This Victory’s For You, Coach Croom
Posted by Ryne E. Hancock on November 24, 2007
Redemption, as the annals of history has shown us, is sweet and inspiring.
It’s the same feeling that people like Tony Dungy, who after being run out of Tampa Bay a few years back, had when the Colts won the Super Bowl.
That Josh Hamilton had when he captivated the baseball world after beating his demons, nearly winning the Rookie of the Year with the Cincinnati Reds.
And finally, what Rich Brooks had when he led the Kentucky Wildcats to a victory over Clemson in the Music City Bowl last seasn after being on the hot seat the year before.
But this column is not about the aforementioned people, it’s about Mississippi State coach Slyvester Croom, who was one of my picks to be fired if he didn’t turn things around in Starkville in 2007 after going 3-8 in 2006.
To understand the magnitude of redemption, one who follows SEC football would look no further for an example of redemption in this group of Bulldogs.
On August 30th, the Bulldogs were shut out once again by LSU on National Television and if you asked any of the thousands that were there at Davis Wade Stadium on that Thursday night did the Bulldogs have a chance at registering at least two wins, they probably would have given you those same stares that you get when your drunk uncle flirts with your wife or girlfriend.
With a freshman quarterback in Wesley Morgan, the Bulldogs pulled off upsets of Kentucky and Auburn on the road.
Let me repeat that, a freshman quarterback.
Not someone being shilled endlessly on ESPN like Brian Brohm or John David Booty.
Then, in a scene similar to last year, the Bulldogs beat the Crimson Tide for the second time in a row at home, changing the negative perception of Mississippi State football over the last five years making them, in the process, bowl-eligible for the first time since 2000.
After having a slip-up against the Arkansas Razorbacks in Fayetteville, the Bulldogs entered Friday’s game against Ole Miss as the heavy favorites given the fact they’ve lost four of their last five to the Rebels.
And if you noticed how flat the Bulldogs were playing for most of the game, you would’ve thought that Ole Miss was the ones going bowling instead of State and how on the ground they were eating up yards like cheesecake samples in the first half.
But as it’s been the case with the Bullies this season, they found a way to fight and claw their way back.
With 17 unanswered points in the fourth quarter, the pride of Starkville returned the Golden Egg back to the Golden Triangle of northeastern Mississippi and, in the process, accomplished something that few people thought would be possible from this bunch.
Not just for the seniors who had to endure the 49-0 blowouts, the probations, and what not.
But for Coach Croom.
After years of losing, the cowbells can continue clanging towards possibly Atlanta or Memphis for a postseason game.
The lasting image of the 104th game in the Mississippi State-Ole Miss showdown will always be of Coach Croom waving proudly the Mississippi State flag to the Bulldog faithful.
The right person to fulfill that honor.
At the right time.
This entry was posted on November 24, 2007 at 7:00 AM and is filed under NCAA Football. Tagged: AUTHOR:DOC HANCOCK, Mississippi State Bulldogs. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.
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