Bulldogs Set For First Road Trip Of 2012; Meet Troy Saturday
STARKVILLE, Miss. - With his squad off to a hot start, Head Coach Dan Mullen will look to continue the momentum as the Mississippi State Bulldogs (2-0, 1-0 SEC) will hit the road for the first time this season to face Troy (1-1, 0-1 Sun Belt). The trip to Troy, Ala., by the Bulldogs will mark the first time a Southeastern Conference squad has made the trip to the 63-year old Veterans Memorial Stadium to play the Trojans.
Saturday's broadcast will be available only on ESPN3 and the WatchESPN app. For those unable to watch the battle online, the Mississippi State Radio Network will carry all the action, along with Sirius Radio (Channel 106).
Troy will look to rely on their offense to upset the Bulldogs, but will be facing a defense that has been lockdown to start the season. Along with a stellar defense, State will trot out an offense led by junior quarterback Tyler Russell, who is off to one of the more impressive starts an MSU quarterback has ever had in the program's history.
All-American Johnthan Banks was the unquestioned leader of the Maroon and White's defense coming into the season and has looked the part since the first play. After being avoided for most of the season-opener, Banks dominated in the Bulldogs' win against SEC West rival Auburn. Banks picked off two passes, almost returning one for a touchdown. The Maben, Miss., native is now tied for the lead among all active players with 14 career interceptions, and needs only two interceptions to tie Walt Harris for the school mark, and six to tie the Southeastern Conference career record of 20 (set twice).
On offense, Russell has blown away expectations already with his quick start to the 2012 campaign. Through the first two games, the Meridian, Miss., native is one of only four quarterbacks in the SEC to have thrown for 400-plus yards and five or more touchdowns without throwing an interception. Last week, Russell went 20-of-29 with 222 yards and three touchdowns, accounting for three of MSU's four scores in the win.
For the home team, the task of upsetting a third-straight BCS conference team at home (Missouri in 2004 and Oklahoma State in 2007) will be a large one. In hopes of accomplishing the upset, Head Coach Larry Blakeney will look to his junior quarterback and senior tailback. Corey Robinson will lead the Trojan's air attack and comes off a 485-yard and two-touchdown performance last week. Robinson's showing set five single-game school and career passing records. Shawn Southward, who has rushed for 237 yards so far, will take charge of Troy's running attack.
It has been 10 years since these two teams met up, with the last being Oct., 12, 2002 at Davis Wade Stadium. Coach Jackie Sherrill's defense dominated from start to finish, totaling six interceptions en route to an 11-8 victory against the Trojans. MSU knocked in a 31-yard field goal to start the game, the only scoring in the first half. When the Bulldogs came out of the half, quarterback Kevin Fant put together a drive that ended with a 15-yard touchdown pass to running back Fred Reid, giving State the lead for good.
Mississippi State will return home after their historic visit to Troy to host the South Alabama Jaguars, with kickoff set to begin at 6 p.m. CT on Saturday, Sept. 22. Fans can catch the action on Pay-Per-View, with Bart Gregory and Jackie Sherrill at the call, or on the Mississippi State Radio Network.
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Whether you are watching the game from Troy's stadium, at a sports bar or your living room, Bulldog fans are encouraged to stay plugged in to the game and the football program via a plethora of social media options.
@MStateFB (Live in-stadium, in-game updates vs. Troy)
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