Mississippi State Bulldogs football

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Mississippi State Bulldogs football
2016 Mississippi State Bulldogs football team
Mississippi State Bulldogs.svg
First season 1895
Head coach Dan Mullen
8th year, 60–42 (.588)
Stadium Davis Wade Stadium
Year built 1914
Seating capacity 61,337
Field surface Natural Grass
Location Starkville, Mississippi
Conference SEC
Division Western
All-time record 546–569–39 (.490)
Bowl record 11–8 (.579)
Conference titles 1 (1941)
Division titles 1 (1998)
Consensus All-Americans 2[1]
Current uniform
Mississippi State Football Uniforms 11-1-16.png
Colors Maroon and White[2]
         
Fight song Hail State
Mascot Bully
Marching band Famous Maroon Band
Rivals Mississippi Rebels
LSU Tigers
Alabama Crimson Tide
Kentucky Wildcats
Website HailState.com

Mississippi State Bulldogs football program represents Mississippi State University (MSST) in the sport of American football. The Bulldogs compete in the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and the Western Division of the Southeastern Conference (SEC). They are currently coached by Dan Mullen. Mississippi State has produced an SEC championship team in 1941 and a divisional championship team in 1998, along with 16 postseason bowl appearances. Mississippi State has produced 38 All-Americans (2 consensus), 171 All-SEC selections, and 124 NFL players, including 11 first-round draft picks.[3] The Bulldogs play their home games at Davis Wade Stadium at Scott Field, the second oldest football stadium in NCAA Division I FBS, which has a seating capacity of 61,337.

History[edit]

Early History (1895–1938)[edit]

Mississippi State (then known as Mississippi A&M; its mascot was the Aggies) first fielded a football team in 1895.[4] The team was coached by W. M. Matthews.[4] During his one-season tenure, Matthews posted an overall record of zero wins and two losses (0–2).[5] He is also credited with the selection of what became the official school colors, maroon and white, prior to the Aggies first game ever played at Union University.[6][7]

Daniel S. Martin left rival Ole Miss and served as the Aggies' head football coach from 19031906.[8] His final record in Starkville was 10–11–3.[9]

W. D. Chadwick led the Aggies from 19091913.[10] His final record was 29–12–2.[10] During his five-season tenure, Mississippi A&M appeared in and won its first bowl game, the 1911 Bacardi Bowl in Havana, Cuba.[10] Fullback Dutch Reule was selected All-Southern. The 1911 team was also referred to as 'The Bull Dogs'.[11]

Earle C. Hayes replaced Chadwick and led Mississippi A&M to 15–8–2 record from 1914–1916.[12] Hunter Kimball received the most votes of any All-Southern halfback in 1914.[13][14]

The Mississippi Legislature renamed Mississippi A&M as "Mississippi State College" in 1925 and the mascot was changed from Aggies to Maroons in 1932.[15]

Ralph Sasse enjoyed success as Mississippi State's head football coach. After leading Mississippi State to a 20–10–2 record in three years and an appearance in the 1937 Orange Bowl,[16] a loss,[16] Sasse stunned the students and players by resigning from his head coach's duties, following a doctor's orders after a sudden nervous breakdown.[17]

Allyn McKeen era (1939–1948)[edit]

Allyn McKeen left Memphis to become head football coach at Mississippi State,[18] where he compiled a 65–19–3 record in ten seasons.[19] In 1940, he was named Southeastern Conference Coach of the Year after leading Mississippi State to its only undefeated season in school history and its second Orange Bowl appearance, a victory.[18][19]

The following year, 1941, his Maroons squad captured the first and only Southeastern Conference championship in program history. McKeen retired from coaching in 1948 after being fired by Athletic Director Dudy Noble because of a 4–4–1 season.[20] He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame as a coach in 1991.

