Mississippi State returns to Davis Wade Stadium at Scott Field for the remainder of the 2001 football season, beginning with a Thanksgiving night edition of the "Battle For The Golden Egg" against Mississippi. The 98th renewal of the in-state rivalry will kick off at 6:30 p.m. and will be televised nationally by ESPN. The Bulldogs finish the 2001 season by entertaining BYU.
MSU BACK ON ESPN THURSDAY NIGHT
The Mississippi State-Mississippi game marks the Bulldogs' second appearance this season on ESPN's Thursday night college football package. State dropped a 16-14 decision to South Carolina earlier this year. Overall, MSU is 9-8 on the national cable network, but the Bulldogs have won six of their last eight games on ESPN. MSU has been a regular participant on the network's Thursday night package, having posted a 6-2 record on the weekday prime time game.
STATE IS IMPRESSIVE ON NETWORK TV
Mississippi State has posted a 24-14 (.632) record in regular-season, network-televised games during the past four-plus years, a superb record to say the least. Overall, MSU is 26-16 (.619) on the tube since 1997.
TV APPEARANCE 73RD UNDER SHERRILL
When ESPN airs the Mississippi State-Mississippi game, it will be the 73rd time in Jackie Sherrill¹s 127 games (.575) as head of the football program that the school has appeared on live television.
MSU EYES SERIES GAIN UNDER SHERRILL
Mississippi State has won six of the 10 games played between these two long-time rivals since Jackie Sherrill became the Bulldogs' head coach in 1991.
EGG BOWL IS USA'S 16TH OLDEST RIVALRY
Mississippi State and Mississippi meet for the 98th time Thanksgiving night, tying for the 16th-longest rivalry among Division I-A institutions. Michigan and Ohio State meet this Saturday for the 98th time, and North Carolina-Wake Forest have also played 98 times. In the SEC, only Auburn-Georgia is a longer running rivalry (105 games).
BULLDOG 5-YEAR MARK BEST IN THE WEST
Mississippi State has posted a 34-20 regular-season record (.630) in its last 54 games, dating back to the final contest of the 1996 campaign. Over that time span, no team in the Southeastern Conference¹s Western Division has produced a better record. State¹s 34-20 mark is one game better than Arkansas, Auburn and Mississippi (33-21), and also ranks ahead of LSU (29-25) and Alabama (28-26). MSU¹s record in the most recent 54 games trails only Tennessee (47-7), Florida (46-8) and Georgia (38-16) in the league as a whole. State¹s mark has surpassed Kentucky (22-32), South Carolina (20-34) and Vanderbilt (15-39) in the Eastern Division.
MISSISSIPPI STATE-UM TICKET UPDATE
With tickets available for the first time in the east side upper deck expansion at Davis Wade Stadium at Scott Field, the largest crowd ever to see the "Battle For The Golden Egg" in Starkville is nearly a certainty. In fact, the largest campus crowd ever in the series is a possibility. An announced crowd of 50,412 saw the 1998 "Egg Bowl" in Oxford, the largest on-campus attendance for this rivalry. The Mississippi State athletic ticket office has a limited number of tickets remaining in that upper level for the Mississippi game. Contact the Bryan Athletic Administration ticket office, 662-325-2600 or 1-888-GO-DAWGS, for details. MSU sold every available reserved season ticket for its home schedule by the first week in July, a total that will number approximately 36,000 season tickets.
134 MISSISSIPPIANS WILL BE ON DISPLAY
A total of 134 student-athletes with backgrounds in the state of Mississippi will take part in the 98th renewal of the "Battle For The Golden Egg." The University of Mississippi shows 72 players from the Magnolia State out of the 119 listed in the Rebel media guide (60.5 percent of its roster). Mississippi State has 62 of 99 (62.6 percent) players on its season-opening roster from the state of Mississippi. Obviously, there are numerous player connections on the respective rosters.
DUNN, SMITH COACHED AT MISSISSIPPI
Mississippi State defensive coordinator Joe Lee Dunn and Bulldog defensive backfield coach Melvin Smith each coached at the University of Mississippi during their coaching careers. Dunn served as defensive coordinator for the Rebels in 1992 and 1993 and was named interim head coach for the 1994 season. Smith was tight ends and then wide receivers coach during the same three-year span in Oxford.
