Bridge Building

Canadian Brandon Bridge was new to America when he first set foot on Mississippi State's campus as a freshman signal caller for Alcorn State. After leading St. Marellius High School to back to back championships during his junior and senior seasons on the prep level, Bridge was ready to test his skills on the collegiate level.

Bridge won the starting job and drew rave reviews in the early going. With three straight wins to begin the season, Braves' fans began comparing their talented frosh to their must beloved of sons, Steve McNair.

While those expectations proved a bit much and the praise lofty, Bridge was doing his part to bring hope to a SWAC program that had little success since the famed McNair walked the grounds of the Lorman, Mississippi campus.

With a 3-0 mark on the season, the 2010 Alcorn State Braves visited Mississippi State for an October afternoon affair.

The Bulldogs emerged victorious, 49-16, but the talented freshman from the land of the Maple Leaf made some fans among the Bulldog supporters.

With the game still somewhat in doubt, Bridge elected to keep on the zone read and then outran the Bulldog defense 78 yards for a score.

Mississippi State won the game and went on to a nine win season including a 52-14 shelling of Michigan, but fans around the state of Mississippi paid attention to how the Braves would finish behind their rookie gunslinger.

After two seasons, Bridge made the difficult decision to transfer from Alcorn State in hopes of landing on a D1 roster.

Bridge even inquired with Mississippi State as a fan of the spread offense that made Tim Tebow and Cam Newton college football stars.

After sorting through a few options, the true sophomore elected to sign with Coach Joey Jones and the Jaguars of South Alabama.

Needing to satisfy NCAA residency requirements for transfers, Bridge sat out the 2012 campaign.

The 2013 season saw Bridge play mainly in a relief role behind starter Ross Metheny who led the Jags to a six win season.

Bridge played in nine games a season ago, none as a starter.

He saw his most extensive action against Troy completing 11 of 20 passes and throwing for a score, while rushing for 54 yards.

In three of his appearances, Bridge did not complete a pass.

During his junior season, Bridge completed just 29 of 66 passes (43.9%) for 398 yards and one touchdown.

On the ground, #7 rushed for 170 yards and one score with a 4.6 yards per carry average.

In the spring of this year, Bridge earned the starting job and by all accounts has a much better command of the offense.

Last week, South Alabama traveled to Kent State, a team they defeated in 2013, 38-21.

Wet conditions greeted the Jags in their season opener, but Bridge found just enough offense to knock off the Flashes 23-13 and get the 2014 campaign off on the right foot.

Bridge rushed for 41 yards on 13 carries and threw for 161 yards and a score on 15 of 25 passing. The big blow was a 58 yard catch and run by Alabama transfer Marvin Shinn.

Bridge brings a unique set of skills to the South Alabama offense as well as some big play ability.

South Alabama is now reporting the game as a sell out, but the Jags are no stranger to big crowds. USA was not the least bit intimidated of Tennessee and their Neyland Stadium crowd of 87,266 mostly orange clad unfriendlies last year.

The Jags fell 31-24, but very easily could have won the game.

Bowl eligibility was achieved last fall, but South Alabama was not selected. If Coach Joey Jones and his staff are to break through and earn the program's first bowl bid, they will likely need more than the qualifying six wins.

A strong showing on Saturday, win or lose will only help the cause.

Having already faced the Bulldogs in their own back yard, now senior Brandon Bridge will be ready to go and do his best before the first every capacity crowd in South Alabama football history.

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