Mississippi State did not field a football team in 1943.[21]

Arthur Morton era (1949–1951)[edit]

Arthur Morton left VMI to become MSU's head football coach after McKeen's retirement.[22] Morton's Maroons posted struggling records of 0–8–1, 4–5 and 4–5 for a grand total of 8–18–1[23] before Morton's firing.[24]

Murray Warmath era (1952–1953)[edit]

Murray Warmath came to Mississippi State from his post as line coach at Army[25] and posted records of 5–4 and 5–2–3 for a grand total of 10–6–3 leaving the Bulldogs.[26] Warmath went on to have a very successful stint as the head football coach at Minnesota after his tenure at MSU.[25]

Darrell Royal era (1954–1955)[edit]

Darrell Royal came to Mississippi State from the CFL's Edmonton Eskimos[27] and put up back-to-back 6–4 records in his two seasons as the Maroons head football coach.[28] Royal resigned after just two seasons to accept the head football coach position at Washington.[27] Royal would go on to achieve great successes and solidify his place among the all-time greatest college football coaches at Texas.[27]

Wade Walker era (1956–1961)[edit]

Wade Walker was promoted from line coach to head coach following Royal's departure. Walker compiled a 22–32–2 record over his 6-season tenure.[29][30] In 1958 the Legislature renamed the university as Mississippi State University. The Mississippi State Maroons posted a lackluster 2–7–1 record in 1959.[31] The following year, Walker's Maroons improved to 5–5,[31] but students, fans and alumni demanded his ouster.[32] University president Dean W. Colvard relented and fired Walker as football coach, but kept him on as athletic director, a post he kept until 1966.[32][33]

MSST changed its mascot from Maroons to Bulldogs in 1960.[15]

Paul Davis era (1962–1966)[edit]

Paul Davis was promoted from assistant coach to head coach following Walker's firing.[34] His teams went 20–38–2 overall and 9–22–2 in the Southeastern Conference in Davis' five seasons.[35] The Bulldogs had a 7–2–2 record in 1963, earning its first postseason bowl game since 1939.[36] The team finished the season with a 16–12 victory over North Carolina State in front of 8,309 fans at the 1963 Liberty Bowl played in a bitter cold Philadelphia.[37] Mississippi State was able to convert two botched North Carolina State punts into touchdowns, and a 13–0 lead at the first quarter.[38] United Press International named Davis the SEC Coach of the Year for the 1963 season.[36] After a lackluster 2–8 record in 1966, MSU terminated Davis, as well as athletic director Wade Walker.[39]

Charles Shira era (1967–1972)[edit]

Charles Shira, who had been defensive coordinator for the University of Texas, was named to fill the head coaching position as well as the vacant post of Athletic Director.[40]

In his first season, his team won two games, followed by none the following year. Mississippi State improved to 3–7 in 1969. That year, Shira served as the coach for the Gray squad in the Blue-Gray Classic.[41]

Mississippi State posted a surprising six-win season in 1970, including a victory over rival #10 Ole Miss.[42] For the accomplishment, the SEC named Shira its Coach of the Year.[43] In 1972, having compiled a record of 16–45–2,[42] Shira resigned as head coach to focus on his duties as athletic director.[44]

Bob Tyler era (1973–1978)[edit]

Bob Tyler was promoted from offensive coordinator to head coach of the Bulldogs football team after Shira's resignation.[45] Tyler led State to a 9–3 season and a victory in the 1974 Sun Bowl over North Carolina.[46] During that season, his team beat perennial powerhouses Georgia and LSU.[47] The Bulldogs' record was 6–4–1 in 1975, and it was an impressive 9–2 in 1976, ending the season ranked #20 in the AP Poll.[46] His team compiled a 5–6 record in 1977, and he went 6–5 in his final season with the Bulldogs.[46]

Mississippi State was placed on probation by the NCAA prior to the 1975 season due to alleged improper benefits to student athletes.[48] The school sought and won court approval to play in an adverse legal opinion to the NCAA.[48] Although the alleged infraction was trivial,[49] the NCAA forced the school to forfeit most games it won in 1975, 1976, and 1977.[50]

Emory Bellard era (1979–1985)[edit]

Emory Bellard, who had resigned as head coach of Texas A&M during the 1978 season after only six games, was hired to serve as head football coach at Mississippi State beginning with the next (1979) season.[51] He was head coach from 1979 until 1985.[52]

He was considered to have had one of the most innovative offensive minds in football and is credited for inventing the wishbone formation.[51] Bellard spent seven seasons as head coach at MSU.[52] His best years as the Bulldogs head coach were in 1980 and 1981, when his team finished 9–3 and 8–4, respectively.[52] Also, Bellard was the coach when Mississippi State defeated number 1, undefeated Alabama 6–3 in Jackson, Mississippi, in 1980.[53] Bellard left coaching after the 1985 season[52] but would return in 1988 to coach at the high school level in Texas.

