Mississippi State’s Gabe Jackson, an All American guard rated at the top of his position by NFL draft experts, has been selected the first winner of the Kent Hull Trophy as Mississippi’s most outstanding collegiate offensive lineman.
Jackson will receive the Kent Hull Trophy at the C Spire Conerly Trophy banquet Tuesday night at the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Museum in Jackson. Jackson, a fifth-year senior from Liberty, also has been named State’s finalist for the C Spire Conerly Trophy.
"The Conerly" honors Mississippi's most outstanding collegiate football player.
Jackson State will not play a homecoming game this season. Here's what is happening instead.
Jackson State is off to a hot start again this season, and is the only remaining unbeaten team in SWAC play. This weekend's matchup with Grambling State, which has lost 13-straight SWAC games and 17-straight overall, shouldn't do anything to derail that.
But this game just got interesting, with news surfacing yesterday that Grambling's players boycotted practice a day after they walked out of a team meeting with the school's administration on Tuesday.
Among the gripes players have for administration is mistrust between the team and the coaching staff, and the fact that the team had to bus from Grambling to Indianapolis to receive a 48-0 beat-down from Alcorn State, while the Braves flew in and out for the contest.
Grambling fired coach Doug Williams last month after the team lost their first two games this season by a combined score of 71-19.
In 1970, the University of Southern Mississippi defeated Ole Miss 30-14 in what, to this day, stands as one of the biggest upsets in Mississippi history.
Southern Miss was thrashed the week before by San Diego State, and got torn to pieces the next week by Mississippi State, but managed to beat Archie Manning and the No. 4-ranked Rebels because of a secret weapon.
That weapon was "Wee" Willie Heidelberg, who died Tuesday in Jackson. The then-20-year-old junior was the only black player on either team. He touched the ball three times, and scored twice.
As Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Museum Director Rick Cleveland wrote:
Wee Willie was like a black dot on an ivory domino, the only black player on the field for either team that day. His performance foreshadowed sweeping changes in Deep South football. On this, the last day of Black History Month, it seems appropriate to ask the question: Was Heidelburg aware of the ramifications back then as a 20-year-old junior?
“Oh no,” Heidelburg says. “I knew that was a special victory. I knew we had done something big. But, as for me, I was just playing ball. I certainly wasn’t thinking about making history.”
Read more here.
Heidelberg eventually moved to Jackson and took a job coaching at Belhaven College. Many Jacksonians will remember him as the official scorekeeper for the high school basketball championships at "the big house."
The Mississippi College Athletic Department was proud to announce earlier today the National Collegiate Athletic Association has granted the school permission to rejoin Division II. The JFP received this press release just before noon:
Mississippi College can now move forward to become an NCAA Division II member and rejoin the Gulf South Conference, NCAA officials said Friday.
After being initially turned down earlier this summer, Mississippi College leaders appealed. The NCAA Membership Committee overturned the earlier decision to pave the way for acceptance into the Division II membership process.
“We’re on our way to Division II,” MC Vice President for Advancement Bill Townsend said today. “It’s a great day for Mississippi College athletics and athletes.”
Returning to the Gulf South Conference – MC was a member from 1972 through 1996 – the Choctaws will renew rivalries with teams like Delta State, West Alabama, Valdosta State, North Alabama, and face new Baptist-affiliated opponents like Union University of Jackson, Tennessee and Shorter University of Rome, Georgia.
“This is a great day for the Gulf South Conference,” said GSC Commissioner Michael Salant, who was reached in New York at the time of the announcement on the Clinton campus.
With the additions of all-sports members Shorter, Union, Lee University and Mississippi College plus Florida Tech in football and West Florida to start football, the GSC, “is more cohesive and stronger than it probably ever has been,” he said.
“It’s great to renew old rivalries and establish some new ones,” said Townsend, who worked on the appeal in recent weeks with MC trustee Andy Taggart and others at the Christian university. “As we transition into Division II, we will miss our American Southwest Conference friends.”
MC President Lee Royce and Athletic Director Mike Jones scheduled a press conference at noon at the A.E. Wood Coliseum to discuss details of the move from NCAA Division III to Division II.
There is a lengthy process involved as Mississippi College becomes part of the Division II candidacy starting with the 2013-14 academic year.
