"We are ready," defensive end Tenarius Wright said. "We'll hit until the whistle blows. It's time and we are excited. We are all very much ready to do that."
Defensive coordinator Willy Robinson notices the excitement running through the squad.
"They're so antsy right now," Robinson said. "The one thing they've been doing a great job of is self-control. Generally at this point in time in camp you've got a lot of fisticuffs and I think it's really shown a lot of our maturity to not lose our structure of what we're trying to get done, and making sure we understand discipline. They're ready to hit some people."
Missouri State has had some issues at quarterback and Robinson said it's a wait and see approach as to what the Hogs will find Saturday night.
"You're not sure what approach they're going to take," Robinson said. "We're assuming they're going to two-platoon their guys. The redshirt freshman Jenkins is an awfully tall athlete and supposedly has a very good arm. He had a very good high school career. Harris from Texarkana is a really good athlete. He's not the biggest guy in the world but he's a good athlete, really a scat guy.
"They both seem to be very mobile so we have to be conscious of that. We're not real sure what we're going to get out of either of those guys. On the offensive line they have one returning starter so we'd like to think we can take advantage of our seniority and our experience against their inexperience on the offensive front. They have great skill kids. 85 is a very talented kid and 1 is a very talented kid. The two running backs are probably the best in their division. They're very explosive running backs and they do a great job of running the football."
The Hogs will start two junior college transfers in tackle Robert Thomas and linebacker Alonzo Highsmith.
"I think it will be great just to see how they handle the jitters of it all," Robinson said. "They haven't been in that atmosphere. Obviously we've had some scrimmages and stuff but it's not like the stands are full with 85,000 people like they're going to experience when they walk through that hog walk for the first time and now they're going through that 'A' for the first time and there are all those people calling the hogs.
"That could be an emotional situation that if they don't come in there clear-headed and really knowledgeable about what they're doing, there's no telling what could happen. They're very, very good football players and can be very dominant football players. It seems like they have hot and cold spells but we're certainly very glad they're a part of our team."
Robinson has watched Eric Bennett and Elton Ford battle during the spring and fall for the safety job. Both will play.
"We'll see how the game goes," Robinson said. "I'm going to start Eric. Elton has a role and stuff, but I'm going to start Eric. He's done a very good job in our scrimmages."
Free safety Tramain Thomas said it will be easy to be excited Saturday night.
"We have no trouble getting fired up to come play football, the game we love," Thomas said. "I think whoever we play, we're going to be fired up because we play the game.
"It's been a long time coming. We're ready to go out and perform, and show the nation what we're all about."