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Starkville Blues (Mississippi State Bulldogs Preview)

Posted by Ryne E. Hancock on August 8, 2007

Before I begin my preview of the 2007 Mississippi State football season, I would like to thank the guys for holding down the blog while I was in Mississippi this weekend. You guys are like brothers to me and again I thank you for providing much fuel to our detractors’ fire.

With that being said, let me entertain you folks with another preview from the good ol’ Doc of the 2007 college football season, this time going south to Starkville with the Mississippi State Bulldogs.

It has been seven years since the Bulldogs faced Texas A&M in a driving snowstorm in Shreveport for the Independence Bowl and nine years since they faced the Tennessee Volunteers in the SEC Championship Game with quarterback Bart Hyche and company.

Not to mention it’s been 66 years since they won the SEC outright, four years before the Cubs began their long road of futility and absence from the Fall Classic, making them one of two charter members of the SEC (the other one being Vanderbilt, who has never won the SEC in football) that hasn’t won the overall conference title since the end of World War II in 1945.

Ouch.

As the Bullies enter ‘Year Four’ of the Croom era in Starkville, the natives are hoping that this year’s squad can finally put an end to the longest stretch of futility in over 70 years for Mississippi State football.

On offense, Mississippi State returns 9 starters from last year’s 3-9 squad, most notably junior quarterback Michael Henig, who was injured twice last year but showed a lot of promise as Omar Conner’s backup by throwing for 1,201 yards and 7 touchdowns in seven games at quarterback. The problem with that stat is that his completion percentage was an uninspiring 43.8 percent which is, in some football circles, Ryan Leaf territory.

Should Henig get injured again, more than likely the starting job at QB will go to Josh Riddell, a product of California’s rich junior college system who has only played the position for three years. However, according to many publications around the South, Mississippi State is confident that they will have stability at QB, which hasn’t happened in Starkville in a long time.

Other key players on offense for Mississippi State are sophomore running back Anthony Dixon, who will be the key ingredient for an improved Mississippi State ground attack after garnering two 100-yard games in the final three games of the 2006 season, and Morehead State transfer Brandon McRae, who impressed the Bulldog faithful during spring practice and without question will be plugged in as one of the starters at wide receiver when Mississippi State opens their season against LSU on August 30th.

On the opposite side of the ball, the Bulldogs return 5 starters on their defense, most notably Derek Pegues at free safety as well as defensive end Titus Brown. Pegues moved from cornerback to free safety before the start of last season, a move that paid off as he led the team with 4 interceptions and should be expected to do about the same this season at free safety.

As for Titus Brown, this young defensive unit is going to have to count on him for leadership as the Bullies enter the 2007 season with one of the youngest defensive units in the SEC. In 2006, Brown led the Bulldogs in sacks with 7.5 and tackles for loss with 14.5, one of best totals in sacks and tackles for loss in school history. According to Kyle Veazey of the Jackson Clarion-Ledger, Brown and linebacker Jamar Chaney are the main keys to the Bulldogs’ defense.

Final verdict: Mississippi State, in lack of better terms, is a long way off from the glory days of Jackie Sherill and Bowl games. With a young defensive unit and a modest offensive attack, another long season is going to be in store for the Bulldog faithful as road trips to West Virginia, Auburn, and an improved Kentucky squad, plus home games against Tennessee, Alabama, LSU, and Ole Miss highlight the schedule. More than likely, a couple of those games are going to probably leave some of the guys in body bags, especially against LSU and West Virginia.

Projected record: 2-10 (1-7)

2007 Mississippi State Bulldogs

Aug. 30th LSU

Sept. 8th @ Tulane

Sept. 15th @ Auburn

Sept. 22nd Jacksonville State

Sept. 29th @ South Carolina

Oct. 6th UAB

Oct. 13th Tennessee

Oct. 20th @ West Virginia

Oct. 27th @ Kentucky

Nov. 10 Alabama

Nov. 17th @ Arkansas

Nov. 23rd Ole Miss

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3 Responses to “Starkville Blues (Mississippi State Bulldogs Preview)”

  1. J said

    To Whom it may concern:

    Starkville is the correct spelling (without the “s”). Thank you for your understanding…

    Warm Regards,
    Native Mississippian living in Louisville (Loo-UH-vul)

  2. Bob Swerski said

    That extra “s” must stand for suck… as in “I’d root for Starksville but they Suck.”

  3. Matt said

    HAHAHAHAHA.

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