Mississippi State will appear on national television for the 10th time in its last 14 games dating back to the 2000 season when Fox Sports Net shows the MSU-Oregon game. State has been televised nationally at least seven times in each of the last five seasons.
MISSISSIPPI STATE BACK ON OLD FRIEND FOX
It has been two years since Mississippi State has appeared on a Fox national telecast, but the MSU-Oregon game re-unites the Bulldogs with a favorable television acquaintance. State is 4-1 all-time in games televised by Fox.
MSU MAKES 1ST TRIP TO WEST COAST IN 25 YEARS
Mississippi State has played just one other time on the West Coast in the last half-century, a 27-18 win over Washington in 1977. That contest was State's only other game against a Pacific-10 opponent.
BULLDOGS SOLID VS. NON-SEC SCHOOLS
Mississippi State has posted a 147-107-10 (.576) record all-time against teams that are not members of the Southeastern Conference, an impressive 26-7-1 (.779) mark in regular-season, non-conference games since Jackie Sherrill assumed the head coaching reins in 1991. MSU has won nine of its last 11 games against non-conference competition.
STATE IMPRESSIVE ON NETWORK TELEVISION
Mississippi State has posted a 25-15 (.625) record in regular-season, network-televised games during the past five years, a superb record to say the least. Overall, MSU is 27-17 (.613) on the tube since 1997.
TV APPEARANCE: 75TH UNDER SHERRILL
When Fox airs the Mississippi State-Oregon game, it will be the 75th time in Jackie Sherrill's 129 games (.581) as head of the football program that the school has appeared on live television.
BULLDOGS ARE QUICK OUT OF THE STARTING GATE
Mississippi State has posted an impressive 72-28-2 (.716) record in season openers since the sport originated on the campus in 1895. MSU is 20-2 in its last 22 curtain calls. Under head coach Jackie Sherrill, the Bulldogs are 10-1 in season openers, including an unblemished 4-0 mark in season openers that have been played on the road. Sherrill¹s Bulldogs are 9-1 in season openers against schools outside the Southeastern Conference. Overall, MSU is a scintillating 66-18-2 (.779) in season openers against non-conference competition and 17-8-1 (.673) in season openers than occur on the road.
SHERRILL-LED 'DOGS A SUCCESS IN ROAD STARTERS
Under the direction of head football coach Jackie Sherrill, Mississippi State has won eight of its 11 road openers.
BULLDOG 5-YEAR MARK BEST IN THE WEST
Mississippi State has posted a 35-21 regular-season record (.625) in its last 56 games, dating back to the final contest of the 1996 campaign. Over that time span, no team in the Southeastern Conference's Western Division has produced a better record. State's 35-21 mark is one game better than Mississippi (34-22), and also ranks ahead of Auburn and Arkansas (33-23), LSU (31-25) and Alabama (30-26). MSU's record in the most recent 56 games trails only Tennessee (49-7), Florida (45-11) and Georgia (40-16) in the league as a whole. State's mark has surpassed South Carolina (23-33), Kentucky (22-34) and Vanderbilt (15-41) in the Eastern Division.
MSU's 23-18 MARK ALSO WEST'S BEST
Mississippi State has recorded a 23-18 win-loss ratio against Southeastern Conference foes during the past five seasons, again the best mark against league foes by anyone in the SEC's Western Division. State's league slate over that period is better than Alabama (21-20), the only other West team with a winning mark against the league. Auburn and LSU are 20-21, while Arkansas and Mississippi (19-22) round out the West. Only Florida and Tennessee (34-7), and Georgia (27-14) lead MSU. USC is 14-27, Kentucky is 11-30, and Vanderbilt is 4-37.
MISSISSIPPI STATE-OREGON TICKET UPDATE
The Mississippi State-Oregon match-up in expanded Autzen Stadium (54,000) in Eugene is sold out. The Mississippi State athletic ticket office sold its allotment of tickets to the game, and Bulldog fans totaling approximately 4,000 will attend the game. MSU announced in early August that it had sold 37,140 season tickets for the 2002 campaign, a school record. A limited number of season tickets still remain available. Contact the Bryan Athletic Administration ticket office, 662-325-2600 or 1-888-GO-DAWGS, for details.
STATE RETURNS TO FAMILIAR SURFACE AT OREGON
Although Mississippi State has never played a football game in the state of Oregon, the Bulldogs will be playing on a surface that is familiar to them. The Ducks installed FieldTurf in Autzen Stadium this summer, an identical playing surface to what the older Bulldogs remember from the 2000 Independence Bowl. Earlier this month, State installed SprinTurf in the Shira Athletic Complex, its indoor practice facility. The synthetic, long-leafed blade of the SprinTurf is nearly identical to FieldTurf.
JACKIE SHERRILL IS THE DEAN OF SEC COACHES
MSU head football coach Jackie Sherrill, now in his 25th season as a collegiate head coach, is beginning his 12th campaign in Starkville. He has now been a head coach longer at Mississippi State than at any of his previous three stops and longer than any former MSU head coach. Now the dean of Southeastern Conference coaches, Sherrill is one of only two league coaches with more than five years of longevity at their current institution.