Rockey Felker era (1986–1990)[edit]

Rockey Felker returned to his alma mater, which was coming off four consecutive losing seasons, from his post as a position coach at Alabama.[54] At 33, Felker was the youngest coach in the country and the first Mississippi State coach in 30 years to start his career as MSU head football coach with a winning record (6–5).[54][55]

However, the Bulldogs never recovered from four consecutive blowout losses at the end of the 1986 season, during which they scored a total of nine points, including a 24-3 loss to Ole Miss. Felker suffered through four losing seasons (4–7, 1–10, 5–6, 5–6) between 1987 and 1990, and only won a total of five games in SEC play. He was only 1-4 vs. Ole Miss.[55] He resigned under pressure at the end of the 1990 season,[56] but would be brought back by his successor, Jackie Sherrill, as running backs coach for two seasons and in a non-coaching position in the football program, where he serves to this day.[54]

Jackie Sherrill era (1991–2003)[edit]

After three years away from the game, former Washington State, Pittsburgh and Texas A&M head football coach Jackie Sherrill was hired as head football coach at Mississippi State in 1991.[57] He took over a program that hadn't had a winning season since 1986 (and had won a total of 14 games in that stretch) and hadn't had a winning record in Southeastern Conference play since 1981. Sherrill began his Mississippi State career with an upset victory over a familiar foe from his A&M days, the Texas Longhorns (who were the defending Southwest Conference champions).[58]

In thirteen seasons in Starkville, Sherrill coached the Bulldogs to a record of 75–75–2.[59] His 75 wins are the most in school history. He led the team to an SEC West title in 1998, and a berth in the Cotton Bowl Classic.[59] A year later, he notched a 10–2 record and #12 final ranking.[59] That #12 ranking was the highest final ranking achieved by any NCAA Division I-A school in Mississippi in over 30 years. Sherrill, along with Bill Snyder of Kansas State, were among the first to use the rich JUCO systems of their respective states to help their programs progress.

Although Sherrill won only eight games in his last three seasons, he built Mississippi State into a consistent winner despite playing in the same division as powerhouses like Alabama, Auburn and LSU. He also finished with a winning record against in-state rival Ole Miss (7–6). Under Sherrill, the Bulldogs went to six bowl games;[59] before his arrival they'd only been to seven bowls in 96 years of play.

Sherrill also achieved notoriety by having his team observe the castration of a bull as a motivational technique prior to a game versus Texas. Unranked Mississippi State subsequently beat the #13 ranked Longhorns.[60]

Sherrill retired after the 2003 season,[61] which was followed by the NCAA levying probation for four years on the program.[62] Despite a prolonged 3-year investigation by the NCAA, Mississippi State was [63] not found guilty of any major violations, and Sherrill was never personally found guilty of any NCAA rules violations at either Mississippi State or Texas A&M.[61]

Sylvester Croom era (2004–2008)[edit]

Coach Croom

Sylvester Croom, a longtime assistant in the NFL, was hired to replace the retiring Sherrill.[64] Croom is a significant figure, because he is not only the first African American head football coach in Mississippi State history, but also in SEC football history.[64] When Croom was hired at Mississippi State, he inherited a program that was riddled with NCAA sanctions and had not won consistently since the 1990s.[64]

After the 2007 season, during which his team won eight games, including the Liberty Bowl,[65] Croom garnered Coach of the Year awards from three organizations.[65] On December 4, 2007, Croom was named coach of the year by the American Football Coaches Association for region two.[65] The AFCA has five regional coaches of the year and announces a national coach of the year each January.[66] That same year, on December 5, Croom was named SEC Coach of the Year twice, once as voted by the other SEC coaches and once as voted by The Associated Press. It was the first time a Mississippi State coach received the AP honor since Charley Shira in 1970 and the first time a Mississippi State coach received the coaches award since Wade Walker in 1957.[67]

