Despite the fact that the two schools played 11 times from 1960-72, Mississippi State and Houston have not met on the gridiron since that 1972 football season. The two teams last played in Houston in 1969 at the Harris County Domed Stadium, also known as the Astrodome.
1969 MSU-UH GAME ONE FOR THE RECORD BOOKS
The last time Mississippi State played at the University of Houston, the Cougars dealt the Bulldogs the worst defeat in the school's 104-year football-playing history. UH whipped State 74-0 that season.
STATE LOOKS TO BUILD ON NON-TV RECORD
Mississippi State has posted a 12-11 record over the last six seasons in games not shown to a live television audience. The Bulldogs, however, aim to break a four-game losing skid in non-televised games (Arkansas, Alabama and Kentucky in 2002; Tulane in 2003).
BULLDOGS SOLID VS. NON-SEC SCHOOLS
Mississippi State has posted a 150-110-10 (.574) record all-time against teams that are not members of the Southeastern Conference, an impressive 29-10-1 (.738) mark in regular-season, non-conference games since Jackie Sherrill assumed the head coaching reins in 1991. MSU has won 12 of its last 17 games against non-conference competition.
MISSISSIPPI STATE IMPRESSIVE VS. C-USA TEAMS
Mississippi State has posted a 78-59-3 (.568) record against teams that currently comprise Conference USA. The Bulldogs' loss at Tulane this past Saturday ended a streak of 10 straight State wins over C-USA members since 1993.
BULLDOGS HAVE ENJOYED PLAYING IN TEXAS
Mississippi State has posted a 12-10-1 record all-time in games played in the state of Texas. In addition to the Bulldogs' 3-3 mark against the University of Houston in the Lone Star State, MSU is 1-0 at Baylor (Waco) and at Texas A&M (College Station), 2-1 at Texas Tech (Lubbock), 1-1 at Texas (Austin) and 0-1 at Rice (Houston). State is also 4-4-1 in games played against those schools at neutral sites in the state of Texas.
BULLDOGS AIM TO AVOID 0-3 ON-FIELD START
Mississippi State has not opened a football season 0-3 on the field in 35 years. That designation is cited because since that 1968 season, MSU was required by the NCAA to forfeit wins in 1976 and '77 that gave the school losses in the initial three games of each season.
MISSISSIPPI STATE-HOUSTON TICKET UPDATE
Tickets still remain for the Mississippi State-Houston game at John O'Quinn Field at Robertson Stadium, a facility that holds 32,000 spectators. The Mississippi State athletic ticket office has sold approximately 2,000 tickets for the game. A crowd in the neighborhood of 25,000 is expected for the MSU-Houston match-up.
MSU PRORATES REMAINING SEASON TICKETS
The Mississippi State Athletic Ticket Office announced on 9/2 that a limited number of season tickets are available for the remaining Bulldog home games. Full-price season tickets have been prorated and are now priced at $129 each. The next home game is scheduled for September 27 against LSU, and the Bulldogs also have home games remaining against Vanderbilt (10/4), Memphis (homecoming, 10/11), Alabama (11/8) and the traditional season-ending Battle for the Golden Egg vs. Mississippi (11/27). The ticket office will take orders Monday through Friday from 8 am to 5 p.m. To order your tickets, call the MSU ticket office at 888-GO-DAWGS or locally at 325-2600, or visit the ticket office in the Bryan Athletic Building on campus.
MSU STUDENT TICKETS REMAIN AVAILABLE AS WELL
Mississippi State University student tickets are also still available. Students may purchase their tickets at the Bryan Athletic Ticket Office during regular business hours. No student ticket orders will be taken over the phone. Students must present a valid MSU ID card to purchase season tickets, which are priced at $18.
4 BULLDOGS RETURN HOME TO LONE STAR STATE
When Mississippi State makes the journey to Houston, it will mark a homecoming of sorts for four Bulldog players. Quarterback Kyle York (Spring), linebacker Marvin Byrdsong (Longview), fullback Bryson Davis (Plainview), and offensive tackle Clayton McCain (Houston) all hail from the Lone Star State. McCain played with UH running back Bobby Tillman at Memorial High School in Houston.
