Yeah, yeah, yeah… Mississippi State is No. 1 in the polls. Yawn. When the Dawgs come →
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©October 21st, 2014 @ 8:00pm
As UK football fans, we love a good underdog story, and this year in college football, there’s no better one than Mississippi State. Unranked when the season began, Mississippi State stormed to a 6-0 start, including three consecutive wins over top 10 teams, which was good enough to make them the number one team in the country. Suddenly, a game that looked like a potential win for the Cats when the season began is now a challenge of monumental proportions. What happened to the quiet little Mississippi State team that UK was capable of knocking off every now and again? Let’s find out in the latest KSR Q&A.
First, what is up with the cowbells?
According to legend, a jersey cow wandered onto the field during a Mississippi State/Ole Miss game, and the Bulldogs went on to rout the Rebels. As a result, students adopted the cow as a good luck charm, and because it isn’t very practical (not to mention messy) to bring cows to games, they started bringing cowbells. Now, it’s their thing.
But why are they still allowed to use the cowbells during games?
Good question. In 1974, the SEC outlawed artificial noisemakers in stadiums, therefore banning Mississippi State fans from bringing cowbells to games. Even though fans snuck cowbells in and basically ignored the rule, the ban was in effect until 2010, when the league agreed to allow cowbells because they are part of Mississippi State history, but only in Davis Wade stadium.
So, they’re not allowed in Commonwealth Stadium?
Nope. And I give you permission to take them from any Bulldog fan trying to sneak one in.
What is “Clanga Clanga”?
“Clanga Clanga” is the nickname given to the sound the cowbells make. With Mississippi State doing so well, “Clanga Clanga” fever has taken over the nation, sending Lou Holtz into a frenzy a few weeks ago:
I could watch that the rest of the night.
Why does the Mississippi State Bulldog look so different than the Georgia Bulldog?
I have often wondered this. Google says both are English bulldogs, but apparently the big difference is Georgia’s mascots are strictly pure white English bulldogs, while Mississippi State’s bulldogs are brown and white English bulldogs. Mississippi State’s bulldogs are named “Bully,” and for years, they were allowed to roam campus freely and live in fraternities until rival fans kept kidnapping them. Now, Bully XX (who also goes by “Champ”) lives at the Mississippi State vet school, where he works out on a treadmill wearing awesome goggles:
Who would win in a battle of the costumed mascots: the Cat or Bully the Bulldog?
I’d say the Cat. The headpiece of the Bulldog costume looks pretty heavy, plus, the bulldog has shown he’s pretty susceptible to injury. Last year, an ESPN TV cart clipped the student acting as Bully, causing her to fall down and break her leg.
Then again, our mascot struggles with pushups, so maybe it’s a toss up.
Why do people call Starkville “Starkvegas”?
Honestly, I’m not really sure. I even asked a few Mississippi State fans I know and they weren’t really sure, other than there is nothing do do in Starkville but party, and, like Las Vegas, it’s pretty much in the middle of nowhere. What happens in Starkvegas, stays in Starkvegas? Maybe we should ask the person who created this t-shirt (which should definitely stay in Starkvegas):
Why is their quarterback named “Dak”?
Dak is actually short for Dakota, and even though “Dak” is a terrible name, “Dakota” is probably worse, so kudos to him for doing the best with what he had. Dak is considered the frontrunner for the Heisman, and is one of those dreaded dual threat quarterbacks that has given UK fits over the years. So far this season, he’s thrown for 1,478 yards and 14 touchdowns, and he’s rushed for 576 yards and eight touchdowns. Normally, at this point in listing an opponent’s stats, I’d try to vilify him, but Dak isn’t just an amazing player, he seems like an amazing person as well. Last season, Dak lost his mother to colon cancer. Ever since, he’s dedicated himself to football and helping sick children in need. There’s no vilifying that.
Why do people keep comparing Dak to Tim Tebow?