MC leaders will need to continue to meet with NCAA leaders every year for three years to remain in good standing.
Why go Division II?
In terms of academics and stronger retention efforts, MC leaders say they are pleased to be one of the 300 NCAA Division II colleges and universities nationwide that count 100,000 student-athletes on their rosters. NCAA reports show 73 percent of the freshmen Division II athletes who entered school in 2004 received college degrees six years later.
The move to play athletic opponents in the region in the Birmingham-based Gulf South Conference will greatly reduce travel time for MC student-athletes and enable the Choctaws to receive greater media exposure around the South and nation. Every fall, CSS broadcasts GSC games of the week.
Mississippi College student-athletes were pleased to hear that the Baptist-affiliated school will be returning to the GSC and Division II. It means athletic scholarships will become available once again for MC students who participate in the 15 NCAA ...
Last night was a treat.
The football season officially kicked off with No. 1 Brandon defeating No. 6 Madison Central 21-14 in front of an estimated crowd of 9,000 interested onlookers at Madison's Jaguar Field.
The Bulldogs (1-0) broke a 14-14 tie late in the fourth quarter on a 7-yard Devin Wilson touchdown run. Brandon's highly-touted quarterback Gardner Minshew completed 15 of 28 passes for 216 yards, a touchdown and an interception, and completed a 47-yard pass to Chris Ward to set up the final touchdown.
From a Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame release:
Ben Puckett, a businessman and philanthropist who was passionate about Mississippi sports, will receive the second annual Rube Award at the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Museum’s 51induction banquet August 2.
The Rube Award, named for long-time Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Museum executive director Michael Rubenstein, goes annually to a person whose love and passion for — and contributions to — Mississippi sports have made a meaningful difference. Mississippi baseball legend Boo Ferriss won the first Rube Award.
The award’s winner is selected by the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Museum’s Board of Directors.
Puckett, who died on June 2, spearheaded Mississippi’s Olympic efforts for 26 years. He served as the United States Olympic Committee Mississippi State Chairman for 16 years and as co-chairman for another 10 years. The Ben Puckett family has sponsored the Olympic Room in the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Museum since the shrine opened on July 4, 1996. In 1996, Puckett led a successful effort to have international Olympic teams come to Mississippi to train for the Atlanta Olympic Games.
Cal Wells, a Jackson attorney and long-time friend of Puckett’s remembers Ben’s passion for life and the Olympics.
“Ben had an energy level that was unbelievable; nobody could keep up with him,” Wells said. “I think his love for the Olympics went back to the first games he attended in 1968 at Mexico City. He loved the competition. He was a competitor himself and he loved watching great athletes compete.”
Puckett was a Mississippi State graduate and a huge supporter of Mississippi State athletics. Said long-time Mississippi State athletic director Larry Templeton, “Mississippi State was his school, and he was proud of it, and he was 100 percent behind us all the time. He was a great fan, one that never complained and always wanted to help. He made his contributions behind the scene. He didn't want publicity; he just wanted to make us better.”
Ben Puckett also gave his time and his money to support high school sports and the YMCA.
Tickets to the August 2 induction banquet are available by calling (601) 982-8264. Joining the late Rubenstein as inductees in the Hall of Fame’s Class of 2013 will be Bill Buckner, Jimmie Giles, Gerald Glass, Larry “Doc” Harrington and Langston Rogers.
After dropping the opening game of the best-of-three College World Series Championship at Omaha, Neb. Monday night, Mississippi State will need to win two games in a row to capture the school's first national championship.
The Bulldogs (51-19) will face the UCLA Bruins (48-17) in Game 2 tonight at 7 p.m. on ESPN.
UCLA starting pitcher Adam Plutko lifted the Bruins, scattering four hits over six innings of work before he left the game with the 3-1 lead. Including Monday night's win, the Bruins have only allowed seven runs in their past seven games combined.
Mississippi State will have to break that streak by getting some key hits, a feat they struggled with Monday night. The Bulldogs were sluggish out of the gate, and Plutko retired the first 10 hitters before Alex Detz singled with one out in the fourth inning.