SMITH KICKS WAY TO MSU RECORDS, ALL-SEC VOTE
Senior place-kicker Brent Smith (Byhalia, Miss.) converted both of his field goal attempts (22 and 31 yards) this past Saturday against Tulane. With those two successful three-pointers, Smith has now made 11 of his last 12 field-goal efforts. His two conversions give him 18 field goals made in his career, moving him into eighth place on the school¹s all-time field goal chart. He surpassed Tim Rogers (17; 1994-95) and Tom Burke (17; 1992-93) on that list, and trails Kinney Jordan (23; 19075-76) for the seventh spot. In fact, it seems that only a nagging back ailment can slow the senior kicker. He was forced to the sidelines early in the third period with recurring muscle spasms in his back. He made four-of-four extra-point kicks against Oregon in the opener.
MISSISSIPPI STATE'S PLACE-KICKER HAS BEEN A MODEL OF CONSISTENCY
The senior place-kicker has converted 13 of his last 15 field goal tries, and has not missed a kick under 40 yards. In fact, two of his five misses have come from 50 yards or more.
CLARK RETURNS TO DEFENSE AS ALL-SEC CHOICE
Senior defensive end Jason Clark (Starkville, Miss.) has opened the 2003 season in much the same big-play way he has performed for the Bulldogs throughout his career. The 6-1, 245-pounder registered five tackles, including one for loss (minus 3 yards), and a pass knock-down at the line of scrimmage this past Saturday vs. Tulane. He also made five tackles against the Ducks in the season opener, and recovered one fumble. It was his fourth career fumble recovery.
MAWHINNEY NAMED PRESEASON ALL-SEC
Like Smith, senior inside linebacker T. J. Mawhinney (Madisonville, La.) was named second-team, all-Southeastern Conference in a preseason vote of the league's media representatives. Like Clark, he has opened the season in typical fashion, continuing his streak of double-digit tackle games. In his personal homecoming against Tulane, he recorded 12 tackles, including one hit behind the line of scrimmage (minus 1 yard), and one pass deflection. It was the fifth time in six games (dating back to 2002) that he had made at least 10 hits in a game. Mawhinney had 15 tackles, including one tackle for loss (minus 1 yard), and caused one fumble in the season opener vs. Oregon. The tackle total matched his career high, a 15-tackle effort at Alabama in 2001.
FANT OFF TO FAST START IN RECORDS JOURNEY
Mississippi State senior Kevin Fant (Moss Point, Miss.) completed 16-of-32 passes for 246 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions, against Tulane this past Saturday. He has now thrown five touchdowns and just one interception in the season's first two games. Fant completed 23-of-40 passes for 285 yards, three touchdowns and just one interception in the Bulldogs' season opener with Oregon. The 23 completions tied his career high set in the final game of the Œ02 season at Mississippi, and it was the fourth time in his career that he had thrown for three TDs in one game. Fant ranked second in the Southeastern Conference passing and total offense charts following the season's second week.
FANT MOVES TO 6th IN COMPLETIONS, 5TH IN TDS; STANDS SIXTH IN YARDS
With those 16 completions vs. Tulane, Fant now has 314 connections in his career, good for sixth on the school's all-time completions list, surpassing John Bond (307; 1980-83). He trails Tommy Pharr (339; 1967-69) for No. 5 on that chart. With his passing yardage against the Green Wave, he became just the sixth Bulldog QB ever to surpass 4,000 yards passing (4,011). He needs 281 yards to catch No. 5 Tony Shell (4,292; 1988-90). His two TD throws give him 24 in his career, good for fifth all-time at the school. He surpassed Rockey Felker (23; 1972-74) and matched Pharr (24; 1967-69) on that career list. Tony Shell (25; 1988-90) waits at No. 4. Those scores also give him 26 touchdowns-responsible-for, surpassing Tony Shell (25; 1988-90) for 10th-place on that list. His 230 yards of total offense give him 3,946 for his career, surpassing Felker (3,776; 1972-74) in the record books. In addition, his current completion percentage (.535) would rank fourth on the all-time MSU list and his current interception percentage (.0375) would rate third.
