Alabama/MSU game notes

The Alabama Crimson Tide football team (7-2, 4-1 SEC) returns home this weekend to meet the Mississippi State Bulldogs. The Tide has been on the road the last two games, at Tennessee and Vanderbilt, winning both games by a combined 64-22 score.

  • Alabama beat Vanderbilt, 30-8, last weekend and moved to No. 11 in the latest Associated Press poll.
  • Miss. State (3-5, 0-4 SEC) is unranked.
  • State had its two-game winning streak snapped this past weekend, suffering a 45-24 home loss to Kentucky.
  • Kickoff for this weekend's game is set for 1 p.m. (CST) and there will be no television for this game.
  • This will mark the first time since the 1995 Ole Miss game that an Alabama football game will not be carried on live television.
  • The game will be aired on the 80-plus station Crimson Tide Sports Network with Eli Gold (play-by-play) and Kenny Stabler (color analyst) describing the action. Tom Roberts will once again work the sidelines for the network broadcasts.

The Head Coaches

Alabama head coach Dennis Franchione is in his second season with the Crimson Tide and is part of an elite college coaching group with 150 or more career wins. Currently, there are only seven active coaches with 150 or more career wins and Franchione joined that group following a 42-7 win over Ole Miss on Oct. 19. In his first season, Coach Fran led Alabama to a 7-5 record, including a win over Iowa State in the Mainstay Independence Bowl. He is 14-7 (.667) in his tenure with the Crimson Tide. Overall, Franchione is in his 20th season as a head coach and has compiled a 152-72-2 (.677) lifetime ledger at Southwestern (Kansas) College, Pittsburg State, Southwest Texas State, New Mexico, TCU and Alabama.

Mississippi State head coach Jackie Sherrill is in his 25th season as a head coach, compiling a 178-106-4 (.625) record. In 12 seasons at Miss. State, Sherrill is 73-61-2 (.544), making him the winningest coach in MSU football lore. Sherrill has previous coaching stints at Texas A&M, Pittsburgh and Washington State.

The Series

The Crimson Tide has won 39 of the last 45 meetings with the Bulldogs with four of those losses coming in 1996, 1997, 1998 and 2000.
  • Alabama and Mississippi State meet for the 87th time this Saturday with the Crimson Tide holding a 68-15-3 (.808) series lead.
  • This is the longest running series in Alabama football history.
  • The two teams first met in 1896 with the Crimson Tide posting a 20-0 win in Tuscaloosa. In fact, the first six meetings were all shutouts, including five by Alabama.
  • Miss. State did not post its first win until an 11-0 victory in Columbus, Miss. during the 1903 season.
  • The 2002 season will mark the 55th consecutive year these two teams have met on the gridiron, having played every year since 1948.
  • For the most part, the series has been dominated by Alabama. The Crimson Tide recorded a 12-game unbeaten streak from 1919-34, posting an 11-0-1 record during that span. UA followed that up with a 10-game unbeaten streak (9-0-1) from 1942-53. Beginning in 1958, Alabama posted a 22-game winning streak over Miss. State.
  • The streak ended on Nov. 1, 1980 when the Bulldogs upset the No. 1 ranked Crimson Tide 6-3 at Mississippi Memorial Stadium in Jackson. The loss also snapped Alabama's school and SEC record 28-game winning streak.
  • Following the 1980 season, Alabama reeled off 15 consecutive wins (1981-95) over MSU, before dropping a 17-16 decision on Nov. 16, 1996 at Scott Field in Starkville. The one-point win was MSU's first-ever on-campus win over the Crimson Tide and first in the state of Mississippi since the upset win in 1980. MSU followed up that victory with two more wins in 1997 and 1998, giving the Bulldogs three straight wins over Alabama.
  • The three-game winning streak from 1996-98 equaled the longest in series history by the Bulldogs. MSU also won three straight games from 1912-14.
  • Since 1996, MSU has won four of the last six meetings with Alabama, but has lost the last two here at Bryant-Denny Stadium, including last year's 24-17 decision on Nov. 8.

Game Captains

Game captains for the Mississippi State game are Lane Bearden (punter), Alonzo Ephraim (center), Kenny King (defensive tackle) and Gerald Dixon (cornerback).

Tuscaloosa History Lesson

Mississippi State is the only team to have played Alabama at all three Tuscaloosa home sites. The Crimson Tide and Bulldogs have played on the Quad (1893-1914), Denny Field (1915-28) and Bryant-Denny Stadium (1929-present).
  • In addition, Mississippi State has won more games at Bryant-Denny Stadium (7) than any other Alabama opponent since the stadium opened in 1929. MSU's seven wins at Bryant-Denny Stadium accounts for 15.9 percent of UA's losses in this stadium since 1929.
  • The Bulldogs have recorded victories here at Bryant-Denny Stadium in 1935, 1940, 1941, 1954, 1955, 1957 and 1997.
  • Florida (4) and LSU (4) are the only other teams to win more than two games against Alabama here in Bryant-Denny Stadium.

Crimson Tide Legends

Three members of the 1992 National Championship team will be signing autographs prior to the Alabama-Miss. State game this Saturday. The trio will also deliver the game ball to the referee prior to kickoff. All-American and first-round draft pick George Teague, team captain Derrick Oden and Prince Wimbley will sign autographs on Saturday, Nov. from 11:15 a.m. until Noon in the Waste Management/Fuelman Legends Tent on the University quad.

In addition, the 2002-03 Alabama softball team will also be signing autographs his Saturday from 10:45 a.m. until 11:30 a.m. at the Mayfield Dairy Team Tent. Alabama's "Kickoff at the Quad" will begin at 10 a.m. this Saturday, three hours prior to the UA-MSU kickoff.

