Gene Swindoll, Gene's Page

Mississippi State defensive end talks about his team's up coming game on the road at Missouri.

They say that you cannot teach an old dog new tricks. That may be true for man's best friend, but the college football canines of Mississippi State are excited about a new experience. For the first time in school history, the Bulldogs of Mississippi State and the Tigers of Missouri will face off in an SEC conference game. Bulldog defensive end Ryan Brown reports that he is excited about the trip to Columbia.

"It's like I said at media day," Brown said. "I couldn't wait to get to this game, because I have never been to Missouri. It's going to be a great game and a great atmosphere. It's a Thursday night game in primetime, so it's going to be a big game."

The Bulldogs are currently ranked in both the AP and the USA Today Coaches' Polls. A strong showing on the road in front of a national audience could help the Bulldogs earn more national respect.

"Going into these last four games, we want to be able to send a message that we are getting better," Brown said. "We want to be able to show people that we are on the way up."

Coming off of their one bye week of the 2015 regular schedule, Brown reports that the time off allowed the Bulldogs to get a bit of head start on their preparations for the road test at Missouri. 

"It was great to rest," Brown said. "I know a lot of guys are banged up, so it gave us some time to heal up and refresh. We are ready for this journey."

The Tigers have been in the headlines recently with the news of star quarterback Maty Mauk being suspended for the remainder of the season. While Mississippi State is looking to remain focused on their own execution, Brown reports that they have heard the news regarding the talented signal caller's suspension. 

According to Brown, the Bulldogs' task remains unchanged no matter who lines up under center for Missouri.

"You know we see all of that, but we are playing Missouri and not Maty Mauk," Brown explained. "It's a team thing and not just one person. Those guys played solid in a couple of games without him. They have a solid offense and a great defense. We just have to play our game and be ready for them to play hard."

While the Tigers have seen their share of struggles on offense. they are just a few plays away from being 6-2 rather than 4-4. The Mississippi State coaching staff illustrated that point earlier this week to the Bulldog defenders in a highlight video where the Tigers were just inches away from changing the game.

"They are not a bad team," Brown said. "The film doesn't lie. They are a very physical team and they're a big team. We know that they are hungry right now. They had a bye week too, so we expect them to come out fresh just like we are.

"If you look at their record, you might think that they were just off these last couple of games. If you really look at it, then you can see that they are just a play or two away from winning just about every game they've played in. They could be undefeated right now, but it just hasn't happened for them."

While the Tigers have lost three in a row, the Bulldogs have won three in a row in impressive fashion. The three game stretch saw the Bulldogs score 40 points or more in three straight games for the first time in school history.

Bulldog fans have been treated to some quality football in recent weeks, but Brown reports that the Bulldogs got just as much enjoyment from their fans during the mid-season home stand.

"We are going to miss it," Brown said of playing at home. "We know we have another game coming up here, so we will be back soon. Our fans were a big part of why we got better. They expect a lot from of us and it's just a party out there at Davis Wade. We enjoy having fun with our fans."

A win on Thursday would bring the Bulldogs to 7-2 on the 2015 slate. Two of the final three games on the schedule will take place in the Bulldogs' back yard. Brown reports that his team knows what is at stake and how important a win would be this week.

"This could be the start of something big." Brown explained. "If we win on out and finish with ten games (won), then that's a different bowl game compared to losing these games."

Brown has been a part of some great Mississippi State teams. Now a senior, the New Orleans native realizes that the curtain will soon be closing on his college career.

"You know you kind of took for granted the past few years," Brown explained. "Now you only have a couple more home games. I was talking to my family about the last game of the season that is going to be here. It's a big thing. Things come full circle."

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