SHERRILL STANDS 20TH ON ACTIVE LIST
Mississippi State head coach Jackie Sherrill is 20th 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 .634 winning percentage in 24 seasons as a collegiate head coach. During his career, Sherrill has compiled a 175-101-4 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 18TH ON SEC'S ALL-TIME LIST
Mississippi State head football coach Jackie Sherrill's 70 victories at the head of the Bulldog football program has him in a tie for No. 18 on the Southeastern Conference's coach¹s all-time winning list with Ray Graves (Florida, 1960-69). Sherrill's 42 SEC-only wins rank 14th in the league. His .489 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 68-52-2 (.565) regular-season record. In the 122 games prior to Sherrill's arrival, the Bulldogs were 54-68. Sherrill has directed MSU to a 42-44-1 SEC mark during that time frame. In the 87 league games prior to his arrival, the Bulldogs were 23-64.
MISSISSIPPI STATE IS UNDEFEATED IN AUGUST
When Mississippi State and Oregon hook up on the gridiron this Saturday, it will mark just the Bulldogs' third game ever played in the month of August. State defeated Memphis 13-10 on 8/30/97 and Cal State Fullerton 47-3 on 8/31/91.
HAGGAN EYES RETURN TO ALL-AMERICA STATUS
Senior inside linebacker Mario Haggan (Clarksdale, Miss.) hopes a return full-time to the middle of the Bulldog defense will bring back the eye-popping numbers he produced during his sophomore campaign. In 2001, Haggan split time between defensive end and linebacker, and despite the adjustment, still led the team in tackles (95 in 10 games played). He made 72 tackles in the season's final seven weeks, the last six back home at his inside linebacker position. During those last seven games, he totaled 11 tackles for loss (minus 50 yards), of which three were quarterback sacks (minus 27 yards). Overall, Haggan has produced 13 double-digit tackle games in 20 career starts, including six in the last seven games.
HAGGAN NEEDS 72 TACKLES TO MOVE ONTO SCHOOL'S CAREER TOP 10
With 240 career tackles, Haggan requires just 72 more stops to move among Mississippi State's top 10 career tacklers. Rusty Martin (1977-80) currently occupies 10th place with 318 career tackles.
HAGGAN NAMED TO BUTKUS AND LOMBARDI LISTS FOR 3RD STRAIGHT YEAR
Haggan has been named to the initial Butkus and Lombardi Award lists for 2002, the third-straight year he has been mentioned among the top linebackers and linemen in the country, respectively.
MORGAN LOOKS TO CONTINUE BIG-PLAY STYLE
Senior free safety Josh Morgan (Vicksburg, Miss.) has been a steadying influence on the Mississippi State secondary for three years, a trait which belies his big-playmaking ability. He has played in 33 games for the Bulldogs and made 24 starts. Like Haggan, he has produced more than 200 career tackles, including 12 for loss (minus 50 yards). Morgan has also had a knack for being around a loose football. He has recovered four fumbles during his career, totaling 120 yards in returns and two touchdowns. He has also made five pass interceptions.
HEALTHY MAWHINNEY PRODUCES TACKLES
Like Haggan, junior inside linebacker T.J. Mawhinney (Madisonville, La.) is another Bulldog who piles up tackles. Mawhinney, who started eight of the 11 games played a year ago, tallied 68 tackles in the season's final six weeks (11.3 per game) after returning from an early season arm injury. He recorded six straight double-digit tackle games during that stretch and now has seven for his career.
COMBO HOPES FINAL 2 WEEKS OF Œ01 CONTINUE
Mississippi State juniors Kevin Fant (Moss Point, Miss.) and Justin Jenkins (Pearl, Miss.) became quite comfortable with one another during the last two weeks of the 2001 season. During those games against Mississippi and Brigham Young University, each helped the other produce long-time firsts for the Maroon and White. Fant completed 34-of-49 passes (.694) for 609 yards, four touchdowns and just one interception, in those two games. In fact, when he began to receive substantial playing time under center at midseason, he completed 74-of-119 passes (.622) for 1,096 yards, all eight of his seasonal touchdowns and only four interceptions. His 155.01 passing rating over that time span, if accomplished over the entire season, would have ranked second in the league behind only Rex Grossman of Florida. Jenkins hauled in 14 of those Fant aerials over the last two weeks for 249 yards and two scores. His 42 catches are the ninth-most in MSU single-season annals and his eight TD receptions set a new school record.
WALKER LOOKS TO MOVE UP BULLDOG CHARTS
Mississippi State senior tailback Dontae Walker (Clinton, Miss.) is already ranked on the school's all-time rushing and scoring lists, and with a solid final campaign, could finish atop both career lists. Walker is 12th on MSU's career rushing list with 1,727 yards. He needs just 139 yards to reach the school's all-time top 10 in that category. He has also tied Dicenzo Miller (1998-01) for 10th on the school's all-time rushing touchdowns list with 17.
GRINDLE ALSO REACHES MSU'S CAREER RANKINGS
Mississippi State senior split end Terrell Grindle (Hattiesburg, Miss.) has moved all the way to seventh on State's all-time receiving list with 85 career catches. He needs just two grabs to surpass Fred Hadley (1984, 86-88) for the No. 6 spot, and 77 yards receiving to reach the school's top 10 in that category.
BANKS' LATE SEASON THEFTS PRIME HIM FOR 2002
Mississippi State senior cornerback Korey Banks (Boynton Beach, Fla.) intercepted two Eli Manning passes in Week 10 of the 2001 season and added another theft against Brigham Young in the season-ender, a pair of games that could pave the way to a productive final season.