Feels Like the First Time

When the final horn sounded Saturday evening, the then ranked #3 Mississippi State Bulldogs had defeated familiar foe Auburn who entered the game ranked #2 nationally. While the math may not compute, 3 over 2 equaled 1 for Mississippi State. The rains came, but the parade to #1 continued with quarterback Dak Prescott serving as grand marshal.

The post game scene on Scott field was wild to say the least.

As players and coaches from both teams greeted each other and wished each other well with the remainder of the season, a party began in Davis Wade Stadium. A party, to borrow a pun, like say, 1999?

Make no mistake, the emotion pouring from every corner of the nation's second oldest stadium washed over all who stood on the playing surface.

A baptism of sorts, that this scribe will never forget, cleansed us all of those many frustrating moments that seem to come all too often and the disappointments of dreams unfulfilled.

As the Auburn players, coaches and support staff sought the refuge of the visitors' locker room, Josh Robinson, De'Runnya Wilson, Justin Cox and others charged into the stands and into the arms of an adoring student body who was as much a partner in the Bulldogs' win that pushed the boys in Maroon and White to the top of the college football mountain as a consensus #1.

Several Bulldogs shouted, "Take my picture!" Even those most responsible for the feelings of euphoria wanted their own keep sake of one of the biggest moments in their young lives.

Fans cheered, cowbells clanged, the band played and those who knew the words or could see through the tears to read the video boards sang the alma mater.

Former Bulldog quarterback Chris Relf smiled from the standing room only section, a veteran of some hard fought wars against Auburn. The Montgomery, Alabama native had a win over the Tigers today even if he cheered rather than barked out the signals from behind center.

Bulldog alums Devin Jones and Templeton Hardy explained that their razors have been on vacation, while the Bulldogs have been winning.

"I can't shave. We're undefeated," exclaimed Jones.

Mississippi State athletic director Scott Stricklin stood on the 50 yard line in the middle of the 100 Years of Football logo like a proud father.

The former Dawgsbite writer, now in charge of seemingly more important athletic matters, beamed with pride as his team, University and family celebrated perhaps the greatest victory in the annuls of Mississippi State football history.

Wayne Madkin hugged necks.

Mario Haggan slapped backs and laughed a big hearted laugh like someone had just told a new joke at an old family reunion.

Kenzaki Jones, the inventor of the Dawg Pound Rock shouted that the "Bulldogs were back on top!"

Bulldog offensive line coach John Hevesy growled at a few who tried to rush the field in the post game to stay off of the Bulldog's lawn.

Hevesy's delivery would make even the most crotchety of old men proud.

Dr. Mark Keenum exhaled. A president of the people and from the people, Keenum looked both emotionally and mentally exhausted.

His presidential address?

"We did it!"

As we media types waited for Coach Dan Mullen to arrive for the standard question and answer session, Bulldog legend Tyrone Keys ducked his head into the room and shared a solid moment or two of good tidings with our pal David Murray.

Mullen was jovial, emotional and confident, but at the same time pointed out that there remains a lot of football left to play.

When asked if he felt his Bulldogs were the top team in America, Mullen responded that he didn't have a vote, but that he loved his team. A team that he claims he would trade for no other.

As national scribes from CBS, ESPN, Sports Illustrated, Yahoo and others listened, Mullen laid out his true feelings about what had been accomplished and what was left to do.

The game day work is never done it seems.

After meeting with his team and then the media, Mullen headed back out to the Davis Wade stadium endzone to chat with Jim Ellis for the coach's show.

Once he cleared the tunnel, Mullen was greeted with applause by friends and family.

Megan Mullen shared a kiss with her husband and made sure his hair looked just right before she turned him over to the film crew.

The day was nearly done and what a day it was.

Bulldog fans around the globe laid their heads to rest last night with dreams of claiming the coveted spot as America's top ranked team.

Those dreams came true on Sunday afternoon as both the coaches and the Associated Press tabbed the Bulldogs as the #1 team in all of college football.

While Saturday served as a reunion of Bulldogs young and old, a celebration in front of a Bulldog family that is now daring to believe that this may be THE year, Sunday proved that all things are possible.

Some will say the Mississippi State run at #1 may be short lived should Florida State knock off top five Notre Dame next week.

That may happen, but it won't wash away today.

It won't change what has happened and what is to come.

Forgive us if we don't know how to act or to handle all of this new found glory.

We've never been here before.

Gene's Page Top Stories