STARKVILLE, Miss. - Super Bowl XLVII is guaranteed to have two former Mississippi State football players squaring off against each other Feb. 3 in New Orleans for a chance to hoist the Vince Lombardi Trophy. Following this weekend's National Football League divisional playoff round, Anthony Dixon's San Francisco 49ers will travel to Charles Mitchell's Atlanta Falcons Sunday at 2 p.m. CT (Fox), while Pernell McPhee's Baltimore Ravens will travel to Kyle Love's New England Patriots at 5:30 p.m. CT (CBS).
The former Bulldogs have not been silent in this year's NFL playoffs, with each player making an impact for their respective team. In the fourth quarter of San Francisco's divisional round victory against Green Bay, Dixon scored from two yards out to put the 49ers up, 45-24, putting the proverbial nail in the coffin.
In New England, Love was a part of a Patriots' defensive line that held Houston All-Pro running back Arian Foster to under 100 yards. Foster had entered the game as the first player in NFL history with 100-plus rushing yards in his first three postseason games.
With the Ravens down, 28-21, with 2:47 left in the first half, McPhee sacked future Hall of Fame quarterback Peyton Manning, forcing a fumble that Baltimore recovered. The big defensive play by McPhee led to the Ravens tying the game with 20 seconds left in the half, giving Baltimore momentum as it won an instant classic, 38-35, in double overtime.
Mitchell was part of a key play in the second quarter of the Falcons' win. With Atlanta up 13-0 , Seattle went for it on fourth and one. Mitchell was part of the defense that stepped up and stuffed Seahawks fullback Michael Robinson for a loss of one.
Along with these former Bulldogs making news, 2011 MSU All-American defensive lineman Fletcher Cox capped off an impressive rookie year with more honors. Cox, who garnered 39 total tackles, 5.5 sacks and a forced fumble this season for the Philadelphia Eagles, was named to the Pro Football Weekly/Pro Football Writers Association All-Rookie team, announced Sunday. Last week, Cox was also named to Mel Kiper's ESPN All-Rookie team.