VOL. 129 | NO. 220 | Tuesday, November 11, 2014
Mississippi State’s Historic Season Continues
By Don Wade
No doubt, Mississippi State’s season turns on what happens next Saturday at Alabama. But for a moment, let us consider what the Bulldogs have done so far in running out to a 9-0 start, 5-0 in the SEC, and claiming the top spot in the national polls.
Mississippi State University’s 9-0 start is leading the Bulldogs to historic places, including the best start to a season in program history.
(AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)
First, they have won 12 straight games dating to 2013. If they make it 13 in a row, that will tie the school record set during World War II from Oct. 17, 1942 to Nov. 11, 1944. The 9-0 start is the best in program history; the Bulldogs were 9-0-1 through 10 games in the 1940 season when they played to a 7-7 tie in week three with Auburn.
They’ve already shattered the school record for points in a season (361) and total yards (4,699).
Quarterback and Heisman Trophy candidate Dak Prescott is now MSU’s all-time leader in “touchdowns responsible for” with 29. Prescott also has had a hand in 14 third-down touchdowns (nine passing, five rushing) and that ranks first among FBS schools.
And if the Bulldogs lose at Alabama, all that will be forgotten – at least for a while.
“We’re in the middle of November competing for first place in the SEC West,” coach Dan Mullen said. “Which is what it’s all about.”
Said Prescott: “It means everything. To play in big-time games in November means you’re playing for championships. To go to Tuscaloosa being the hunted is a challenge we are willing to take.”
Alabama (8-1, 4-1) needed overtime to get out of Death Valley with a 20-13 victory over LSU Saturday night. Quarterback Blake Sims engineered the season-saving drive in the last 50 seconds of regulation that set up a game-tying field goal.
Until that drive, LSU had held Alabama to one first down in the second half.
Sims told the Birmingham News that having watched film of former Bama quarterback A.J. McCarron helped calm him in the moment.
“I saw the composure he had and I was glad I was able to do the same thing,” Sims said.
• A week after a heart-stopping win at Ole Miss, Auburn (7-2, 4-2) felt the sting of a 41-38 home loss to Texas A&M. “It hurts,” Tigers coach Gus Malzahn said. “We had goals and dreams.” Two lost fourth-quarter fumbles doomed Auburn.
• Georgia (7-2, 5-2), which plays host to Auburn this week, rebounded from the upset loss to Florida with a 63-31 victory over Kentucky as QB Hutson Mason threw a career-best four touchdown passes. The Bulldogs’ 43.0 points for ranks seventh in the nation. Georgia beat Missouri head-to-head so it can still win the East by winning out if one-loss Missouri drops one of its last three league games.
• Missouri (7-2, 4-1) can clinch the SEC East by winning out; that would send the Tigers to Atlanta for the SEC title game for a second straight season. The Tigers have won three straight and their 19.3 points against per game is 15th in the country. Starting CB Aarion Penton has been suspended indefinitely after a misdemeanor charge for marijuana possession.
• When Florida defensive lineman Leon Orr learned he wasn’t starting the Vanderbilt game, he left the team, reportedly taking a bus back to Gainesville. “I said you go home, you’re done,” coach Will Muschamp said. “You’re not a Florida Gator anymore.”
• Another week, another chance for Arkansas to get an SEC win. The Razorbacks (4-5, 0-5) have lost 17 straight SEC games dating to 2012. Arkansas also has lost in overtime this season to Texas A&M and by a 14-13 score to Alabama. The Hogs get a visit from LSU this week.
• After a 5-1 start, Kentucky (5-5, 2-5) has lost four straight SEC games. With Kentucky’s last game of the season at Louisville, which has seven wins, the Wildcats probably have to beat Tennessee this week to get to six wins and bowl eligibility. Tennessee (4-5, 1-4) is coming off a bye week after defeating South Carolina in overtime. LB A.J. Johnson is tied for second in the SEC with 83 tackles.