In addition to the saint-like tendencies, Dak has a similar build as Tim Tebow, another dual threat quarterback that played under Dan Mullen (Mullen was the offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach at Florida during the Tebow years). They even have the same jersey number. No word on if Dak is similar to Tebow in …other ways.
He can run, too? That doesn’t sound encouraging.
No, it doesn’t, especially when you add junior running back Josh Robinson into the mix. Robinson leads all active SEC running backs with 114.8 yards per game, behind only Georgia’s Todd Gurley, who is suspended indefinitely. Robinson and Prescott rank in the top four in rushing in the SEC, earning them the nickname “Dakman and Robinson.” (Get it, like Batman and Robin. It’s a bit of a stretch, I know.) UK’s run defense is currently 11th in the SEC, allowing 178 rushing yards a game, and the Cats looked especially atrocious in Baton Rouge, allowing the Tigers to run for a whopping 303 yards.
Okay, that’s enough. Show me the Lou Holtz thing again.
By Nick Roush on ©October 21st, 2014 @ 7:30pm
Turning It Around
It was tough for the team to experience that beating on the road. For Pat Towles, the pain lingered for a solid day, but Monday was a completely different story. After failing to act like playmakers in one-on-one situations Saturday, the team pumped some Juice back into their performance. “We made plays. We took coaching. I’m very very confident in our plan and we executed that well,” Towles said.
We throw around the word execution a lot, but what does it mean for this team? It’s Olinemen bursting off the ball, it’s the receivers getting open with lower pad level and it’s the accuracy of the quarterback’s throws. Frankly, none of that was present last Saturday. Towles wasn’t afraid to admit it either:
“The coaches can call the perfect play, but you need to execute. We didn’t execute at any level, at any position. You’re going to get beat by everybody if you don’t do that.”
There aren’t many better than State’s front seven
MSU’s DLine & linebackers have been gaining more praises each week, but it’s still probably not enough credit. Towles called them “the best front seven we’ve played,” and Neal Brown said they’re “maybe the best front seven in the league, I haven’t seen them all yet.”
They’re at their best in the interior line, where the Cats OLine is the youngest and has struggled the most. DE Preston Smith is larger than Za’Bud, and he has two interceptions. Scary. The only thing scarier is Bernardrick McKinney. The LB is up for a slew of awards, despite being an unranked 3-star prospect out of high school.
Neal Brown gives their coaching staff credit for their ability to evaluate talent in the rebuilding process. Their PTPer at wide receiver against LSU is the perfect example, “I think the big wideout was a basketball player. The big kid that made a bunch of plays against LSU, he was a basketball player in Alabama. I think he played very little football, and he’s a stud. So I think those guys — what really speaks to me is they trust their evaluation process.
No Boom today
Brown is hopeful he’ll be alright by game time. Unfortunately the head/neck injuries must be treated with extra delicacy, leaving the decision up to the doctors.
If Boom is not good to go, expect to see more of Mikel Horton. Horton got most of his snaps during in garbage time Saturday, but Brown liked what he saw, “He was one of those guys coming out of the game that I was excited about, because he ran the ball late in the third and the fourth quarter and I thought he did some nice things.”
Towles remembers the last time the Cats took down #1 at Home
The lifelong Cats fan was on the field in ’07 when Kentucky upset LSU. Pat isn’t letting childhood drreams and aspirations get in the way of the job at hand, “The margin for error is very, very small. If we practice like we did today, and tomorrow, continue to build on (it), we’ll have a pretty good shot at it I think.”
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©October 21st, 2014 @ 7:00pm
By Drew Franklin on ©October 21st, 2014 @ 6:10pm
The SEC Network’s morning pregame show will broadcast live from Commonwealth Stadium this Saturday from 10:00 till noon. The show will be set up on the corner of Alumni and College Way.
Be one of the first 350 fans to show up and you’ll walk away with this free t-shirt from SEC Nation. Everyone else will have to settle for the memory of seeing Tim Tebow and Paul Finebaum in person.
