No. 5 MSU Crushes Rhode Island 17-5 Improves to 11-0

On another brutally cold night, the No. 5 Diamond Dogs finished their sweep of the Rhode Island Rams 17-5. The Maroon and White improved to 11-0 on the season while URI dropped to 0-8.

 

The Bulldogs had a ton of help from the Rams’ pitching staff with having six runs walked in. Leading the Bulldogs’ scoring barrage was Adam Frazier, going three for 4 with an RBI and extending his hit streak to 6 games, and Alex Detz going three for 4 adding two RBI’s. Detz leads the Bulldogs this season with 12 RBI’s. Sam Frost and Derrick Armstrong also added in three RBI’s in today’s action.

 

The Rams did, however, take an early 1-0 lead over MSU before the wheels fell off of the URI pitching staff in the third. The bottom half of the third inning saw two MSU players walked in and two driven in. 

 

The second explosion of the Maroon and White offense was in the seventh inning, which saw seven runs on seven hits by the Diamond Dogs.

 

Mississippi State looks to continue its winning streak when the St. Joseph’s Hawks travel down to Starkville on Friday. The first pitch is slated for 4 PM on Friday at Dudy Noble. 

No. 5 Diamond Dogs Cruise Past Rhode Island 13-2

In a freezing night here at Dudy Noble Field, No. 5 Mississippi State recorded their tenth-straight win on the season over the Rams of Rhode Island 13-2. The Bulldogs improved to 10-0 on the year, while the Rams dropped to 0-7.

The Maroon and White jumped out in front of the Rams early, thanks in part to recording 7 runs in the first inning in which the Bulldogs batted through their lineup. 

Senior pitcher Luis Pollorena started the game for MSU and worked 4.1 innings for five hits and two runs earned. The win was given to Senior Chad Girodo who was lights out for the squad tonight, recording six Ks and only giving up one hit to URI batsmen. 

The Bulldogs’ scoring barrage was led by first baseman Alex Detz, who drove in three Bulldog runs with two hits on two at bats. 

The Bulldogs will square off with the Rams again tomorrow afternoon at 4 P.M. 

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Men’s Tennis Wins River Hills Cup

Men's Tennis Wins River Hills Cup

photo courtesy of hailstate.com

On Thursday night the MSU men’s tennis team continued their dominance of the 2013 slate by knocking off rival #12 Mississippi and taking home their second consecutive River Hills Cup.

The #10 ranked Bulldogs(5-0) extended their win streak to 5 matches by winning the heavyweight bout, or should I say marathon rather, that lasted for 6 hours 4-2 in Jackson.

This win puts the men closer to their goal of achieving the best start in school history which was set in 19 72 as that squad started 9-0

Perhaps the most glowing stat of the night for the Maroon and White was the play of the freshman as doubles partners Romain Bogaerts and Pedro Dumont clinched doubles’ play against the Rebels’ Jonah Backstrom and Stefan Lindmark 8-6.

The knockout blow was landed by freshman Jordan Angus, who also improved to 5-0 on the 2013 slate, defeating the Rebels’ Backstrom.

The Bulldogs will have little time to celebrate as they have a double header at the A.J. Pitts Tennis Centre on Sunday versus 53rd ranked South Alabama and Tennessee Tech. Matches will begin at 11 A.M. and 5 P.M. respectively.

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Mississippi State avoided getting caught in its “trap game” as the Dogs defeated Middle Tennessee State University 45-3. 

The Homecoming game was sandwiched between two big-times games against Tennessee and Alabama, but after the Dogs seemed to lose focus in the second quarter, they gained momentum in the second half for the win.

State’s first drive of the game was a season-long 14 plays and took a season-long 7:08 to score the touchdown. LaDarius Perkins had 9 carries for 36 yards on the drive, but it was Tyler Russell who found his high school teammate Chris Smith in the end zone for six.

The Dogs and Blue Raiders traded field goals to head to the locker rooms with MSU leading 10-3.

In the third quarter, Perkins got things going offensively for the Dogs with a 64-yard explosion for a touchdown.

Defensively, Johnthan Banks tied Walt Harris for the MSU record and tied David Amerson of N.C. State for the active FBS record with his 16th interception but went stayed down after the play. Banks did not play the rest of the game, but the senior said he was fine and would just get some ice and more IV’s.

“A guy hit me late, and my knee went back, but I’m good,” Banks said  “It’s an honor to be tied with Walt Harris right now. It’s a blessing from God.”

Head coach Dan Mullen lit into the refs after the play and was clearly upset at the late hit on Banks. Mullen said after Banks’ interception, the defense relaxed in a good way and stopped worrying so much.

“Everybody’s heart jumped into their throat on that play,” Mullen said. “I think the interception was the play that sealed the deal for us. Banks is okay. He twisted his knee but felt completely stable.”

The defense rallied for the injured star and smothered the Blue Raiders the rest of the game. Senior linebacker Cameron Lawrence forced a fumble and recovered it, giving State the ball deep in MTSU territory.

Russell wasted no time in finding Robert Johnson for a touchdown, the sophomore’s first touchdown reception of his career.

The fourth quarter saw some fresh faces get some playing time for MSU. Dak Prescott took over the offense and led a drive, which included a 43-yard run by Nick Griffin and a five-yard touchdown run by Prescott.

