Bits and Bytes - Mississippi State

While we make the long trip to Starkville, enjoy these final nuggets of information on the Mountaineer - Bulldog matchup. Game Scorecard
Series: First Meeting
Sat 10/7 2:30 pm
Starkville, MS

Davis Wade Stadium at Scott Field
Record: 3-0
AP Rank: 4th
Last Game
ECU W 27-10

Click for Starkville, Mississippi Forecast
Record: 1-4
AP Rank: NR
Last Game
LSU L 17-48
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First Meeting: 2006
Last Meeting: 2006
Press Release
Season Stats
2006 Schedule


West Virginia, like many colleges, uses software called The Automated Scorebook to generate and track statistics. It is set up so that plays can be recorded as they happen during the contest, but in order to do so, all players must be entered into the system so they can be quickly credited with their actions on the field.

The problem comes in when two players wearing the same number participate in a game, and record statistics. There's nothing illegal about having duplicate numbers, so long as the players wearing the same digits aren't on the field at the same time. However, it does cause a problem for the Automated Scorebook, or the operator thereof, when the players aren't identified correctly. A provision is made in the software to identify duplicate numbers with an identifying letter, so that the player's stats can be accounted for separately.

The number in question for WVU this year is three – sported by both cornerback Larry Williams and quarterback Markell Harrison. Harrison, who only appeared in the Eastern Washington game, is currently credited for playing three games, and recording two tackles and two pass breakups. Those numbers most likely belong to Williams, as Harrison didn't appear on defense in the EWU game..


The amount of discussion on our message boards concerning uniform design and color combinations never ceases to amaze. The most important factor, however, is never discussed. What is WVU's winning percentage in each combination of togs?
Game Info
WVU 4-0, 0-0
MSU 1-4, 0-3
Sat 10/7 2:30 p.m. EST
Davis Wade Stadium at Scott Field
Series: First Meeting
TV: PPV (WV Only)
Sagarin: WVU-15th, MSU-116th
BCS: WVU-7th, MSU-96th
Line: WVU -28
Of course, the color combos don't really have an effect on the game's outcome, at least directly. But if the players like a certain look, who knows if wearing their favorite might not help them play a bit better? Anything that contributes to a positive mental outlook, I'm all for.

So, which color combination has been the most successful during the Rich Rod regime? Place your bets now – answers at the end of this column.


All four of Pat McAfee's successful field goal attempts in 2006 have come from 20-29 yards away. McAfee's only unsuccessful try was blocked.

Also, despite being less than halfway through his sophomore year, McAfee is already seventh on WVU's all-time extra points made list. The Pennsylvanian native is 70-71 in his Mountaineer career. Jay Taylor (1996-99), sits atop the list with 151 career singletons. Should WVU continue its high scoring ways over the next two-plus seasons, McAfee will be a good bet to own that record by the time his career ends.


With his 17-24 performance against East Carolina, quarterback Patrick White became WVU's all-time pass completion percentage leader. In just more than one full season, White has completed 61.8% of his passes, edging out former leader Marc Bulger (61.6%) Of course, White still has a long way to go to hold on to this mark. With more than 2 ½ seasons still to play, he could easily slide back behind Bulger or third-place Jake Kelchner (60.1%).

Of course, White is benefiting from throwing a greater percentage of short passes than either Bulger or Kelchner did, so there's not room to say that White is the best passer of all time at WVU. Bulger, with his uncanny accuracy, likely still holds that slot, although players like Kelchner, Oliver Luck, Jeff Hostetler, Mike Sherwood and Bernie Galiffa also could make a case for themselves. However, the numbers do show that White is putting his passes, wherever they are called, on target much of the time.


Mississippi State quarterback Omarr Conner has now thrown 63 passes without tossing an interception, dating to the Bulldogs' Week 3 game against Tulane. MSU's single-season record for consecutive passes without a pick is 96 passes (Derrick Taite, 1996).
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With his 212 yards passing against LSU, Conner now has 2,705 yards passing in his career, 42 yards short of moving into 10th all-time at State in that department. His 448 career pass attempts are ninth all-time, while his 237 completions are eighth on that career list. Conner moved into a 10th-place tie with 15 passing touchdowns.

While these stats indicate that Conner is making good decisions with the ball, it also points up the fact that he, like Patrick White, also makes use of screens, swings and other short passes. For a long-term perspective, it also indicates that State hasn't been blessed with a number of great throwers over the years. As a part time QB, Conner is poised to finish well within the top ten in several career categories.


Mississippi State is trying to reverse a season trend of falling behind in the early going of games. The Bulldog offense simply doesn't possess the quick strike ability to rally from appreciable deficits, so when MSU fell behind by margins of 12-0, 31-0, 32-7 and 35-0 in four of its first five games, the well was just too deep to climb out of. The fact that the Dogs have only scored 13 points in the first half all season doesn't help matters much either. West Virginia, which has scored a touchdown on its first drive in each of its past six games, obviously hopes to reverse that trend.

The psychological boost the Bulldogs would receive by keeping things close (say, within one score) in the first half would be tremendous. MSU's offense, which showed the ability to move the ball against Tulane, might well function more smoothly if its not feeling the pressure of trying to rally from a double-digit deficit.

That the Dogs don't play well from behind is without question. Their mini-rally against UAB, where they trailed 7-3 at the half and at the end of the third quarter, marked the first time in 29 games they had erased a halftime deficit to earn a win, and the first time in 31 outings they rallied when trailing after three quarters.


From a winning percentage perspective, the White Jersey-Blue Pants combo is the best. Since 2001, WVU has never lost when sporting that combination. Unfortunately, I seem to be the only person that likes that look.

Combination Record Win %
White Jersey/Blue Pants 4-0 1.000
Blue Jersey/Blue Pants 12-2 .857
White Jersey/White Pants 9-3 .750
Blue Jersey/Gold Pants 13-6 .684
Blue Jersey/White Pants 1-2 .333
White Jersey/Gold Pants 4-9 .307

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