South Carolina Game Notes

Mississippi State continues its early season two-game Southeastern Conference road trip, Saturday, Oct. 5, when the Bulldogs play at South Carolina. Kickoff in Williams-Brice Stadium in Columbia, S.C., is set for 1 p.m. ET. There is no live telecast of the MSU-USC game.

Mississippi State continues its early season two-game Southeastern Conference road trip, Saturday, Oct. 5, when the Bulldogs play at South Carolina. Kickoff in Williams-Brice Stadium in Columbia, S.C., is set for 1 p.m. ET. There is no live telecast of the MSU-USC game. BULLDOGS TACKLE FIRST EASTERN DIVISION FOE
When Mississippi State travels to South Carolina this weekend, it will be the Bulldogs' first game against a Southeastern Conference Eastern Division opponent in 2002. State is 18-12 against teams from the SEC East since the league adopted the divisional format in 1992. Included in that record is a 7-8 mark against Eastern Division teams on the road.

STATE SHINES AWAY FROM THE TV LIGHTS SINCE 1997
Over the past five-plus seasons, Mississippi State has posted a 10-6 record in games not shown to a live television audience. The Bulldogs won their only non-televised game thus far this season, a 51-13 win over Jacksonville State.

BULLDOGS SEEK FIRST ROAD WIN SINCE 2000
Mississippi State looks to erase a seven-game road losing streak at South Carolina. The Bulldogs have not won a regular season game away from Davis Wade Stadium at Scott Field since defeating Kentucky 35-17 on Nov. 4, 2000.

MSU SEEKS 4TH WIN IN 6 TRIES AT SOUTH CAROLINA
Mississippi State has won three of the previous five meetings against South Carolina in the Palmetto State. Prior to the Gamecocks' come-from-behind 23-19 win at Columbia in 2000, State had won four straight in the series and three consecutively in Williams-Brice Stadium (1994, Œ96 and Œ98).

MISSISSIPPI STATE-USC TICKET UPDATE
A sellout crowd is expected for Mississippi State's Southeastern Conference road game with South Carolina in Williams-Brice Stadium (80,250 capacity).

MSU-TENNESSEE TICKETS GO ON SALE
A limited number of reserved seat tickets for Mississippi State's Nov. 16 game with Tennessee have become available and have gone on sale at the Bryan Athletic Administration ticket office. The tickets will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis and there are no limits to the quantity ordered. Tickets will be available over the counter at the Bryan building or via telephone (1-888-GO-DAWGS or 1-662-325-2600). Office hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. CT.

3 STATE ASSISTANTS RETURN TO SOUTH CAROLINA
Three Mississippi State assistant coaches have served on coaching staffs at the University of South Carolina during their careers. MSU defensive coordinator Joe Lee Dunn served in the same capacity at USC in 1987-88, helping the Gamecocks to a pair of postseason bowl games. State offensive guards and centers coach Carroll McCray was the offensive line coach in Columbia from 1989-93. MSU's offensive coordinator Sparky Woods was the Gamecock head coach during that same time period.

HAGGAN MATCHES SEASON HIGH AT LSU
Senior inside linebacker Mario Haggan (Clarksdale, Miss.) equalled his season best in total tackles this past Saturday at LSU. The 17 hits against the Tigers gives him 56 for the season, an average of 14 tackles per game. He opened the season with the same number of tackles at Oregon, easily the best defensive numbers on the field. In addition to his double-digit tackle performance at LSU, he also made one tackle for loss (minus 1 yard). Against Oregon, he also forced one fumble, which was recovered by the Bulldogs. Haggan made 13 hits against Jacksonville State, including one-half tackle for loss (minus 1 yard) and another caused fumble. The 6-3, 253-pounder was just one tackle shy of reaching double figures for the third straight week two weeks ago against Auburn. In addition to his nine tackles, he had one-half tackle for loss (minus 1 yard) vs. the Tigers. 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 16 double-digit tackle games in 24 career starts (67 percent), including nine in the last 11 games dating back to last fall.

HAGGAN WITHIN FOUR TACKLES OF REACHING 300 FOR HIS CAREER
With 296 career tackles, Haggan requires just 23 more stops to move among Mississippi State's top 10 career tacklers. Rusty Martin (1977-80) currently occupies 10th place with 318 career tackles.

IF THERE IS A LOOSE BALL, MORGAN WILL FIND IT
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. Morgan continued that type of play in State's season-opener at Oregon, recording eight tackles, a pass deflection and one fumble recovery. In the win over Jacksonville State, he was credited with one-half of a tackle for loss (minus 2 yards) among his seven hits, a stop that registered a safety for the Bulldog defense. Morgan returned to double-digit tackle production with 10 hits against Auburn two weeks ago. It was his fourth career game with at least 10 tackles. He reached double figures in tackles again at LSU this past Saturday, making 10 hits against the Tigers. He set up State's lone touchdown when he scooped up an LSU fumble and returned it to the Tiger 2. It was his second fumble recovery of the season and the sixth of his career, totaling 120 yards in returns and two touchdowns. Like Haggan, he has produced more than 200 career tackles (240), and has a chance at reaching State's all-time top 10 in that category (needs 79 in eight games).

