When Marquiss Spencer exits the Mississippi State charter plane in Provo, it will mark the farthest trip west the the talented defensive end has ever made. This year has proven to be a year of many firsts for Spencer who flew for the first time earlier this season.
"It's just a two and a half our flight," Spencer said as if he needed to reassure himself. "I've never been to BYU, but I am looking forward to playing them. I look forward to getting more experience.
"I had never flown before in my life until this year. I flew for the first time to LSU and I was so happy. I was with my teammates and everybody gets along. We just had fun.
"I went to Boston and I got to play in my favorite team's stadium, the (New England) Patriots. I was glad about playing there, because it shows me where I can be if I work hard. I can put myself there someday."
Spencer has found a spot in the Mississippi State defensive line rotation. His first college action involved him running down the field looking for someone to tackle. Against Auburn, Spencer was much more involved in the Bulldog defensive efforts recording a season best four tackles.
"It's been going good," Spencer said. "I have been learning more experience. I get more time off of the field to learn more plays. I started on kickoff at first and then I learned more about the defense."
While most of his signing classmates are redshirting this fall, Spencer found out during fall camp that he had the chance to get on the field this year. In the weeks leading up to the 2016 season, Spencer found out first hand that there is a big difference between high school and college.
"A whole lot of stuff happened," Spencer said. "I had to stay focused and play harder and do what I do. It was more about speed and (playing) against bigger people."
In the end, defensive line coach Brian Baker had to sign off on Spencer being ready to play as a true freshman. While the former four star edge setter has shown flashes, his position coach pushes him to improve in all facets of his game.
"My false step and having (better) vision on the ball," Spencer said were areas for improvement. "(Baker) is always telling me that I have to put my weight on my front foot before I get off of the ball.
The hard work and attention to detail appear to be paying off. Last week against Auburn, Spencer was able to shed a block and get Tiger quarterback Sean White on to the ground for a sack. The tackle for loss was the first of many big plays to come for the talented Spencer.
"I was very happy, because it's an SEC game against Auburn," Spencer explained. "I was so happy, but I still got more sacks to come. It felt good. It felt really good, because I'm a true freshman. Most freshmen don't get a sack like I did."
Spencer and the rest of the Bulldogs will look to get their hands on BYU ball carriers this week in an effort to achieve win number three on the 2016 season. Kickoff is set for 9:15 CT as the Bulldogs look to take an important step forward towards bowl eligibility.