Redshirt freshman Derrick Milton also ran for a touchdown in the Dogs’ fourth quarter beat-down of the Blue Raiders.

Smith had a career-high two touchdown receptions and a career-high seven receptions on the night. Mullen called Smith the leader of the receivers, and Russell said it was huge to have Smith out there making big plays.

“The second touchdown I threw to him, he wasn’t even supposed to get the ball. I was supposed to throw it to the tight end, but they did a good job of defending that, and I got out there and knew he was open,” Russell said. “All those guys are leaders, but to have Chris out there, even when he’s not getting the ball, he’s pumping up everybody.”

The Dogs can now look to next weekend’s game at No. 1 Alabama in a battle for first place in the SEC West.

Mississippi State 41, Tennessee 31

Hail State. After a game like that, the only words that need to be written are those.

The 6-0 Mississippi State Bulldogs pulled off a 41-31 win over Tennessee in what some may call one of the best games played at Davis Wade Stadium.

Johnthan Banks saved the day again for MSU. But this time, the senior chose a different method instead of an interception. 

Tennessee had just gotten the ball back down by three in the fourth quarter when Banks forced a fumble and recovered it, giving State the ball at the UT 30 yard line.

The Dogs wasted no time in putting the ball in the end zone and scored three plays later on a one-yard run by LaDarius Perkins.

Banks said head coach Dan Mullen put a picture on instagram earlier this week that had Banks on it which said, “Big-time players make big-time plays in big-time games,” and he responded with a big-time play.

“Our locker room was ridiculous after the game. We knew they had an explosive offense, but they couldn’t get in a rhythm like they wanted to, and we won the football game,” Banks said. “I hope the other media people don’t say we still ain’t played nobody. Hopefully we will get the respect we deserve.”

After a dominating first half by the Bulldogs, the second half was a different story. Junior quarterback Tyler Russell looked like a Heisman candidate in the first 30 minutes of play, but he ran into trouble in the second half.

Russell was not the only Bulldog quarterback to make some noise against the Vols. Redshirt freshman Dak Prescott came in for the Dogs early in the second quarter and ran for six yards before throwing his first career touchdown pass to a wide-open Marcus Green to give State a 17-7 lead.

But Cordarrelle Patterson and the Vols did not go away easily. Patterson returned a kickoff 98 yards in the second quarter to keep UT within three.

The Vols dominated the third quarter, making the score 27-24 MSU headed into the fourth.

After Perkins’ touchdown run late in the fourth, UT responded only two and a half minutes later with a 10-yard touchdown pass from Tyler Bray. 

State got the ball with five minutes to go, leading by three, and drove the ball down the field under the leadership of Russell. State sealed the game with a fourth and goal touchdown pass from Russell to Malcolm Johnson, who was playing in his first game of the year.

Russell, who finished the game 23-37 for 291 yards and two touchdowns, said he trusted Johnson to make something happen on the last throw.

“Coach said, ‘If it’s open, throw it. If it’s not, don’t force it.’ I gave him a chance, and either he was going to catch it or no one was going to catch it,” Russell said. “I trust all of my guys to make plays.”

With the win, State remained one of only 12 undefeated teams in the FBS and improved its record to 8-3 against SEC East opponents under Mullen. Also, the Bulldogs’ eight-game winning streak is tied for the third longest in MSU history.

Mullen said his leaders stepped up and made big plays just like they have done all season.

“I’m proud of how our guys came out and played. We played a great first half on both sides of the ball but stumbled around in the second half,” Mullen said. “But when we needed it, we made big plays.”

First game wrap-up

The first game of the Mississippi state football season included much of what people expected. The 56-9 route of Jackson State was much like State’s first game last season against Memphis when MSU demolished the Tigers.

Junior quarterback Tyler Russell played well, going 15-23 for 175 yards and two touchdowns. His backup Dak Prescott had a chance to rid himself of first game jitters as he played nearly two quarters.

The defense was stout, allowing only nine points. Senior Darius Slay and sophomore Matthew Wells each had an interception returned for a touchdown. This was the first time MSU had two interceptions returned for touchdowns in the same game since 1990.

However, the surprising part of the game was the substitution rotations head coach Dan Mullen used. Senior right guard Tobias Smith played the first series but did not see the field after that. His back up, redshirt freshman Justin Malone, played the majority of the game.

Mullen said he wanted to get Smith at least one series, so after he got one, Malone went in.

“(Malone) was a little nervous, so we wanted to leave him in so he wouldn’t be nervous next week. We know what we’re going to get with Tobias Smith,” Mullen said.

Also, defensive lineman Curtis Virges was expected to see some playing time, but the sophomore did not see the field. Mullen said Virges is more of a run-stopper, and since JSU has more of a passing offense, Mullen played more nickel coverage to get the pass rushers in the game.

Redshirt freshman Derrick Milton had an impressive first game as he backed up LaDarius Perkins and rushed eight times for 65 yards and a touchdown.

As exciting as the 56 points were, the most exciting part was the JSU band performance at halftime. That was the loudest the fans were the whole game.

The Dogs played well but have a lot of work to do before next week when they host Auburn to kick off SEC play. After losing to Clemson tonight, Auburn will be anxious to get its first win next weekend. However, after last year’s loss to Auburn on the final play of the game, the Dogs should be even more eager to avenge themselves.