After a 4–8 record in 2008,[65] culminating with a 45–0 loss to rival #25 Ole Miss, Croom was asked by school officials to resign as the coach of the Bulldogs.[68]

Dan Mullen era (2009–present)[edit]

Florida offensive coordinator Dan Mullen was hired as Mississippi State's head coach in late 2008.[69] Mullen arrived with a reputation as a quarterback guru, having tutored Alex Smith, Chris Leak and Tim Tebow during his career as an assistant coach.[70]

In Mullen's first season, the Bulldogs finished 5–7, ending upbeat with a 41–27 victory over #20 Ole Miss in the Egg Bowl.[71]

In 2010, they started 1–2, and then they had a 6-game winning streak to make their record 7–2 before losing to Alabama and Arkansas, but defeated Ole Miss.[72] The team participated in a bowl game for the first time since 2007, soundly defeating Michigan in the Gator Bowl 52–14.[72][73]

In 2011, the Bulldogs entered the season ranked #19 in the country, and they started 1–0, before losing to the defending national champion Auburn 41–34.[74] Mississippi State entered the Ole Miss game in Starkville needing a win to qualify for a bowl bid for a second straight season.[74] The Bulldogs won 31–3, earning Mullen the distinction as the first coach to beat Ole Miss in his first three tries since Allyn McKeen in 1941. The Bulldogs capped off the season with a Music City Bowl win over Wake Forest in Nashville, Tennessee.[74][75]

In 2012, Mississippi State defeated Tennessee 41–31 in their sixth game of the season to become bowl eligible.[76] After a 7–0 start the team won only one of its remaining five games to finish 8-5, including a 41-24 loss at Ole Miss and a 34-20 loss to the #21 Northwestern in the Gator Bowl.[76][77] This was the first time Mississippi State appeared in a bowl three straight years since 2000.

In 2013, MSST under Mullen became bowl eligible for the fourth consecutive year following a 17-10 overtime win over Ole Miss.[78] MSST defeated Rice in the Liberty Bowl December 31, 2013 in Memphis, Tennessee, by a score of 44–7.[78][79] It was MSST's third bowl win in the last four years.[80]

2014 turned out to be the most historic run for the team, as the Bulldogs reached a #1 ranking for the first time ever, doing so in both the Amway Coaches Poll and the AP Poll, after beating 3 consecutive top-10 teams (#7 LSU Tigers, #6 Texas A&M Aggies, and #2 Auburn Tigers). As a result, the Bulldogs became the fastest team in AP Poll's history to reach the #1 ranking, from being unranked, in only 5 weeks. However, at the end of the season, only one of the three teams remained ranked. Auburn finished 8-5 (4-4 SEC) and ranked #22, and lost to Wisconsin in the Outback Bowl, Texas A&M finished 7-5 (3-5 SEC) and beat West Virginia in the Liberty Bowl, and LSU finished 8-4 (4-4 SEC) and lost to Notre Dame in the Music City Bowl.[81][82]

The Bulldogs couldn't sustain that momentum, and lost two of their last three regular season games, first to #5 Alabama 25–20 and then two weeks later to #18 Ole Miss 31–17. That loss knocked the Bulldogs out of playoff contention, leaving them 10–2 and ranked #7 by the College Football Playoff Committee in their final rankings. As a result, they were awarded a trip to the Orange Bowl against #10 Georgia Tech on December 31, 2014. The Bulldogs lost that contest 49-34 and finished 10–3 and were ranked #11 in the final AP Poll.[83]

In 2015, the Bulldogs went 4-4 in the SEC and finished the regular season with an 8-4 record and went on to play in the 2015 Belk Bowl against the NC State Wolfpack, winning 51-28. Dak Prescott was named the game MVP after throwing 4 touchdowns.

In 2016, MSU found their selves struggling without former QB Dak Prescott. New stars emerged for the Bulldogsthough. Nick Fitzgerald emerged as a rising star with a huge skill set, and Aries Williams, too, rose to the need of the Bulldogs. Though these players emerged the Bulldogs finished wit a 5-7 record making them not bowl eligible. But thanks the new stars of the Bulldog team, they won the 2016 Egg bowl handsomely 55-20, and, with much luck, will attend the St. Petersburg Bowl because of their APR and the fact that there was not enough teams to fill the 40 bowls. The bulldogs will face Miami (OH) on December 26 at 10 a.m. in their seventh straight bowl game.