Bama/MSU Sites

The Alabama-Miss. State series has been hosted at eight different sites, with the majority of the games taking place in Tuscaloosa. The two teams have met 44 times in Tuscaloosa, with UA holding a 36-7-1 lead.
  • Alabama and Miss. State are playing in Tuscaloosa for the second consecutive year. The two teams met in Tuscaloosa last year on Nov. 8, with UA claiming a 24-17 come-from-behind win.
  • Alabama and MSU are meeting in Tuscaloosa in back-to-back years for the first time since the 1950s when UA hosted MSU six consecutive years at Bryant-Denny Stadium.
  • The last time Miss. State played Alabama on the road in consecutive years was 1978-79 when the Bulldogs travelled to Birmingham (1978) and Tuscaloosa (1979) in back-to-back seasons.
  • In games played in the state of Alabama, the Crimson Tide holds a 43-9-2 (.815) series lead.
  • In games played in the state of Mississippi, the Crimson Tide holds a 25-7-1 (.773) series lead.

Alabama/Mississippi State Notebook

  • The Alabama roster contains three players from the state of Mississippi, including redshirt freshman kicker Mike McLaughlin (Gauiter), sophomore receiver Thurman Ward (Starkville) and junior linebacker Cornelius Wortham (Calhoun City).
  • The Miss. State roster lists six players from the state of Alabama, including defensive tackle Lennie Day (Baker HS, Mobile), offensive tackle Avery House (Springville HS), center Blake Jones (Athens HS), offensive tackle David Stewart (Moulton, Ala. - Lawrence Co. HS), linebacker Glenn Thompson (Birmingham - Midfield HS), flanker Darius Tubbs (Bessemer - Jess Lanier HS).
  • Coach Fran is 1-0 (1.000) in his coaching career against Miss. State, leading Alabama to a 24-17 win in Tuscaloosa last year.
  • Mississippi State head coach Jackie Sherrill is a graduate of the University of Alabama, earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Administration in 1966. While at Alabama, Sherrill played seven different positions for the legendary Paul "Bear" Bryant from 1962-65. He lettered three years at Alabama and played on the Tide's 1964 and 1965 National Championship teams. In 1966, Sherrill served as a graduate assistant coach on Bryant's staff.
  • Sherrill is 5-8 (.385) in his career against his alma mater, including a 5-6 (.455) record at Miss. State. Sherrill was also 0-2 (.000) as head coach against Alabama while coaching at Texas A&M, losing in 1985 (23-10, Legion Field) and 1988 (30-10, College Station, Hurricane Bowl).
  • Alabama offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Les Koenning, Jr., served as quarterbacks coach and receivers coach at Miss. State in the 1980s. Koenning worked for coach Rockey Felker from 1986-89, before taking a position as receivers coach at Rice in 1990.
  • Alabama receivers coach Kenith Pope served as linebackers coach at Miss. State under coach Jackie Sherrill from 1991-94. Pope was on Sherrill's first MSU staff during the 1991 season.
  • First-year Alabama assistant coach Melvin Smith (safeties) spent the previous seven seasons as an assistant coach at Miss. State. Smith coached the wide receivers in 1995 and then moved to defensive backs coach (1996-2001), where he spent the last six seasons under Jackie Sherrill.
  • MSU defensive backs coach Curley Hallman is a former Alabama assistant coach under Paul Bryant (1973-76) and Gene Stallings (1996-97). A native of Northport, Ala., Hallman graduated from Tuscaloosa County HS and later played for Stallings at Texas A&M.
  • MSU coordinator of football operations Rockey Felker is also a former assistant coach at Alabama under Ray Perkins (1983-86).
  • MSU offensive tackles and tight end coach Terry Lewis worked on Carl Torbush's staff at North Carolina. Lewis was the offensive line coach at UNC during Torbush's three-year tenure (1998-2000) as head coach. In fact, Lewis was the first assistant coach hired by Torbush at North Carolina.
  • MSU receivers coach Craig Stump played collegiately at Texas A&M and faced the Crimson Tide as a player during the 1986 season at Legion Field. Alabama won the game 23-10.
  • Alabama Chancellor Dr. Malcom Portera is the former President at Miss. State University. Portera was named MSU's 16th president on Jan. 1, 1999 and remained in that position until accepting the post as UA's Chancellor this past summer. Prior to his tenure at Miss. State, Portera spent more than two decades of his administrative life at the University of Alabama, where he worked in Alabama's offices of academic affairs and research and served as executive assistant to two president's before being named vice president.
  • Following his tenure at the University of Alabama, Portera served as Vice Chancellor of the UA system, representing the interests of three campuses in Tuscaloosa, Huntsville and Birmingham. Portera also earned his Ph.D. in political science from the Capstone.
  • Alabama kicker Mike McLaughlin played on the same high school football team (Gautier HS) as MSU split end Ray Ray Bivens and flanker Antonio Hargro.
  • Alabama receiver Thurman Ward and MSU defensive lineman Jason Clark were high school teammates at Starkville HS.
  • Miss. State freshman split end Tee Milons is the younger brother of former Alabama receiver Freddie Milons (1998-2001).
  • Alabama wide receiver Zach Fletcher and MSU offensive lineman David Stewart played high school football together at Lawrence County High School in Moulton.
  • Alabama offensive lineman Mark Sanders and MSU offensive tackle Avery House played on the same high school team at Springville HS.

No Television

Alabama is playing its first non-televised since a 23-9 win at Ole Miss on Oct. 21, 1995. That is a streak of 84 consecutive games televised dating back to the 1995 season. In addition, the Alabama-Miss. State is not being televised for the first time since Oct. 29, 1988 when David Casteal scored four rushing touchdowns to lead Alabama to a 53-34 win at Scott Field in Starkville.

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