“Show Me My Opponent” is back again after a one-week hiatus during Kentucky’s bye week. This week, our seventh edition this season, we are looking ahead to the Mississippi State Bulldogs, the Cats’ next opponent in the Cats’ next must-win game.
MISSISSIPPI STATE UNIVERSITY
Deep down in the sweaty, un-wiped asshole of America — known as Starkville, Mississippi on your road maps and atlases — you’ll find Mississippi State University, proudly considered the 14th best university in the Southeastern Conference.
Founded in 1878 as the Agricultural and Mechanical College of the State of Mississippi, today Mississippi State University is best known for producing Dak Prescott, the current starting quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys; and for the prominent smell of cow manure steaming from the bottoms of boots, the mud-flaps of trucks, and on the used condoms around campus.
More fun Mississippi State University and Starkville facts:
— The Center for the World University Rankings ranks Mississippi State No. 178 among American universities and No. 616 in the world.
— Johnny Cash was arrested for public drunkenness in Starkville and held overnight at the city jail, which was the inspiration for his song “Starkville City Jail.”
— Starkville claims to have invented Tee Ball.
— The school’s unofficial motto is Couldn’t Afford Ole Miss.
MISSISSIPPI STATE TRADITIONS AND STUFF
— Calling Starkville “Starkvegas” is very popular among Mississippi State students. The nickname is a play on Starkville and Las Vegas, because the two cities have so much in common. For instance, it’s unhealthy to spend more than three days in either city, and you’re liable to catch something you can’t get rid of if you have any physical contact with a local.
— Cowbells are the most resounding tradition at Mississippi State and they are a fixture at home football games. The cowbells have been said to be the loudest on sorority bid day, when new sisters are welcomed into their herds by having their ears tagged and bells attached to their collars.
— Did you know Mississippi State’s Davis Wade Stadium has one of the largest video boards in college football? At 5,217 square-feet, the Bulldogs can be seen losing to South Alabama from miles away.
NOTABLE MISSISSIPPI STATE PEOPLE
Machine Gun Kelly: American bank robber, bootlegger and kidnapper; considered one of the most famous gangsters from the Prohibition era; studied agriculture at Mississippi State, then known as Mississippi A&M
John Grisham: Bestselling author; his first novel, A Time To Kill, sold over 275 million copies worldwide; one of only three authors to sell 2 million copies on a first printing, along with Tom Clancy and J.K. Rowling
Taylor Corley: Former Mississippi State cheerleader; lost her scholarship when she posed for Playboy under the name Taylor Stone
A bunch of meteorologists: 12 of the top 25 people on Ranker.com’s Famous Mississippi State University Alumni are meteorologists, including Kristen Cornett, who was born in Lexington, at No. 2 on the list.
INSTAGRAM SCOUTING REPORT
THAT TIME SOME GUY ATTEMPTED TO RAP
SO WHO’S THE HEAD COACH?
Mississippi State is coached by the thorn in Kentucky football’s side, Dan Mullen.
Mullen is 11-0 in his career against Kentucky with a current 7-0 record as State’s head coach and another perfect 4-0 record during his time as an assistant at the University of Florida.
A former Urban Meyer understudy, Mullen is a good, offensive-minded football coach with a very lenient policy on player misconduct.
THREE PLAYERS TO WATCH
|#7 | NICK FITZGERALD | QB | Sophomore
Nick Fitzgerald is Mississippi State’s dual-threat quarterback that will be a handful for the Kentucky D.
The sophomore leads the Bulldogs in rushing yards with 431 yards and two games of 100 or more on the ground. Oh, he’s thrown for almost 1,000 yards and eight touchdowns, too.
Fitzgerald ranks fifth nationally in average rush yards per game by a quarterback (78.0) and he is seventh in the SEC in total offense with 238.2 yards per game.
Eric Church is his favorite musician. #HavingARecordYear
|#8 | FRED ROSS | WR | Senior
A Biletnikoff Award candidate and All-SEC recipient, Fred Ross currently ranks third in the SEC in catches per game (5.7), second in the league in receiving touchdowns (5) and is tied for the MSU record in 100-yard receiving games with eight.
For his career, he has hauled in 161 passes (third in MSU history) for 1,997 yards (5th in MSU history) and 15 touchdowns (5th in MSU history). He is just one catch shy of tying his school’s career record for receptions and three receiving yards shy of becoming the fifth Bulldog with 2,000 career receiving yards.
Needless to say, he’s pretty good.
|#47 | A.J. JEFFERSON | DE | Senior
With already one SEC Defensive Lineman of the Week Award on his resume this season, Jefferson is one of the league’s best pass-rushers and run-stoppers. He currently ranks second in the SEC in tackles for loss per game and he is third overall in that category.
Jefferson also ranks 10th nationally in tackles for loss and he has recorded 34.5 career tackles for loss, which is fifth in MSU history and just 0.5 away from tying for third.
Fun fact: He played goalie on his high school’s soccer team.
LAST TIME WE MET
Last year’s game was a blowout down in Starkville as Dak Prescott’s six touchdowns — three passing, three rushing — carried the Bulldogs to a 42-16 win.
State’s offense totaled almost 600 yards, while its defense intercepted three Kentucky passes — two from Patrick Towles and one from Drew Barker.
Kentucky and Mississippi State will kick off under the Commonwealth Stadium lights Saturday night with both teams desperately needing a win, and Kentucky looking for its first in the cross-divisional rivalry since 2008.
It will be a close, hard-fought game, unlike in recent years, but the Cats will prevail in the end, handing Mullen his first career loss to the Blue and White.
All of the Mississippi State fans who came up for Keeneland and the game will make the long, depressing drive back to Starkville, knowing it’ll only get worse as they’ll soon be back to their miserable lives in the worst city in the world.
Meanwhile, Big Blue Nation will celebrate and carry the momentum into Missouri, which we’ll preview here this time next week.