Program achievements[edit]

The 1940 Mississippi State Bulldogs finished the season 10–0–1 and defeated Georgetown 14–7 in the 1941 Orange Bowl, with key wins over Florida, Alabama, and Ole Miss, while tying with Auburn 7–7. The Bulldogs finished ranked #9 in the AP Poll and Minnesota was named national champions by all major polls.

SEC champion 1941
SEC West champion 1998
Final AP Poll ranking 1940, 1941, 1942, 1957, 1974, 1976, 1980, 1992, 1994, 1999, 2000, 2010, 2014
Final Coaches' Poll ranking 1963, 1992, 1994, 1999, 2000, 2010, 2014
Bowl victories* 1940, 1963, 1974, 1981, 1999, 2000, 2007, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2015
Bowl appearances* 1936, 1940, 1963, 1974, 1980, 1981, 1991, 1992, 1994, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2007, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016
  • Years listed for Bowl victories are seasons for which they occurred.

Conference championships[edit]

The 1941 Mississippi State Bulldogs finished the year with an 8–1–1 record, and won the Southeastern Conference championship. The season included wins over Florida, Alabama, Auburn, and Ole Miss. The Bulldogs tied with LSU and were defeated by Duquesne.

Season Conference Coach Overall Record Conference Record
1941 SEC Allyn McKeen 8–1–1 4–0–1
Conference Championships 1

Divisional championships[edit]

The SEC has been split into two divisions since the 1992 season with Mississippi State competing in the SEC West since that time. In 1998, MSU finished the regular season with a 26–14 win over Alabama, a 22–21 win over Arkansas, and a 28–6 win over Ole Miss in Oxford, Mississippi. At the end of the regular season, both MSU and Arkansas finished with 6–2 conference records, but by virtue of MSU's head-to-head win over Arkansas, MSU earned the right to play in the SEC Championship Game as SEC Western Division Champions. In that game, MSU was leading eventual national champion Tennessee in the fourth quarter before falling 24–14 before 74,000 fans in the Georgia Dome. They continued on to play in the Cotton Bowl Classic in Dallas, Texas, against a heavily favored Texas Longhorns team. The Bulldogs lost the game 38–11.

Season Division Coach SEC CG Result Opponent PF PA
1998† SEC West Jackie Sherrill L Tennessee 14 24
Division Championships 1
† Denotes co-champions

Bowl games[edit]

Mississippi State has played in 19 bowl games, compiling a record of 11–8, highlighted by wins in the 1941 Orange Bowl, the 1963 Liberty Bowl, the 1999 Peach Bowl, and the 2011 Gator Bowl.[84]

Mississippi State's first bowl game was against the Havana Athletic Club in the Bacardi Bowl on January 1, 1912 in Havana, Cuba. Known as the Mississippi A&M Aggies at that time, the Bulldogs won by a final score of 12–0. Mississippi State does not count the victory against the athletic club among its bowl games and bowl wins.[85][86]

From 1999–2011 Mississippi State had a 5-game winning streak in bowls. The streak ended against the Northwestern Wildcats in the 2013 Gator Bowl. The Bulldogs have been to six straight bowl games for the first time in school history dating back to the 2010 season.[87][88]

W/L Date PF Opponent PA Bowl
L 01-01-1937 12 Duquesne 13 Orange Bowl
W 01-01-1941 14 Georgetown 7 Orange Bowl
W 12-21-1963 16 NC State 12 Liberty Bowl
W 12-28-1974 26 North Carolina 24 Sun Bowl
L 12-27-1980 17 Nebraska 31 Sun Bowl
W 12-31-1981 10 Kansas 0 Hall of Fame Bowl
L 12-29-1991 15 Air Force 38 Liberty Bowl
L 01-02-1993 17 North Carolina 21 Peach Bowl
L 01-01-1995 24 NC State 28 Peach Bowl
L 01-01-1999 11 Texas 38 Cotton Bowl Classic
W 12-30-1999 17 Clemson 7 Peach Bowl
W 12-31-2000 43 Texas A&M 41 Independence Bowl
W 12-29-2007 10 UCF 3 Liberty Bowl
W 01-01-2011 52 Michigan 14 Gator Bowl
W 12-30-2011 23 Wake Forest 17 Music City Bowl
L 01-01-2013 20 Northwestern 34 Gator Bowl
W 12-31-2013 44 Rice 7 Liberty Bowl
L 12-31-2014 34 Georgia Tech 49 Orange Bowl
W 12-30-2015 51 NC State 28 Belk Bowl
12-26-2016 Miami (OH) St. Petersburg Bowl
Bowl History:[89][90]