The Mississippi State baseball team opens play in the best-of-three national championship series at 7 p.m. tonight against the UCLA Bruins in Omaha. It is the first time a team from Mississippi has garnered a berth in the series.
The Bulldogs (51-18) will send Trevor Fitts (0-0) to the mound, while the Bruins coach John Savage has penciled in Adam Plutko (9-3) as his starter. Mississippi State is undefeated in three games so far at T.D. Ameritrade Park after sandwiching a pair of wins against Oregon State around a win over Indiana last week.
ESPN will air the game starting at 7 p.m. and a broadcast is available for online streaming at www.watchESPN.com.
I've seen a lot of comments of Facebook, Twitter and other social media or in just every day conversation of should Ole Miss fans root for Mississippi State in the College World Series?
One thing is for sure, the rest of the SEC is rooting for MSU to win a national championship. You will hear a loud and proud "SEC" chant breakout today if the Bulldogs beat Oregon State when the two teams meet today at 2 pm on ESPN.
SEC fans have pulled for the SEC team in the national championship game for football while the conference has won seven straight titles. SEC fans have rooted for Florida and Kentucky when they were playing for a national title in basketball.
South Carolina, LSU and Georgia have gotten love when playing for the title in previous College World Series. It stands to reason that the other 12 members not named Ole Miss will be rooting for the Bulldogs.
Which brings me back to my original question. Should Ole Miss fans root for Mississippi State?
I believe the Rebels fans out there should swallow their hatred of their arch-rival for just a bit. Ole Miss fans should root for Mississippi State to win the College World Series or at least until the Bulldogs get eliminated (knock on wood that they don't).
I will take it a step farther. As a state we should get behind this baseball team.
For the next few days, there shouldn't be Golden Eagles. There shouldn't be Tigers.
There shouldn't be Braves, or Delta Devils. No Statesmen/Fighting Okra, Choctaws, Majors Blazers, or anything mascot.
We should all be Bulldogs. If just for awhile.
When Millsaps was in the Division III College World Series, this year, we all should have been Majors. When Delta State was playing for a Division II national championship in football, in 2010, we all should have been Statesmen or at least Fighting Okra.
We all should have been Tigers last fall when Jackson State was playing in the SWAC Championship Game.
Anytime we have a school that can accomplish something special, we should put our allegiances aside for awhile and support one of our state schools.
I always support our schools when they are playing for something special. I rooted for all the schools mentioned above and Ole Miss this year in the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament.
It is a personal decision but I feel it is o.k. to let go of rooting for my school (if I had a school) when the school I root (theoretically) can't accomplish the same goal. I rooted for both MSU and Ole Miss in their bowl games last season.
I root for our schools to do well because it also spotlights our state for something positive. Even if you don't agree with college athletics, these young men are putting the best face forward for our state.
We should all be Bulldogs. We should all be Maroon and White. ...
The U.S. Men’s Natoinal Team begins the final round of World Cup Qualifying Wednesday at 3 p.m. against Honduras in the city of San Pedro Sula. Here’s what to watch for in 2013 as The Yanks try to earn a spot in Brazil in 2014.
If/When Landon Donovan will join the team. The 30-year-old forward has been the face of U.S. soccer since being named “Best Young Player” at the 2002 World Cup. Donovan told the media he needed a break in October 2012, due to physical and mental exhaustion.
I've never been a fan of Donovan's on-the-field attitude. In recent years, he's clearly not been enjoying the game the way he should. USMNT needs him to get his head straight, though, because there's no American who can match his combination of speed, vision, passing efficiency, timing and shot and set-piece accuracy.
He won’t play in Honduras Wednesday. Just when the U.S.’s all-time assists and goals leader will join the team is even more pressing considering the team faces rival Mexico in Mexico City on March 26, where the U.S. won for the first time Aug. 15, 2012.
Subquestion: Can he be the leader the U.S. needs him to be if/when he returns to the pitch?
Will outside backs emerge? Injuries to Steve Cherundolo and Fabian Johnson have left the U.S. team with little international experience at outside back, and head coach Jurgen Klinsmann is searching for answers. Outside backs Tony Beltran and Justin Morrow, and center back Matt Besler made their U.S. soccer debuts against Canada Jan. 29, all in starting roles. They played well, allowing Canada just one shot on target in the 0-0 match.
