The Magnolia State college football roundup: Bama and LSU coming calling
Published 9:00 am Saturday, September 30, 2023
Here is your weekly look at the matchups for each Mississippi based college football program.
Mississippi State (2-2) vs. Alabama (3-1)
8 p.m., Starkville
Alabama comes into the late-night matchup in Starkville having won 15 games in a row over Mississippi State. The Tide are 21-4 all-time in Starkville and Nick Saban is 20-1 all-time against Mississippi State.
The domination of Alabama in the series between the schools separated by 80-miles and a state line has been such that you’ll often not recall much about those losses if you are an MSU fan, but you can still recall every detail of the wins.
As a youth, this writer rooted for the Dogs while his big brother was a student in Starkville. The 1996 game in Starkville is the one that sticks out foremost in my mind.
That was the night that MSU coach Jackie Sherrill finally got a win over his alma-mater as the Dogs won 17-16 in Starkville on ESPN. It was the second win for Mississippi State against Alabama in the previous 39 years.
In the mind of this elder millennial, 1996 was just a decade ago.
The calculator on my phone tells me it has actually been 27 years though.
In the games since that night between the schools, since the MSU students yanked down both goal posts inside Davis Wade Stadium in 1997, Alabama has only lost five times to the Bulldogs.
Alabama is favored by two scores, which seems fair since the Tide haven’t been dominate yet this season.
Here’s hoping that the Bulldogs play well, and the Tide don’t pull away early and that we all get to enjoy a closer game than the 2012 edition when both teams entered unbeaten and despite a social media campaign focused on positivity and the hope of MSU being 8-0 after the game, Alabama dominated the day in a 38-7 win.
Ole Miss (3-1) vs. LSU (3-1)
5 p.m., Oxford
The stink of a 24-10 loss last week at Alabama can be quickly washed off Ole Miss and Lane Kiffin if the Rebels knock off LSU in Oxford.
The game always has one of the biggest crowds of the season for either side and expect Oxford to be filled to the brim this weekend.
Kiffin talked a lot of smack ahead of facing the Tide and the play of his team didn’t back it up last week in Tuscaloosa. The pool reporters that cover Alabama football then used Saturday night through Monday as a contest to see who could shame him the hardest for disrespecting their Daddy Nick.
LSU fans are happy that their team is 3-1 after using a late field goal to beat Arkansas, but there are still plenty of areas where the Tigers need improvement, especially in the secondary.
LSU and coach Brian Kelly are 2.5-point favorites.
This is one where both teams need a victory to validate the direction their coaches have each program heading.
Southern Miss (1-3) vs. Texas State (3-1)
6 p.m., Hattiesburg
Last season Southern Miss won games that came down to the wire in back-to-back weeks with close victories over Arkansas State and Texas State.
Last week, the Golden Eagles suffered a disappointing 44-37 road loss at Arkansas State and the team badly needs to bounce back with a win at home against visiting Texas State.
One good sign from the loss last week was running back Frank Gore Jr. rushing for 132 yards against ASU. Southern Miss led 20-17 at halftime, but the Red Wolves scored on their first two possessions of the second half as all the momentum slipped away from the Golden Eagles in a winnable Sun Belt Conference game that they were favored to win.
Texas State opened the season with a 42-31 win at Baylor. The Bobcats from Texas State are touchdown favorites on Saturday.
Alcorn State (1-3) at Alabama State (1-2)
5 p.m., Mongomery, Ala.
Alcorn State makes the trip to Montgomery to play in one of the best SWAC on campus stadiums as Alabama State boasts a 26,500-seat facility that was opened in 2012.
Alabama State lost 23-10 last week on the road at Florida A&M. Alcorn State dropped a home game 23-20 last week to Prairie View.
State (0-3) vs.
Florida A&M (3-1)
6 p.m., Itta Bena
The visiting Rattlers will be heavy favorites when they face the Delta Devils in Itta Bena. North Carolina Central (3-1) soundly defeated Mississippi Valley State University 45-3 last week in Indianapolis.
This is the home opener at Rice-Totten Stadium after MVSU played in Chicago, Indianapolis and Cleveland, Mississippi to start the season.
FAMU beat Alabama State 23-10 last week.
Delta State (4-0) at
West Alabama (2-2)
4 p.m., Livingston, Ala.
A season after going 11-2, Delta State is still rolling with an unbeaten start to the 2023 season. The Statesmen whipped Shorter University 56-20 last week to cap the Pig Pickin’ weekend in Cleveland.
Part of the DSU success has been the play of reigning Gulf South Offensive Player of the Year, quarterback Patrick Shegog. The South Panola alum went 15-of-19 passing for 218 yards while also running 10 times for 138 yards and two more scores against Shorter.
West Alabama will induct its 2023 Athletic Hall of Fame class this weekend. The most notable alum is current NFL All-Pro wide receiver Tyreek Hill.
Hill played at Oklahoma State and got in trouble that landed him at West Alabama. Fun fact, Hill played at Garden City Community College before going to Oklahoma State.
While at Garden City, Hill and his teammates faced Copiah-Lincoln in the 2012 Mississippi Bowl. The GC Bronc Busters won that game 31-29. Hill ran for 66 yards and caught one pass for 52 yards. The game was won for Garden City by 305 passing yards and 146 rushing yards from future Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall.
Mississippi College (1-3) at Shorter University (2-2)
11 a.m., Rome, Ga.
Mississippi College led 7-0 last week at West Alabama before losing 10-7 in a Gulf South Conference matchup.
The Choctaws are 6-2 all-time against Shorter. Last season MC won 35-21, which was their sixth straight in the series.
Belhaven (3-0) at
11 a.m., Rocky Mount, N.C.
Belhaven head coach Blaine McCorkle became the winningest coach in program history last week with a 34-0 win over Greensboro. The seventh coach in program history, it was career victory no. 25 for McCorkle.
McCorkle and his Blazers are making a 852 mile trip to face North Caolina Wesleyan for a USA South Athletic Conference matchup in which they’ll be heavily favored.
Millsaps (0-4) at Birmingham-
4 p.m., Birmingham, Ala.
Come on Majors, we’re all pulling for you to get a win.