Rivalries[edit]

Ole Miss[edit]

Main article: Egg Bowl

The Battle for the Golden Egg, also known as the Egg Bowl, is the Mississippi State-Ole Miss rivalry. It was first played in 1901 and has been played every year since 1915 (with the exception of the 1943 season when neither school fielded teams due to World War II) making it the tenth longest uninterrupted series in the United States. The game became "The Battle for the Golden Egg" in 1927 when a travelling trophy was added. Although through the years the game has been played primarily in 3 locations Starkville (38 times), Oxford (36 times), and Jackson (29 times); there have been a few meetings in other locations including Tupelo 3 times, Greenwood twice, Clarksdale once, and Columbus once. In total the two squads have met on the gridiron 113 times with Ole Miss holding a 63–44–6 lead in the series.

Mississippi State-Mississippi: All-Time Record
Games played First meeting Last meeting MSU wins MSU losses Ties
113 1901 (Won 17–0) November 26, 2016 (Won 55–20) 44 63 6

LSU[edit]

The LSU–Mississippi State rivalry, is an annual football game between the Louisiana State Tigers and Mississippi State University Bulldogs. Both universities are founding members of the Southeastern Conference, as well as the Western Division. This rivalry is LSU's longest rivalry with 108 meetings.

Mississippi State's 34–29 victory on September 20, 2014 was the Bulldogs' first over LSU since 1999, their first in Baton Rouge since 1991, and just their fourth overall since 1985.

LSU-Mississippi State: All-Time Record
Games played First meeting Last meeting MSU wins MSU losses Ties
109 November 20, 1896 (Loss 52–0) September 17, 2016 (Lost 20–23) 34 73 3
  • Includes the 1976 game, which was won on the field by Mississippi State but later deemed by the NCAA to have been forfeited, therefore lost, by the Mississippi State.

Alabama[edit]

The Alabama–Mississippi State rivalry, sometimes referred to as the 90 Mile Drive or the Battle for Highway 82, is an annual football game between the University of Alabama Crimson Tide and Mississippi State University Bulldogs. Both universities are founding members of the Southeastern Conference, as well as the Western Division. The two campuses are located approximately 90 miles apart, and are the closest SEC schools in terms of distance.

Entering its 97th meeting as of the 2012 football season, Alabama-Mississippi State is one of the SEC's longest-running series, dating back to 1896.

Mississippi State-Alabama: All-Time Record
Games played First meeting Last meeting MSU wins MSU losses Ties
101 1896 (Lost 0–20) November 12, 2016 (Lost 3–51) 18 79 3

Kentucky[edit]

Kentucky has been Mississippi State's designated cross-division permanent opponent since the SEC became a 12-team league in 1992. The annual rivalry game between the Mississippi State Bulldogs and University of Kentucky Wildcats rotates between Lexington, Kentucky and Starkville, Mississippi. The game became a permanent rivalry when the Southeastern Conference assigned permanent interdivisional rivals. Mississippi State lost to Kentucky on October 22, 2016 ending a 7 game win streak against the Wildcats.

