will try again to play a complete game at 11 a.m. Saturday (ESPN) when it plays host to Southeastern Conference rival and No. 12 Georgia (3-0, 1-0) at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium in Oxford.
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Alabama football coach Nick Saban couldn't find much fault in the Crimson Tide's physical effort, heart, and fight. The missed blocks, costly busted coverage and onside kick allowed are entirely different matters. Top-ranked Alabama survived those miscues and a scoop-and-score fumble in a come-from-way-behind 48-43 victory Saturday against then-No. 19 Ole Miss. It wasn't always pretty.
OXFORD -- After a touchdown-filled, humidity-drenched Southeastern Conference showdown, the No. 1 Alabama football team and coach Nick Saban are still undefeated. Just barely.
Young. That is how Mississippi State football coach Dan Mullen described his team Saturday night after a 23-20 loss to then-No. 20 LSU at Tiger Stadium.
OXFORD -- Things were looking really good for the then-No. 19 Ole Miss football team on Saturday in its SEC West showdown against No. 1 Alabama. Junior defensive end Marquise Haynes had just sacked freshman quarterback Jalen Hurts near midfield and forced a fumble. Rebel senior defensive end John Youngblood scooped up the loose ball and scampered 44 yards for a seemingly comfortable 24-3 lead with 2 minutes, 47 seconds left in the first half.
BATON ROUGE, La. -- After struggling in the first half and not taking advantage of opportunities in the third quarter, the Mississippi State football offense finally came alive.
BATON ROUGE, La. -- Westin Graves showed his versatility Saturday night.
BATON ROUGE, La. -- Getting off the field on third down in the first half was a problem for the Mississippi State football defense.
OXFORD -- Alabama coach Nick Saban doesn't know how many of these roller coaster rides he can take.
SCOOBA -- In a litany of obscene offensive numbers, special teams play often gets lost in the shuffle in the Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges. On Thursday night, the No. 14 East Mississippi Community College football team needed the play of its special teams to be special to win its home opener. The unit was just that and played a key role in a 54-10 victory against Northeast Mississippi C.C. before an overflow crowd at Sullivan-Windham Field.
STARKVILLE -- Mississippi State football coach Dan Mullen and the Bulldogs (1-1, 1-0 Southeastern Conference) will play their first road game of the season at 6 p.m. Saturday (ESPN2) when they take on No. 20 LSU (1-1, 0-0) at Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The last time the Bulldogs played in Baton Rouge, quarterback Dak Prescott led the team to a 34-29 win. It was MSU's first win in Baton Rouge since 1991, and the first against the Tigers since 1999. Tiger Stadium and the Tigers haven't been kind to the Bulldogs. LSU won 21-19 last season at Davis Wade Stadium in Starkville. The Tigers are a double-digit favorite.
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- The No. 1 Alabama football team's passing game no longer is primarily the Calvin Ridley show. ArDarius Stewart has muscled his way into a co-starring role for the top-ranked Crimson Tide with a dogged running style after the catch and a knack for the deep ball. Both delivered big plays and catches last season but it was Ridley who emerged as one of college football's bigger receiving stars even as a freshman. It's been a role held by eventual top-10 draft picks Julio Jones and Amari Cooper during Nick Saban's decade in Tuscaloosa, but none have had a fellow receiver quite like Stewart.
STARKVILLE -- Jordan Thomas wasn't going to let the linebacker get the best of him. South Carolina linebacker D.J. Smith had a bead on the ball and had a chance to get an interception and deny MSU a touchdown. When Mississippi State quarterback Nick Fitzgerald under the football in the end zone, Thomas knew he had to make a play, so he used his big 6-foot-5, 295-pound frame to deny Smith an interception. Thomas then used his big hands to rip the ball from Smith's grasp and score his first touchdown in a 27-14 victory last Saturday night at Davis Wade Stadium.
STARKVILLE -- A.J. Jefferson spends a lot of his free time watching film. The Mississippi State defensive lineman studies the action to see his mistakes so he can correct them. He also watches film to analyze his good plays and to break down offensive linemen he will face in an attempt to find ways to beat them.
OXFORD -- Ole Miss football coach Hugh Freeze isn't expecting any miracles from his running game Saturday against No. 1 Alabama. Instead, a few "dirty yards" will do.
STARKVILLE -- For the first time since 2013, the 2017 Battle for the Golden Egg will be played on Thanksgiving night, the Southeastern Conference announced Tuesday. MSU will play host to Ole Miss on Thursday, Nov. 23, 2017, at Davis Wade Stadium. It marks the first year of a multi-year agreement to play the Egg Bowl on Thanksgiving night. MSU didn't specify what years past 2017 the Egg Bowl will be on Thanksgiving.
Mario Lanier is still learning in his second year with the East Mississippi Community College football program. "There is so much to play on this level," Lanier said. "Even when you think you know it all, you learn so much more. In junior college ball, you are here and then gone in two years, so it's kind of strange. You never really quit learning and then your time is done."
Intimidation shouldn't be one of the emotions the No. 19 Ole Miss football team experiences this week while preparing for No. 1 Alabama. That's because the Rebels (1-1) have beaten the Crimson Tide (2-0) in each of the last two seasons. At 2:30 p.m. Saturday (WCBI) at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium in Oxford, Ole Miss will try to become the first team to defeat a Nick Saban-coached Alabama squad in three consecutive seasons.
STARKVILLE -- Mississippi State football coach Dan Mullen has been pleased with how his team has outscored South Alabama and South Carolina 41-0 in the first half in the first two games of the season. But MSU has been outscored 35-6 in the third and fourth quarters in both games. The second-half letdown played an integral role in a 21-20 loss to the Jaguars.
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