The Mississippi State-Memphis game marks the 65th time in school history that a football game highlights a weekend designed for graduates of the school to return to campus. MSU owns a 43-18-3 (.695) all-time record in homecoming games.
STATE LOOKS TO BUILD ON HOMECOMING STREAK
Mississippi State has won eight of its last nine homecoming games, dating back to the 1994 season. Last season's 11-8 win over Troy State avenged MSU's only loss during that streak, a 21-9 TSU win in '01.
MEMPHIS TRAILS ONLY USM AS HOMECOMING FOE
This weekend's homecoming game marks the fifth time the University of Memphis (formerly known as Memphis State University) has served as Mississippi State's alumni-day opponent. With its fifth appearance as the homecoming opponent, Memphis joins Alabama as the second-most-played foe for this particular weekend. Southern Mississippi has been MSU's homecoming opponent eight times.
STATE LOOKS TO BUILD ON NON-TV RECORD
Mississippi State has posted a 13-12 record over the last six seasons in games not shown to a live television audience. The Bulldogs, however, have won just once (Vanderbilt last week) in the last six such games (Arkansas, Alabama and Kentucky in 2002; Tulane and Houston in 2003).
BULLDOGS SOLID VS. NON-SEC SCHOOLS
Mississippi State has posted a 150-111-10 (.572) record all-time against teams that are not members of the Southeastern Conference, an impressive 29-11-1 (.720) mark in regular-season, non-conference games since Jackie Sherrill assumed the head coaching reins in 1991. MSU has won 12 of its last 18 games against non-conference competition.
MISSISSIPPI STATE IMPRESSIVE VS. C-USA TEAMS
Mississippi State has posted a 78-60-3 (.564) record against teams that currently comprise Conference USA. The Bulldogs, however, will be looking for their first victory of the year against C-USA competition. State earlier dropped games against Tulane and Houston. Those two setbacks, however, ended a streak of 10 straight State wins over C-USA members since 1993.
STATE SEEKS 10TH STRAIGHT TRIUMPH VS. TIGERS
Mississippi State has defeated Memphis nine straight times, dating back to the 1994 season. That streak of wins is the third-longest MSU win skein against a single opponent in school history. The Bulldogs also defeated then-Memphis State University nine straight times from 1951-61. Only a 14-game win streak against Arkansas State (1950-92) and a 13-game span against Mississippi (1911-25) are longer such streaks.
BULLDOGS LOOK FOR RARE BACK-TO-BACK WINS
Mississippi State will aim to win back-to-back games for the first time in 10 games this weekend. The Bulldogs earned two straight wins in mid-2002, defeating Troy State and Memphis in back-to-back weekends.
MISSISSIPPI STATE-MEMPHIS TICKET UPDATE
Tickets still remain for the Mississippi State-Memphis homecoming game at Davis Wade Stadium at Scott Field. A crowd in the neighborhood of 45,000 is expected for the MSU-Memphis match-up. MSU's largest homecoming crowd ever was the 49,546 that saw State beat Troy State last year. The ticket office will take orders Monday through Friday from 8 am to 5 p.m. To order your tickets, call the MSU ticket office at 888-GO-DAWGS or locally at 325-2600, or visit the ticket office in the Bryan Athletic Building on campus.
FIVE BULLDOGS FACE HOME STATE SCHOOL
When Memphis comes to Starkville, five Mississippi State players will be facing their home-state institution, with three of those Bulldogs coming from the city of Memphis. Split end Brandon Wright, offensive tackle James Cochran, and defensive end Roosevelt Tate all hail from Memphis, while fullback Nick Signaigo (Collierville) and snapper Russell Cook (Jackson) also call the Volunteer State home.
FELKER, HALLMAN ONCE WORKED AT MEMPHIS
Mississippi State coordinator of football operations Rockey Felker and Bulldog cornerback coach Curley Hallman both worked at the school now known as the University of Memphis. Felker worked under the late Rex Dockery in Memphis from 1981-82. Likewise, Hallman spent two season at then-Memphis State University from 1977-78.