JENKINS MAKES SIMILAR JUMP IN RECORD BOOK
Mississippi State senior wide receiver Justin Jenkins (Pearl, Miss.), like Fant, looks to make a vault up the records section in the school's history book in his final season on campus. He had the best game of his Bulldog career against Tulane this past Saturday, hauling in a career-high nine balls for a career-best 164 yards, and a pair of touchdowns. The nine catches were the most by a Bulldog since Eric Moulds hauled in 10 passes against Auburn eight years ago (10/7/95). The yardage total was the 10th-most in a single game, and most receiving yards since Moulds had 183 yards vs. Tennessee (9/23/95). In the Bulldogs' season opener with Oregon, Jenkins caught six passes for 61 yards and a touchdown. He was second in the SEC in receiving and receiving yardage after the season's second week, rating ninth nationally in yards per game.
JENKINS MOVES AMONG THE SCHOOL'S TOP 10 IN RECEPTIONS, YARDS AND TDS
With his nine catches against Tulane, Jenkins now has 92 career receptions, good for seventh on the school¹s all-time receiving list, surpassing Justin Griffith (85; 1998-02) and Fred Hadley (86; 1984, Œ86-88) on that chart. Bill Buckley (102; 1971-73) stands No. 6. The lofty yardage total helped him crack State¹s all-time top 10 in that category, giving him 1,319 career yards. He surpassed Chris Jones (1,199; 1992-95) in yards receiving. His two TD catches give him 11 for his career, and move him into a tie for sixth in that category with Sammy Milner (1968-70), surpassing Danny Knight (10; 1980-83) and Harper Davis 10; 1945-48) on that list. David Smith (12; 1968-70) ranks No. 5.
JENKINS NAMED TO THE 2003 SOUTHEASTERN CONFERENCE GOOD WORKS TEAM
The Pearl, Miss., senior has been named to the SEC's 2003 Good Works Team, which recognizes student-athlete accomplishment in the community. Jenkins has been a regular volunteer for area elementary school's reading programs, anti-drug and alcohol awareness programs and at the local Boys Club.
STANDOUT GAME MOVES TURNER AMONG SEC BEST
Mississippi State sophomore tailback Nick Turner (Atlanta, Ga.) has moved among the SEC's top offensive threats following the first two weeks of the 2003 season. Turner rushed 20 times for 155 yards, a 7.8-yard per rush average, and one touchdown against Tulane this past Saturday. It was the most yards rushing in game by a Bulldog since Dicenzo Miller (172) and Dontae Walker (156) rushed past Florida in 2000. Turner gained 104 of his total in the third quarter, becoming the first Bulldog to rush for more than 100 yards in a quarter in seven years (Keffer McGee, 129 yards vs. Memphis [2nd quarter], 1996). Combined with 44 yards one kickoff return and 13 yards on two punt run backs, his 212 all-purpose yards were the most by a Bulldog since Kevin Prentiss had 233 all-purpose yards against Tennessee in the 1998 SEC Championship game.
TURNER RANKS AMONG LEAGUE ELITE; TOPS THE SEC KICKOFF RETURN CHART
Turner's two-game average of 114.5 yards per game rushing has him fourth in the SEC and 19th nationally. His 8.5 yards-per-rush average is the best of any conference running back ranked among the league leaders. Turner leads the SEC and ranks seventh nationally in all-purpose yardage at 193.5 yards per game. Turner also leads the league and ranks fourth in the country in kickoff return average (35.8 yards per return).
BIVINES JOINS JENKINS AMONG SEC LEADERS
Mississippi State junior wide receiver Ray Ray Bivines (Gautier, Miss.) hauled in four passes for 57 yards against Tulane this past Saturday, giving him 10 catches for 155 yards through two weeks. He ranks sixth in the league in receptions and fifth in receiving yardage.