When Mississippi State plays Kentucky this weekend, it will be the Bulldogs' second game against a Southeastern Conference Eastern Division opponent this season. The Bulldogs defeated Vanderbilt 30-21 on 10/4. State is 19-15 against teams from the SEC East since the league adopted the divisional format in 1992.
'DOGS LOOK TO BUILD ON BLUEGRASS SUCCESS
Under the direction of head football coach Jackie Sherrill, Mississippi State has won three of the five series meetings in Lexington.
MSU ENJOYS ITS ASSOCIATION WITH JP SPORTS
Mississippi State has posted a 15-12 record all-time in games televised by Jefferson Pilot Sports, the Southeastern Conference's regional syndicator. The MSU-UK game, however, will be just the fourth time in State's last 32 games, dating back to late in the 2000 season, that the network has telecast a Bulldog game.
BULLDOGS LOOK TO HALT ROAD LOSS STREAKS
When the Bulldogs tangle with the Wildcats this weekend, Mississippi State will be looking to end a pair of road losing streaks. State has lost its last five road games overall and has dropped 10 consecutive SEC games away from Davis Wade Stadium at Scott Field.
SHERRILL REUNITES WITH FORMER PITT PLAYERS
When Mississippi State meets Kentucky this weekend, Bulldog head football coach Jackie Sherrill will greet one of his former players from his days as head coach at Pittsburgh. Paul Dunn, a former Panther offensive guard for Sherrill during the early 1980s, coaches Kentucky¹s offensive line and coordinates the Wildcat running game.
SMITH HAS REGAINED HIS DEEP KICKOFF ABILITY
Smith has kicked off for the Bulldogs since the first game of his junior season. Although he has been hampered by back miseries during his brief career, he has been a very dependable touchback kicker when healthy. During the first five weeks of the '02 season, he was eight-of-15 (.533) on touchbacks. As his back ailments flared during the final seven weeks of the year, he was six-of-26 (.231) on kickoffs for touchback. In the first four games of the '03 season, he was just one-of-nine (.111) on kickoffs, and was sidelined temporarily by his back ailment. During the last three games, however, Smith has regained his form, drilling 10-of-15 (.667) for touchbacks. These numbers represent full-field kickoffs only.
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 a team-best seven passes for 113 yards, and scored one touchdown, against Auburn this past weekend. It was the sixth time in his career -- fourth time this season -- that he had surpassed 100 yards receiving in a game. He has now had 41 catches in the last six weeks (nearly seven catches 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 leads the SEC and is 14th nationally in receptions (6.71 per game), and tops the league (7th nationally) in receiving yardage (104.4 ypg) after the season¹s seventh week. He is also sixth in the SEC in scoring (7.1 ppg).
JENKINS MOVES AMONG THE SCHOOL'S TOP 10 IN RECEPTIONS, YARDS AND TDS
With his seven catches against Auburn, Jenkins now has 124 career receptions, good for third on the school's all-time receiving list. Jenkins surpassed Eric Moulds (118; 1993-95) and Terrell Grindle (119; 1999-02), and now trails only Sammy Milner (146; 1968-70) and David Smith (162; 1968-70) on that chart. His receiving yardage against the Tigers gives him 1,825 yards through the air, good for fourth all-time. Jenkins surpassed Terrell Grindle (1,724; 1999-02) and Danny Knight (1,773; 1980-83), and trails #3 Eric Moulds (2,022; 1993-95) on the yardage list. His lone TD catch against Auburn gives him 16 for his career, second best all-time at the school. Eric Moulds (17; 1993-95) holds the career record.
JENKINS NAMED TO THE '03 SEC GOOD WORKS TEAM
The Pearl, Miss., senior has been named to the SEC's 2003 Good Works Team, which recognizes student-athlete accomplishment in the community. Jenkins has been a regular volunteer for area elementary school's reading programs, anti-drug and alcohol awareness programs and at the local Boys Club.
FANT OFF TO FAST START IN RECORD'S JOURNEY
Mississippi State senior Kevin Fant (Moss Point, Miss.) completed a season-low eight-of-22 passes for 73 yards this past weekend against Auburn. It was his lowest passing yardage total since becoming the Bulldogs' starting quarterback near the end of the 2001 season. Earlier this year 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 QB to throw for more than 300 yards in four career games.
FANT IS 2ND ALL-TIME IN COMPLETIONS, 3RD IN TDS AND 4TH IN PASSING YARDS
His eight completions against Auburn give him 399 for his career, good for second on school's all-time passing list. Wayne Madkin leads that list with 462 connections. With his passing yardage against the Tigers, he now has 5,095, good for fourth on the school's yardage list. Don Smith stands third (5,229; 1983-86). He is tied for third all-time at the school in touchdowns with Don Smith (31; 1983-86). Wayne Madkin stands second (34; 1998-01). The 34 touchdowns Fant is responsible for in his career put him seventh all-time at State. Rockey Felker (35; 1972-74) is next on that list. His 50 yards of total offense vs. Auburn have him fifth all-time with 4,957 yards for his career. Derrick Taite (1993-96) is fourth with 5,405 yards. In addition, his current completion percentage (.535) would rank fourth on the all-time MSU list; his current interception percentage (.0443) would rate fifth.
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 was credited with eight tackles against Auburn. It was just the fourth time in 11 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.
TURNER ECLIPSES CENTURY MARK AGAIN
Sophomore tailback Nick Turner (Atlanta, Ga.) rushed 13 times for 120 yards, a 9.5-yard per carry average, including a 77-yard touchdown gallop, against Auburn this past weekend. It is the second time this season that Turner has exceeded 100 yards rushing in a game (155 vs. Tulane). He is currently second in the SEC (13th nationally) in all-purpose yardage (146.1 ypg) and fifth in the league in rushing (80.6 ypg).