Magnolia State Roundup: Big 3 playing at home, DSU and Belhaven still unbeaten
Published 10:00 am Saturday, October 7, 2023
Here is your weekly look ahead at the college football weekend for teams around Mississippi.
Ole Miss (4-1) vs. Arkansas (2-3)
6:30 p.m., Oxford
The vibes are high in Oxford as the Rebels are still basking in a wild win, 55-49 last week over LSU.
You’ve got to love how college football operates in such a bubble from week to week. Ole Miss was coming off a disappointing loss to Alabama and LSU used a late score to beat Arkansas at home before they played last weekend in Oxford.
One of the LSU beat writers wrote a piece that mentioned those games where they dissected the possible candidates for head job in Baton Rouge during the search that ended with Brain Kelly being hired.
To summarize, it was all about how Dave Aranda at Baylor and Jimbo Fisher at Texas A&M and Lane Kiffin at Ole Miss had all been linked at one time or another with the LSU job, but God must be a Tiger fan because Brian Kelly was the perfect man for the job at the perfect time.
This week, they’re all writing about how LSU will never be LSU again if they don’t start to play defense again and Brian Kelly better get that fixed ASAP.
And if Ole Miss lays an egg in Oxford this weekend and losses to a struggling passel of Arkansas Razorbacks?
Some of that goodwill earned by Kiffin with his school’s fanbase will disappear just as quickly as it materialized in the jubilation of a stormed field in Oxford last weekend.
Thus, life goes from week to week in the college football league where it just means more.
Mississippi State (2-3) vs. Western Michigan (2-3)
11 a.m., Starkville
Anyone else think it’s a little endearing how first year Mississippi State head coach Zach Arnett stammers through some of his on-camera interactions?
You can’t blame the guy for being a little off his game when he’s being interviewed after the first quarter like he was last week against Alabama. Arnett had a sort of wild-eyed look to himself as he talked about how his team had to play better after falling behind 14-0 in the first quarter.
And the Bulldogs did play better, pulling within 17-10 with just over six minutes left until halftime.
At that point, I looked over at my 11-year-old son who was watching the game with me and said, “watch this, Alabama is about to do something that is going to break the heart of State fans.”
The Tide did just that as they scored two touchdowns over the next six minutes to go into halftime with a 31-10 lead.
He looked at me like I was some kind of wizard who could predict the future and I told him I had no superpowers other than watching lots of Mississippi State football during my lifetime.
Arnett shouldn’t be so rattled if he is on camera again in the middle of this week’s game as the Bulldogs are big favorites over the visiting Western Michigan Broncos of the MAC.
Southern Miss (1-4) vs. Old Dominion (2-3)
6 p.m., Hattiesburg
Nobody is going to feel sorry for you when you’re getting your butt kicked.
That’s a lesson Southern Miss learned last week when they hosted Texas State at home. The visiting Bobcats led 42-10 at halftime. The Golden Eagles didn’t give up and fought back to make the final 50-36.
Coach Will Hall and his team cannot afford a similar showing as the Golden Eagles seek to snap a four-game losing streak to start the season.
Jackson State (3-2) vs. Alabama A&M (3-2)
3 p.m., Mobile, Ala.
The 2023 Jackson State football schedule is one that was created during the Coach Prime era and because of that it’s heavy on neutral site games. JSU has already played in Atlanta and Miami this season before taking on Alabama A&M this weekend in Mobile.
This matchup is like an elimination game in the SWAC West Division as the winner will still be in contention for a spot in the league championship game.
Alcorn State (2-3) vs. Grambling State (3-2)
2:30 p.m., Lorman
Grambling State fans will make the 150-mile trip to Lorman with hopes of winning a second straight game over the Braves after beating Alcorn State 35-6 last season.
GSU is 8-2 against the Braves in their last 10 meetings.
Mississippi Valley State (0-4) at Prairie View A&M (2-3)
6 p.m., Prairie View, Tx.
Come on Mississippi Valley State, we’re all pulling for you to get that first win of 2023.
Delta State (5-0) at Valdosta State (5-0)
2 p.m., Valdosta, Ga.
When you think about big time Gulf South Conference football, you think about Delta State and Valdosta State.
Both teams are nationally ranked and unbeaten in this clash of NCAA Division II heavyweights.
DSU won 70-31 last season and own a 21-19-1 advantage all-time against the Blazers.
Belhaven (4-0) vs. Huntingdon (4-1)
12 p.m., Jackson
It’ll be an early kick off for the unbeaten Belhaven Blazers in the biggest game thus far on the 2023 schedule.
Huntingdon College is a private, Methodist college located in Montgomery, Alabama. Originally a women’s college, it counts author Harper Lee as its best-known alums.
The Hawks have won four games in a row, including a 52-7 win over Methodist last week.
Belhaven is 4-0 for the first time ever after winning 35-14 last week at North Carolina Wesleyan. NCW led 7-0 and the Blazer only had a 14-7 advantage at halftime before owning the second half.
It was a great failure of this repeating feature to not include the mascot of North Carolina Wesleyan in the preview written last week. The North Carolina Wesleyan Battling Bishops sport a nickname so much cooler than any cat or dog related mascot.
Millsaps (1-4) vs. Rhodes College (3-2)
3 p.m., Jackson
Give it up for the Millsaps Majors, who broke a nine-game losing streak last Saturday with a 14-8 win over Birmingham-Southern on the road.
Do you like punts? Then this was the game for you as the teams combined for 19 total punts on the day. Millsaps punter Ethan Klapatch had 10 total punts that traveled for a combined 459 total yards.
Next up is a home date with the Rhode College Lynx.
The cost of tuition, fees, room and board at Rhodes is $67,802 for the 2023-2024 school year. The same school webpage that provides that information also states that, “the cost of tuition and fees at Rhodes is among the lowest of the national liberal arts colleges.”
I can only imagine that they have an awesome cafeteria among other top shelf amenities.