UM'S ROPER SERVED ON STATE STAFF
Mississippi quarterback coach Kurt Roper worked as a graduate assistant on the staff of head football coach Jackie Sherrill at Mississippi State in 1995.
SHERRILL STANDS 18TH NO ACTIVE LIST
Mississippi State head coach Jackie Sherrill is 18th on the NCAA's list of the nation's winningest active coaches (by percentage), fourth on the active career wins list. Sherrill currently holds a .633 winning percentage in 23-plus seasons as a collegiate head coach. During his career, Sherrill has compiled a 174-100-4 overall record. On the active wins list, only Joe Paterno (Penn State), Bobby Bowden (Florida State) and Lou Holtz (South Carolina) rank ahead of the Mississippi State head coach.
SHERRILL IS 19TH ON SEC'S ALL-TIME LIST
Mississippi State head football coach Jackie Sherrill moved into 19th place by himself on the Southeastern Conference¹s all-time list of the league's winningest coaches when the Bulldogs defeated Memphis in their season opener. Sherrill's 69 victories passed the number posted by former Mississippi head coach Billy Brewer and is just one shy of No. 18 Ray Graves of Florida, 1960-69). Sherrill's 41 SEC-only wins ranks 14th in the league. His .483 league winning percentage rates among the conference's top 30 all-time coaches.
SHERRILL SPORTS GRAND MSU MARK
Since becoming the Bulldogs' head coach prior to the 1991 season, Jackie Sherrill has led Mississippi State to a 67-51-2 regular-season record. In the 120 games prior to Sherrill's arrival, the Bulldogs were 53-67. Sherrill has directed MSU to a 41-44-1 SEC mark during that time frame. In the 86 league games prior to his arrival, the Bulldogs were 23-63.
STATE IS A WINNER IN NOVEMBER
Since assuming the head coaching position at State in 1991, Jackie Sherrill's teams are 20-18-1 (.525) in the month of November. Bulldog teams recently completed the month of October with a 21-17-1 (.551) mark, but an impressive 9-6 in that month during the past four seasons. Sherrill's teams have now finished the months of August and September with a 26-15 (.634) mark since 1991, including wins in 12 of their last 16 games during those two months.
PIG NAMED PRESEASON ALL-AMERICA
A consensus preseason all-Southeastern Conference selection, Mississippi State senior Dog safety Pig Prather is completing his career in typical big-play fashion. In fact, during the Bulldogs' most recent seven games, he is averaging 7.6 tackles per game. He was credited with six tackles and a caused fumble at Arkansas this past weekend. His forced bobble was returned by teammate Josh Morgan for a touchdown. One week earlier, he had five total tackles against Alabama. Despite making just four tackles against pass-happy Kentucky three weeks ago, he did have a quarterback sack (minus 5 yards) against the Wildcats. He was second on the club with nine tackles against LSU one week earlier. Against Troy State at mid-season, Prather registered 10 tackles, the second double-digit tackle performance of his senior season, the seventh of his stellar career. At Auburn, Prather made nine tackles. Against then nationally No. 2-ranked Florida, he recorded the first double-digit tackle performance of his senior season with 10 hits. Prather recorded five tackles against South Carolina and pressured Phil Petty twice. He made six tackles in State's win over Memphis in the season opener, a total that included a pair of tackles for loss (minus 9 yards). One of his tackles behind the line was a quarterback sack (minus 6 yards).