UM COORDINATOR DUNN RETURNS TO STARKVILLE
Memphis defensive coordinator Joe Lee Dunn served in the same capacity at Mississippi State University under head football coach Jackie Sherrill from 1996-2002.
11 MEMPHIS TIGERS RETURN TO MAGNOLIA STATE
Eleven native Mississippians will accompany the Memphis football team to Starkville. Offensively, junior tackle David Davis (Hamilton), senior wide receiver Tavares Gideon (Greenville), junior wide receiver Chris Kelley (Corinth Kossuth HS), and freshman center Abraham Holloway (Prentiss) all call Mississippi home. Defensively, sophomore back Wesley Smith (Oxford-Lafayette County HS), sophomore end Marcus West (Columbus), freshman outside linebacker Quinton McCrary (Columbus), and freshman back Javar Pollard (Batesville South Panola HS) hail from the Magnolia State. Freshman deep snapper Rusty Clayton (Hattiesburg-Oak Grove HS), sophomore place-kicker Stephen Gostkowski (Madison Central HS) and junior punter Brandon Roberson (Ripley) are Mississippi specialists on the UM roster.
SMITH KICKS WAY TO MSU RECORDS, ALL-SEC VOTE
Senior place-kicker Brent Smith (Byhalia, Miss.) connected on all three of his field-goal attempts (34, 45 and 47 yards) against Vanderbilt this past Saturday and was three-for-three on extra-point kicks. Those three, three-pointers give him 21 field goals made in his career, good for eighth place on the school's all-time field goal chart. He trails Kinney Jordan (23; 1975-76) for the seventh spot on that list. Smith has now made 14 of his last 15 field-goal efforts. With his three PATs, he now has a string of 26 straight points after touchdown in his two-year Bulldog career. The MSU career record for consecutive PATs converted is 37 (Kinney Jordan, 1975-76).
MISSISSIPPI STATE'S PLACE-KICKER HAS BEEN A MODEL OF CONSISTENCY
The senior place-kicker has now made 21-of-26 (.808) field goal tries, and has not missed a kick under 40 yards. In fact, two of his five misses have come from 50 yards or more.
JENKINS EYES TOP OF RECEIVING CHARTS
Mississippi State senior wide receiver Justin Jenkins (Pearl, Miss. is putting together a highlight-reel senior season. He caught eight passes for 118 yards and a touchdown this past weekend against Vanderbilt. It was the fifth time in his career that he had surpassed 100 yards receiving in a game. He has now had 31 catches in the last four weeks (7.8 per game). Jenkins had back-to-back career-best receiving performances at Tulane and Houston in Weeks 2-3. He caught nine passes for 172 yards, a 19.1-yard average, and two touchdowns against the Cougars, and nine passes for 164 yards and two scores against the Green Wave. The nine catches against Tulane were the most by a Bulldog since Eric Moulds hauled in 10 passes against Auburn eight years ago (10/7/95). The yardage totals were the eighth and 10th-most in a single game, and most receiving yards since Moulds had 183 yards vs. Tennessee (9/23/95). Jenkins led the SEC and was ranked ninth nationally in receiving (7.40 per game), and topped the league and ranked third in the country in receiving yardage (115.2) after the season's fifth week. He was also third the SEC in scoring (8.8 ppg).
JENKINS MOVES AMONG THE SCHOOL'S TOP 10 IN RECEPTIONS, YARDS AND TDS
With his eight catches against Vanderbilt, Jenkins now has 114 career receptions, good for sixth on the school¹s all-time receiving list. Mardye McDole (1977-80) is fifth with 116 receptions. His receiving yardage against the Commodores gives him 1,670 yards through the air, good for seventh all-time, surpassing Bill Buckley (1,632; 1971-73). His lone TD catch against VU gives him 15 for his career, second best all-time at the school, surpassing Bill Buckley (14; 1971-73). Eric Moulds (17; 1993-95) holds the career record.