GRIFFITH AGAIN PACES BULLDOG RUSHERS
Mississippi State senior fullback Justin "Cokey" Griffith (Sanatorium, Miss.) rushed seven times for 38 yards (5.4 yards per rush) against LSU this past Saturday, the fourth-straight personal rushing high. He rushed eight times for 46 yards (5.8 average) two weeks ago vs. Auburn, and carried seven times for 43 yards (6.1 average) and one TD in the Bulldogs' win over Jacksonville State, 9/14. Over the past three weeks, he has averaged 5.77 yards per carry. With two pass receptions against AU, Griffith now has 70 for his career, four shy of matching Willie Harris' 74 catches (1989-92) for 10th on the school's all-time ranking.

WALKER INCHES UP BULLDOG TOUCHDOWN CHART
Mississippi State senior tailback Dontae Walker (Clinton, Miss.) scored on a 2-yard run at LSU this past Saturday, the fifth rushing touchdown of his senior season. The TD was the 22nd of his career, moving him into sole possession of fifth place on the school's all-time rushing touchdown list, surpassing Don Smith (21; 1983-86). He added 17 yards to his career rushing total against Auburn one week earlier and now stands 11th on MSU's career rushing list with 1,828 yards. He surpassed Tom "Shorty" McWilliams (1,808; 1944, 46-48) vs. AU and now needs just 38 yards to reach the school's all-time top 10 in that category (1,865; Wayne Jones, 1971-73).

COOK TOPS 40-YARD GAME AVERAGE AGAIN
Mississippi State sophomore punter Jared Cook (Columbus, Ga.) punted eight times for a 41.9-yard average against LSU this past Saturday. And although the average was not in keeping with what he had accomplished the past two games (over 48 yards per game), it was the fourth-straight time this year he had surpassed the 40-yard average in a game, the ninth time in his 15-game career. Cook, who entered the game second in the conference and ninth nationally in punting average (44.3). Against Auburn two weeks ago, he matched his career long with a 63-yard boot.

MAWHINNEY MAKES 10 HITS IN HOMECOMING
Junior linebacker T.J. Mawhinney (Madisonville, La.) posted 10 tackles in his personal homecoming this past Saturday at LSU, the third time in four games this year the hard-hitting linebacker has reached the double digit tackle total. He also forced a Tiger fumble, the second time this season he had created a turnover for the Bulldogs. It was his third double-digit tackle game this season (10 vs. Oregon and 12 vs. Auburn) and the ninth in his last 10 games dating back to mid-2001. He now has had 10 double-digit tackle games in 12 career starts. After trailing only Mario Haggan in total tackles during the season's first two games, he led the team in that category two weeks ago against Auburn. Mawhinney posted 12 tackles against AU, including one for loss (minus 2 yards) and a half-sack (minus 2 yards).

SMITH'S STRONG LEG REACHES MSU RECORD BOOK
Mississippi State junior place-kicker Brent Smith (Byhalia, Miss.) connected on a 52-yard field goal in the fourth quarter against LSU this past Saturday, tying for the fifth-longest three-pointer in Bulldog history. It was the longest field goal by a State kicker since Brian Hazelwood nailed a 52-yarder against Vanderbilt in 1998. In just his second full game as the team's regular place-kicker, Smith has made three-of-five field goal attempts. His only misses came from 48 (Auburn) and 47 (LSU) yards away. In addition to his chart-reaching kick against the Bayou Bengals, he also made a 21-yarder in the first quarter.

TUBBS CONTINUES TO PRODUCE IN SENIOR SEASON
Mississippi State senior flanker Darius Tubbs (Bessemer, Ala.) made a career-best and team-high three catches for 35 yards for the Bulldogs at LSU this past Saturday. His three catches against the Tigers doubled his season's output from the first three games, but continued a trend which has made him one of the receiving corps' most-improved performers. He entered his senior season with one career catch.

FANT HELD TO LOWEST YARDAGE AS A STARTER
Mississippi State junior quarterback Kevin Fant (Moss Point, Miss.) completed 15-of-39 passes for 122 yards and a pair of interceptions against LSU this past Saturday, his lowest yardage output as the Bulldogs' starting quarterback. In fact, that total broke a string of four-straight starts in which he had thrown for 200 yards or more in a game, dating back to Week 10 of the 2001 season. In his previous two starts this year, Fant had completed 34-of-57 (.596) passes for 551 yards, three touchdowns and just one interception. In the final two games last fall, he completed 34-of-49 (.694) passes for 609 yards, four touchdowns and only interception.

TURNER SHOWS VERSATILITY IN LSU LOSS
Mississippi State freshman tailback Nick Turner (Atlanta, Ga.) rushed five times for 28 yards (5.6-yard average), hauled in two passes for 12 yards and returned two kickoffs for a 23.5-yard average against LSU this past Saturday. Despite limited playing time against the Tigers, his 87 all-purpose yards were second only to Fred Reid (Tampa, Fla.), who accounted for 133 all-purpose yards.


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