By Courtney Sealey on ©October 21st, 2014 @ 5:30pm
It’s been a very long time since SEC basketball was constantly competitive. What Coach Cal has done at Kentucky is not something any other coach could do. Coach Cal took a weak program and turned it into the powerhouse it once was in years past. Cal has turned the program into something which is above the level of basketball other teams play in the conference. Obviously because of this Mitch Barnhart has had to make our out of conference competition to help Kentucky when it comes to seeding in the NCAA Tournament. I know I am stating the obvious there.
As far as football goes, I have always had the idea that one should give a football coach three full seasons to get a good analysis of what he has done with the program and where it will be headed in the future. It takes time to get talented recruits to a school and to develop that talent to play at a NCAA level. While I am confident with my ‘coach timeline’ when it comes to football, Cal has really screwed me up with this in basketball. Part of me says, ‘well Cal turned Kentucky around in less than a year, so any other coach should be able to do it’, but I know that’s not true. It’s more impossible than that.
That is why I have been so patient with SEC Basketball. Kevin Stallings, Billy Donovan and Andy Kennedy all have longer tenures with their teams. However, after this season, eleven coaches have been with their programs for six seasons or less. Three of those coaches are new this season. As for the other eight programs, only three coaches have taken their teams to the NCAA tournament (Kentucky, Alabama, Georgia).
So what about the other programs? How long can it go before enough is enough? I don’t expect a coach to take a program to the tournament after one year, but how many years will it take before the window for success closes?
It is easier in college basketball to bring in talent to start as a true freshman than it is in football, but that talent also is quicker to to turn pro than it would in football. It takes time to find chemistry among a team, to find something that works.
If one year is to fast (when you aren’t Kentucky) and three years is the deadline for football, what is it for basketball? After typing out my thoughts and thinking about it, I would say three or four years is plenty of time to try to revive a program.
With that said, It looks this season is a make or break year for five programs in the SEC (Arkansas, LSU, Mississippi State, South Carolina, and Texas A&M). If these programs don’t do well, we could be looking at a conference with half of the coaches in their second year or newer. No one wants to start from the beginning and not knowing what the future holds for SEC basketball is scary. If these programs don’t step it up this year, the schools will have to start over and SEC basketball will only get worse before it gets better.
I am sure Kentucky and Florida would love to have more SEC representation at the NCAA tournament than just three or four teams that find themselves in it somehow. Every year when it comes time for post season, media always points to Kentucky’s weak conference schedule, something they can’t help. Will there ever come a point when SEC basketball will become ‘the’ basketball powerhouse? Do you see it happening in the near future?
By Drew Franklin on ©October 21st, 2014 @ 4:35pm
By Drew Franklin on ©October 21st, 2014 @ 3:41pm
Kengera Daniel, a three-star defensive end out of North Carolina, will go public with his college decision on Wednesday. Ranked as the 23rd best weakside defensive end in the country by the 247Sports Composite, Daniel has offers from big time programs like Alabama, Miami, Michigan and Tennessee. However, it will likely come down to either Kentucky or NC State in the end.
UK currently leads his Crystal Ball predictions with 91 percent of the vote, followed by Florida State and Wake Forest with one outdated vote apiece. Daniel took his official visit to Lexington on October 4th for the South Carolina game.
Yahtzee on the way?
By Drew Franklin on ©October 21st, 2014 @ 3:04pm
Former Fairdale High School wrestler Willie Burton will be the subject of a story on E:60 tonight on ESPN. Burton was born with cerebral palsy but wrestled for four years at Fairdale, earning him Most Outstanding Wrestler honors in the region. After making the team as a freshman, he had one request: “Treat me like anyone else.”
Burton’s story will air tonight at 8:00 pm. It’s narrated by wrestling legend Dan Gable.
By Drew Franklin on ©October 21st, 2014 @ 2:09pm
Pat McDonogh of the Courier-Journal tweeted out an amazing photo of Adolph Rupp tucking Alex Groza into bed. Groza was listed at 6-foot-7 in his playing days; that bed, however, was not. It looks more like an even six.