JENKINS READY TO MOVE ONTO SINGLE-SEASON LIST AT MID-YEAR
Through the first five weeks of the season, Justin Jenkins now has 37 catches for 574 yards and seven touchdowns. Still one game short of mid-season, he is just four catches away from the MSU single-season top 10 in catches (#10 Bill Buckley, 41, 1973), is closing in on the yardage chart (#10 Sammy Milner, 745, 1969), and is just one touchdown from matching his own single-season TD reception mark (8, 2001).
FANT OFF TO FAST START IN RECORDS JOURNEY
Mississippi State senior Kevin Fant (Moss Point, Miss.) completed 18-of-30 passes (.600) for 215 yards and a touchdown against Vanderbilt this past weekend. Three weeks ago at Houston, he completed 24-of-42 passes (.571) for 360 yards and three touchdowns. His completions, attempts, and yards passing were all career highs. It was the fifth time in his career that he had thrown for three TDs in one game. Against UH, he became the first Bulldog quarterback to throw for more than 300 yards in four career games. Fant ranked second in the Southeastern Conference passing yardage per game (259.4) and total offense per game (249.0) following the season's fourth week. He is 28th nationally in total offense.
FANT MOVES TO 2ND IN COMPLETIONS, 4TH IN TDS AND PASSING YARDS
His 18 completions against VU give him 375 for his career, good for second on school's all-time passing list, surpassing Derrick Taite (362; 1993-96). Wayne Madkin leads that list with 462 connections. With his passing yardage against the Commodores, he now has 4,777, good for fourth on the school's yardage list, surpassing John Bond (4,621; 1980-83. Don Smith stands third (5,229; 1983-86). His TD throw against VU gives him 29 in his career, good for fourth all-time at the school. Don Smith (31; 1983-86) is currently third all-time in that category. The 32 touchdowns he is responsible for in his career put him seventh all-time at State. Rockey Felker (35; 1972-74) is next on that list. His 193 yards of total offense vs. Vanderbilt have him fifth all-time with 4,667 yards for his career. Derrick Taite (1993-96) is fourth with 5,405 yards. In addition, his current completion percentage (.544) would rank fourth on the all-time MSU list; his current interception percentage (.0449) would rate sixth.
MAWHINNEY NAMED PRESEASON ALL-SEC
Like Smith, senior inside linebacker T. J. Mawhinney (Madisonville, La.) was named second-team, all-Southeastern Conference in a preseason vote of the league's media representatives. Mawhinney had his streak of double-digit tackle games come to an end against Vanderbilt this past weekend. He was limited to just five tackles against the Commodores, but did record a pass deflection and QB pressure. It was just the second time in nine games (dating back to '02) that he had not made at least 10 hits in a game. He had registered double-digit tackle games in each of the first four '03 contests. Mawhinney had 15 tackles, including one tackle for loss (minus 1 yard), and caused one fumble in the season opener vs. Oregon. The tackle total matched his career high, a 15-tackle effort at Alabama in 2001. Mawhinney leads the team in tackles through Week 5 with 54 (10.8 per game).
CLARK RETURNS TO DEFENSE AS ALL-SEC CHOICE
Senior defensive end Jason Clark (Starkville, Miss.) has opened the 2003 season in much the same big-play way he has performed for the Bulldogs throughout his career. The 6-1, 245-pounder made six tackles, including one for loss (minus 3 yards) in the win over Vanderbilt this past weekend. He was also credited with recovering one Commodore fumble, the fifth of his career. Despite making just 23 tackles on the season through five weeks, Clark has had three tackles for loss (minus 7 yards), two fumble recoveries and one pass break up from his defensive end position.
A DAY OF FIRSTS FOR JERIOUS NORWOOD
Sophomore tailback Jerious Norwood (Brandon, Miss.) made his first career start this past weekend against Vanderbilt, and the 6-0, 192-pounder made the most of his opportunity. Norwood rushed a career-high 22 times for 113 yards, and his first career touchdown, in the win over the Commodores. It was his second career, 100-yard rushing performance. He gained 138 yards on 15 tries against Kentucky last season.