HAGGAN POSTS ANOTHER BIG TACKLE DAY
Mississippi State junior Mario Haggan, who led the SEC and tied for eighth nationally in tackles last fall with 132 total stops (12.0 per game) while playing the lone linebacker position on State's defense, turned in another typically outstanding defensive performance against Arkansas this past Saturday. He posted a season-best 16 tackles against the Razorbacks, and pressured the quarterback once. It was the fourth time this season (all in the last five weeks) and 11th time in his career that he had exceeded 10 tackles in a game. Haggan made 10 tackles vs. Alabama one week earlier. He had possibly the best all-around game of the year against Kentucky the week prior to that. He had just six tackles against a UK team more inclined to throw the football downfield, but he contributed in so many other ways. Haggan had one quarterback sack (minus 5 yards), plus two other tackles for loss (minus 5 yards). Additionally, he recorded a team-high three QB pressures on Jared Lorenzen. One game earlier, he celebrated for the second time this season his return to the inside linebacker position at which he starred in 2000. He tied for the team lead with 10 tackles against LSU, a total that included one tackle for loss (minus 3 yards). Haggan was also credited with pressuring Tiger QB Rohan Davey once. The performance was the second double-digit tackle game of his junior season, the ninth of his career, and came one week after being sidelined with an ankle sprain. He sat out the Troy State contest with that ankle malady, an injury incurred during MSU's game at Auburn. The injury and subsequent recovery time interrupted what had been a successful return to the inside position. Haggan, who made a position move to defensive end in State¹s season-opening win over Memphis, totaled 10 tackles at Auburn, the first double-digit tackle performance of his junior season but the eighth of his career. Haggan, who last year also accumulated 10 tackles for loss, five of which were sacks, recorded two tackles for loss (minus 6 yards) against AU. Playing the defensive end (or outside linebacker) position, Haggan totaled six tackles in the win over Memphis, a total that included a quarterback sack (minus 6 yards). Against South Carolina, he tied for the team lead with nine hits and pressured the Gamecock QB twice. At Florida, he made eight stops and recorded a pair of pass pressures.
FOOT SURGERY ENDS MADKIN'S CAREER
MSU senior quarterback Wayne Madkin has concluded his career at or near the top of all of State's passing categories. Madkin completed 462-of-887 passes (.521) for 6,336 yards, 34 touchdowns and 35 interceptions as the Bulldogs' signal-caller. He stands atop the MSU all-time list in passing yardage, pass completions and pass attempts. He also stands second all-time in touchdown passes, trailing only Derrick Taite (38; 1993-96). His career came to a close when he suffered a broken bone under his big toe against Alabama and underwent surgery Friday, Nov. 17.
MADKIN RANKS WITH SEC¹S BEST-EVER AS A WINNER
As important as all the school statistics he has accumulated during his outstanding Bulldog career are, Wayne Madkin etched his name in both MSU and SEC annals in the most important category of all -- as a winner. Madkin posted a 25-16 record as a Bulldog starting quarterback, surpassing former Bulldog great John Bond (23 wins; 1980-83) as Mississippi State's winningest starting quarterback. He surpassed Bond and Tennessee's Andy Kelly (1988-91) for 16th all-time among the winningest quarterbacks in SEC history.
MILLER RUSHES UP THE MISSISSIPPI STATE CAREER LIST
Miller's 1,000-yard season moved him onto the Bulldogs' all-time rushing list with 1,533 yards and his 108 yards in the season-opening win over Memphis moved him near the State's all-time Top 10 in that category. The Weir, Miss., native despite being limited in the USC and Auburn games, and not playing at all at Florida or vs. Troy State, moved up to eighth on the school's all-time rushing list against Kentucky and now has 1,969 yards following this past Saturday's game at Arkansas. He surpassed (Tom "Shorty" McWilliams, 1,808; 1944, 46-48), Wayne Jones (1,865; 1971-73) and Don Smith (1,868; 1983-86) against the Wildcats. He needs just 21 yards to reach the 2,000-yard mark, a total reached by just seven other backs in MSU history.
HEALTHY MAWHINNEY PRODUCES TACKLES
Inside linebacker T.J. Mawhinney is another Bulldog recovering from injury. The Covington, La., native, had been hampered earlier this season by a bruise in the upper arm which had caused some nerve damage. Mawhinney, who made 20 tackles in State's first two games, including a season-best 11 in the opener vs. Memphis, had just five in the next three weeks as he dealt with his injury. Since returning to near 100 percent, however, he has totaled 46 tackles in four weeks -- four straight double-digit tackle games. Mawhinney had 11 tackles at Arkansas this past week, after posting a season-best 15 tackles and a pass pressure at Alabama two weeks ago, and 10 hits in back-to-back games with LSU and Kentucky. He now has five double-digit tackle games this season.