Nowadays the Lodge has beds and showers and bathroom countertops custom made for tall basketball players. And I doubt Calipari is tucking any of his guys in before night-night. If he is, we need photos.
By Drew Franklin on ©October 21st, 2014 @ 1:30pm
We have two new t-shirts available for purchase at ShopKSR.com today and your wardrobe is dying to have them. First is the classic “Two Bigguns” look, a phrase made popular by Johnny Short on the KSR radio show. It also made its way to MSNBC during Matt’s appearance on The Last Word.
We also have an “Our State” t-shirt for those of you who have to encounter Louisville fans. It serves as a reminder that Kentucky is a completely blue state.
To purchase these two or see our entire collection, go to ShopKSR.com. I think you’ll like what you see.
By Drew Franklin on ©October 21st, 2014 @ 12:30pm
GOOD NEWS, CATS FANS! The SEC Network, likely trying to get back in your good graces, will televise next week’s Blue-White basketball scrimmage live in its entirety. The Wildcats are set to tip off against the Wildcats next Monday at 7:00 pm in Rupp Arena and now you will be able to see it on your television set from the friendly and comfortable confines of your own home.
The SEC Network will also air Kentucky’s first two exhibition games: Pikeville (11/2) and Georgetown (11/9).
By Andrew Cassady on ©October 21st, 2014 @ 12:00pm
At SEC media days this summer Mississippi State head coach Dan Mullen stated the Bulldog’s season expectation was “to find a way to get to Atlanta.” With games on the schedule against LSU, Texas A&M, Auburn, and Alabama a lot of people laughed. Nobody is laughing now. For the second time in three years Mississippi State has started the season with a record of 6-0. In 2012 their hot start was followed by the dawgs losing 5 of 6 to end the season 8-5. This year they will surely be looking to avoid a similar fate but in order to see where they may end up let’s see where they’ve been. This is the Mississippi State season in review:
Southern Miss, Current Record (3-4)
The Bulldogs opened the season with a beatdown of the in-state Golden Eagles. Dak Prescott went 18/26 and threw four touchdowns as State won 49-0. Business as usual for a SEC school playing an C-USA school.
UAB, Current Record (4-3)
Mississippi State took care of business against UAB but the game gave plenty of reason to doubt the Bulldogs as a contender. Prescott once again threw four touchdowns en route to a 47-34 win. The biggest issue was the 435 passing yards given up to the Blazers which included big plays of 88, 81, and 75 yards. After the game Coach Mullen said the holes in the pass defense was something State would be getting fixed. If the Cats are going to find a way to pull the upset they will need to exploit the pass defense once again.
@ South Alabama, Current Record (4-2)
State crushed South Alabama on the road 35-3. Dak ran, threw, and caught a touchdown but besides that it was a run-of-the-mill game. The Bulldogs were on to their real test.
@ LSU, Current Record (6-2)
The Bulldogs did what we couldn’t. They went into Tiger Stadium and won a game at night. State hadn’t won in Baton Rouge since 1991 but Dak Prescott helped change that by racking up 268 yards and two TDs. Miss St. executed our gameplan to perfection as caught the Tigers offguard early with a 17-3 lead and then rode that to a 34-29 win. The dawgs got it done on the ground with Josh Robinson bruising his way to 197 yards.
Texas A&M, Current Record (5-3)
The Bulldogs then got to host sixth ranked TAMU after taming the Tigers on the road. The Aggies threw the ball a whopping 62 times which resulted in 3 game changing interceptions. Prescott was good once again as he went 20/26 for 268 yards , he added 77 more running on the ground and totaled 5 touchdowns. Running back Josh Robinson totaled 107 more and 2 TDs as State rolled to a 48-31 win.
Texas A&M proved that you’re not going to beat this team if you’re constantly turning the ball over.