Mississippi State-Kentucky: All-Time Record
Games played First meeting Last meeting MSU wins MSU losses
44 1914 (Lost 13–19) October 22, 2016 (Lost 38-40) 22 22

All-time record vs. SEC teams[edit]

Opponent Won Lost Tied Percentage Streak First Last
Alabama 18 79 3 .195 Lost 9 1896 2016
Arkansas 10 16 1 .389 Lost 1 1916 2016
Auburn 26 62 2 .300 Lost 1 1905 2016
Florida 19 33 2 .370 Won 1 1923 2010
Georgia 6 17 0 .261 Lost 1 1914 2011
Kentucky 22 22 0 .500 Lost 1 1914 2016
LSU 34 73 3 .323 Lost 2 1896 2016
Missouri 1 2 0 .333 Won 1 1981 2015
Ole Miss 44 63 6 .407 Won 1 1901 2016
South Carolina 7 9 0 .438 Won 1 1992 2016
Tennessee 16 28 1 .367 Won 1 1907 2012
Texas A&M 5 5 0 .500 Won 1 1912 2016
Vanderbilt 13 7 2 .636 Won 3 1904 2014
Totals 221 416 20 .352

Traditions[edit]

The cowbell[edit]

The most unusual and certainly the most resounding symbol of Mississippi State University tradition is the cowbell. Despite decades of attempts by opponents and authorities to banish it from scenes of competition,[91] diehard State fans still celebrate Bulldog victories loudly and proudly with the distinctive sound of ringing cowbells.

The precise origin of the cowbell as a fixture of Mississippi State sports tradition remains unclear to this day. The best records have cowbells gradually introduced to the MSU sports scene in the late 1930s and early 1940s, coinciding with the 'golden age' of Mississippi State football success prior to World War II.

The most popular legend is that during a home football game between State and arch-rival Ole Miss, a jersey cow wandered onto the playing field. Mississippi State soundly whipped the Rebels that Saturday, and State College students immediately adopted the cow as a good luck charm. Students are said to have continued bringing a cow to football games for a while, until the practice was eventually discontinued in favor of bringing just the cow's bell.

Whatever the origin, it is certain that by the 1950s cowbells were common at Mississippi State games, and by the 1960s were established as the special symbol of Mississippi State. Ironically, the cowbell's popularity grew most rapidly during the long years when State football teams were rarely successful. Flaunting this anachronism from the 'aggie' days was a proud response by students and alumni to outsider scorn of the university's 'cow college' history.

In the 1960s two MSU professors, Earl W. Terrell and Ralph L. Reeves obliged some students by welding handles on the bells to they could be rung with much more convenience and authority. By 1963 the demand for these long-handled cowbells could not be filled by home workshops alone, so at the suggestion of Reeves the Student Association bought bells in bulk and the Industrial Education Club agreed to weld on handles. In 1964 the MSU Bookstore began marketing these cowbells with a portion of the profits returning to these student organizations.

Today many styles of cowbells are available on campus and around Starkville, with the top-of-the-line a heavy chrome-plated model with a full Bulldog figurine handle. But experts insist the best and loudest results are produced by a classic long-handled, bicycle-grip bell made of thinner and tightly-welded shells.

Cowbells decorate offices and homes of Mississippi State alumni, and are passed down through generations of Bulldog fans.

In early 1975, the SEC adopted a rule against artificial noisemakers that made it illegal to ring a cowbell during games; an official complaint by Auburn coach Shug Jordan, whose disapproval of the tradition went back several years,[92] after the Tigers narrow 1974 win over the Bulldogs was largely responsible for the decision.[93] At one point during the game, Jordan instructed his quarterback not to run a play in protest of officials refusing to quiet the crowd.[94] Jordan's dislike for the cowbells inspired Alabama to attempt to purchase 1,000 cowbells from Mississippi State for Alabama fans to take to the Iron Bowl; MSU declined the offer.[95] University of Texas fans also attempted to annoy Jordan with cowbells during the 1974 Gator Bowl.[96] Shortly after the ban was enacted, Mississippi State officials considered other items and devices to replace the cowbells.[97] In 1981, a Mississippi State faculty member filed a suit against Auburn University and the Southeastern Conference that sought to have the rule declared unconstitutional after his cowbell was confiscated at the 1981 AU-MSU game at Jordan–Hare Stadium.[98] Despite creative efforts[99] by MSU fans to circumvent the ruling and continue the tradition, the ban was in effect until 2010.

That spring, the 12 schools of the SEC agreed to a compromise on artificial noisemakers, acknowledging the role cowbells play in the history of Mississippi State University by amending the conference by-law. In the fall of 2010, on a one-year trial with specified restrictions, cowbells were permitted in Davis Wade Stadium for the first time in 36 years. And due to MSU fans' notable adherence to the rules outlined by the league, cowbells will continue to be allowed with similar restrictions in place. In 2012, the rule was made permanent by the SEC.