Whoever Klinsmann puts on the back line against Honduras will face a better team with a lot more on the line, though. Goalkeeper Tim Howard may have a heavy shot load to take on Wednesday.
Will Jozy Altidore take the next step? The 23-year-old striker has scored 13 goals in 51 appearances for the U.S. since 2007. His 2010 World Cup performances were riddled with missed chances and squandered opportunities, though.
Altidore has 15 goals in 19 Dutch Eredivisie league appearances for AZ Alkmaar this season, despite facing racist taunts from opposing fans. If he can carry that composure over into international competition, the U.S. could have the star striker it so desperately needs.
How good is Dempsey? After finishing tied for fourth in the English Premier League last season with 17 goals while playing for Fulham, Dempsey has just five goals in 19 league matches for Tottenham Hotspur this season.
With two double-digit goal scorers on the team, Tottenham doesn’t rely on Dempsey to score as much as Fulham did. There is one thing for certain, though. For the U.S. to go very far in next year’s World Cup, or to even qualify this year, Dempsey will have to create chances on goal, and capitalize when he does.
Can The Yanks find ...
When [Jackson State] (7-4)meets Arkansas-Pine Bluff (9-2) in the SWAC Football Championship Game this Saturday the Tigers will be looking for their first conference title since 2007 and to add to their 16th conference titles. Only [Southern] with 17 titles and [Grambling State] with 23 titles have more SWAC titles than JSU.
Monday night football, tonight, will end the debate of who has been more underachieving in the NFC this season. New Orleans (2-5) faces Philadelphia (3-4) in a game many would have thought before the season was a playoff preview. That was before the Saints stumbled out of the gate losing their first four games and the Eagles lost four of their last five games. Now both of these teams come into this game knowing that loss could damage their their playoff hopes beyond repair.
The quest for six wins for 70 teams continues this week. Currently there are 42 teams that are bowl eligible and five of those teams are undefeated and still in play for the national championship. Ohio State is also undefeated but unable to play for the title due to NCAA sanctions. Speaking of teams not able to play in a bowl game, there are 25 teams unable to play in a bowl game currently due to seven losses, NCAA sanctions or moving from FCS to FBS transition.
Last week was a tough week for the college football teams in Mississippi. Nearly every team lost but Ole Miss and Belhaven. It was the type of week you just want to forget about but if you missed any of last week's action you can pick up the current issue of the JFP and read the round up or [follow this link]. Things don't get any easier this week for college football teams in Mississippi. Southern Miss is still searching for win one, Mississippi State faces a tough test in Texas A&M and Ole Miss will look to avoid a blowout against Georgia.
Sure it is November but that doesn't mean I won't dole out some late treats to you guys a day after Halloween. Before you settle in to see the Loser Gets Fired Bowl tonight night between the San Diego Chargers and the Kansas City Chiefs, I have two great stats I found this week for you.
New Orleans gets a chance to get one game away from .500 tonight on Sunday Night Football against Denver. The Saints need to win this game to keep their slim playoff chances alive and the Broncos (contrary to how the national media portrays them) are a beatable team. Last week the Saints got their second win of the season in a 35-28 victory against Tampa Bay. New Orleans started slowly before quarterback Drew Brees went off in the second quarter against the Buccaneers defense.
This is worth repeating after Tampa Bay proved me wrong on Thursday and beat the Minnesota Vikings. Parity is in full effect in the NFL this season.... There is going to be a team that started slowly and makes the NFL Playoffs. My personal pick is the New Orleans Saints and that pick looks even better if the Saints win against the Broncos on Sunday night.
Currently there are 11 undefeated teams in college football. Louisville stayed undefeated after escaping at home against Cincinnati on Friday night with their 34-31 win. Only 10 of the undefeated teams have any hope of playing in a BCS game. Ohio State is undefeated but ineligible for a bowl game this season because of NCAA sanctions.
College football hasn't been bad to Mississippi for the most part this season. There is hope everywhere, unless you're a USM fan, and you can check out last week's games in the JFP print edition or [follow this link]. The big winner last week was Mississippi State. The Bulldogs took care of everything in front of them to setup a showdown this week against Alabama.