Auburn, Current Record (5-1)
It was the biggest test of the season for the Bulldogs and one they passed with flying colors when they hosted the defending runners up for college gameday. Auburn hadn’t lost an SEC game in over a year but that didn’t stop the State defense from making Nick Marshall look average in a 38-23 win. Prescott picked up 121 yards on the ground and threw for for 246 more. After three straight top-10 wins the Bulldogs made the trek from unranked to first place the fastest in the history of the AP poll
What have we learned?
Lesson 1) It’s going to take a lot of points to beat the Bulldogs. State is 9th in the nation in points per game and they’ve done it against teams that don’t give up much in LSU and Auburn. Lesson 2) They’re a Dual Threat Team. Last year we held Dak to just 33 yards on the ground. It’s going to take a total effort to do that again this season. Josh Robinson has emerged as a true threat in his breakout junior season and will likely cross the 1000 yard mark this season. State also goes about 7 deep at receiver as , like Kentucky, they have several guys capable of making a play. If Kentucky can find some way to make them a bit more dimensional then they will have a much better chance at the W. Easier said that done.
What do you think of Mississippi State’s season so far?
By Drew Franklin on ©October 21st, 2014 @ 11:42am
Mississippi State head coach Dan Mullen, fresh off his team’s bye week, met with the Starkville media yesterday to preview the week ahead and Saturday’s game in Lexington. I assume you weren’t there, so you can find what he had to say about the Cats below:
“The Kentucky game this week is going to be very challenging. There are a lot of similarities with both teams. In our game against them last year, it came right down to the final play. They have a lot of star players back from last year, and we have a lot of guys back too. So I know they are going to have a lot of confidence. Anytime you are on the road in the SEC, it is going to be a huge challenge.”
“I don’t know if you can judge any team by how they perform on a Saturday night in ‘Death Valley’. They had a tough game last week and some things went wrong for them, but if you look at their overall body of work on the season, they have very talented players. [Patrick] Towles really throws the ball well and has the size to be able to stand in the pocket and throw it. He is very deceptively athletic. He is a much better runner than he gets credit for. They rotate their running backs through and they all bring something different to the table. They have some explosive wide receivers. They certainly have a lot of big time players on their team. Our focus is to get a fourth SEC win this week, and that is really what it is all about.”
“I think Mark Stoops has done a great job. The first thing you start with is getting guys to play hard. You can get the talent, but the guys have to play hard. They are playing hard and with a lot of energy. There are guys stepping up and making big plays for them when they need them. That is a sign that they have bought in to what Coach Stoops is trying to build. I think you are seeing those steps pay off on the field for them this year. They are 5-2, with both losses coming on the road in the SEC. One was a triple- overtime game. When you look at the improvement that they have made, they can compete with anyone.”
Mullen also called Kentucky “one of the hottest and most improved teams in college football.”
Now let’s beat him.
By Drew Franklin on ©October 21st, 2014 @ 11:15am
As we count down the days to Kentucky’s game with Mississippi State this weekend, KSR will take a look at some of Starkville’s finest citizens and representatives. Like this character for instance. His name’s James and he added a sweet new tattoo a couple days ago.
— James Denton (@jamesdenton1991) October 21, 2014
Someone should tell him tattoos are permanent.
By Drew Franklin on ©October 21st, 2014 @ 10:30am
Former Louisville commit Antonio Blakeney is set to take his official visit to Kentucky in a little under two weeks on Halloween weekend and the five-star guard chatted with Scout.com’s Evan Daniels about why UK is an option for college. He said, “What sticks out the most [about Kentucky] is how coach Cal is for his players and he really wants his players to do well and make it to the next level.”
“Most every player wants to make it the next level and when you have a coach pushing you to do that it really benefits you,” added Blakeney.
He will travel to Baton Rouge to check out LSU the weekend after his trip to Lexington, followed by visits to North Carolina and North Carolina State. He is also considering Missouri.
For more on Blakeney’s recruitment, check out Scout.com’s story here.