Maroon and white[edit]

Maroon and White are the distinctive colors of Mississippi State University athletic teams, dating back over a century to the very first football game ever played by the school's student-athletes.

On November 15, 1895, the first Mississippi A&M football team was preparing for a road trip to Jackson, Tennessee., to play Southern Baptist University (now called Union University) the following day. Since every college was supposed to have its own uniform colors, the A&M student body requested that the school's team select a suitable combination.

Considering making this choice an honor, the inaugural State team gave the privilege to team captain W.M. Matthews. Accounts report that without hesitation Matthews chose Maroon and White.

Recruiting[edit]

Mississippi State Bulldogs Football Scout.com team recruiting rankings:

Class

Scout.com

Rank

Commits

Top Commit

2016

34 20 Jeffery Simmons

2015

19 28 Martinas Rankin

2014

39 24 Aeris Williams

2013

22 21 Chris Jones

2012

18 28 Quay Evans

2011

45 22 Dee Arrington

2010

38 26 Damien Robinson

2009

19 27 Josh Boyd

2008

33 25 Templeton Hardy

2007

27 34 Robert Elliott

2006

39 24 Anthony Dixon

2005

39 28 Derek Pegues

2004

60 23 Rory Johnson

2003

20 32 Quinton Culberson

2002

17 23 Darren Williams

First round draft picks[edit]

Mississippi State has had 11 players selected in the first round of professional football drafts.

National Football League[edit]

Coaching staff[edit]

Head coaches[edit]

The program has had 32 head coaches since it began play during the 1895 season, and has played more than 1,050 games over 111 seasons.[100] Since December 2008, Dan Mullen has served as Mississippi State's head coach.[101]

Historic coaching hire[edit]

Mississippi State made history on December 1, 2003, when it hired Sylvester Croom as its head football coach. Croom was the first African-American named to such a position in the history of the Southeastern Conference (SEC).

Current coaching staff[edit]

Name Position
Dan Mullen Head Coach
Peter Sirmon Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers
Billy Gonzales Co-Offensive Coordinator/Passing Game/Wide Receivers
John Hevesy Co-Offensive Coordinator/Running Game/Offensive Line
Tony Hughes Recruiting Coordinator/Safeties Coach
Brian Johnson Quarterbacks Coach
Greg Knox Running Backs/Special Teams Coordinator
Scott Sallach Tight Ends Coach
Deshea Townsend Cornerbacks Coach
David Turner Defensive Line Coach

[102]

Future opponents[edit]

Intra-division opponents[edit]

Mississippi State plays the other six SEC West opponents once per season.

Even Numbered Years Odd Number Years
at Alabama vs Alabama
vs Arkansas at Arkansas
vs Auburn at Auburn
at LSU vs LSU
vs Texas A&M at Texas A&M
at Ole Miss vs Ole Miss

Non-division opponents[edit]

Mississippi State plays Kentucky as a permanent non-division opponent annually and rotates around the East division among the other six schools.[103]

2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022 2023 2024 2025
vs Kentucky at Kentucky vs Kentucky at Kentucky vs Kentucky at Kentucky vs Kentucky at Kentucky vs Kentucky
at Georgia vs Florida at Tennessee vs Missouri at Vanderbilt vs Georgia at South Carolina vs Tennessee at Florida

Non-conference opponents[edit]

Announced schedules as of September 15, 2016

2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022 2023 2024 2025 2026 2027
at Louisiana Tech at Kansas State vs Kansas State at NC State vs. NC State at Arizona vs Arizona at Minnesota vs Minnesota
vs BYU vs Louisiana Tech vs Abilene Christian vs UMass vs Louisiana Tech vs Memphis at Tulane
vs UMass vs Stephen F. Austin vs Louisiana–Lafayette** vs Tulane at Memphis
vs Charleston Southern vs Louisiana–Lafayette vs Alcorn State

[104]

** The 2019 game against Louisiana–Lafayette will be held at Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans.

References[edit]

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External links[edit]