September 4, 2009

Jackson State Preview

The Dan Mullen era will be ushered in at Davis Wade Stadium at 2:30 p.m. Saturday when Mississippi State kicks off the 2009 campaign.

Mullen will be roaming the sidelines for the first time as a head coach fulfilling a lifelong dream after successful stints as an offensive coordinator at Florida, Utah and Bowling Green guiding those teams to a 83-17 and two national titles.

"I'm really excited and this is obviously something I have wanted my whole life," Mullen said. "Growing up and having this opportunity is unbelievable."

The last three coaches making their debut, Rockey Felker, Jackie Sherrill and Sylvester Croom, have all began their careers by winning their first game.

The anticipation has been building for Bulldog fans since Mullen's hire on Dec. 10, 2008. The maroon and white faithful had sold 41,313 season tickets as a Friday morning.

History will also be made when toe meets leather Saturday marking the first time a Southeastern Conference school has faced a Southwestern Athletic Conference program on the gridiron. It is only the third time the Tigers have ever faced a Division-I opponent losing 17-7 to Southern Miss in 1987 and again to the Golden Eagles 55-7 in 2002.

"We're excited this week to obviously have a big time game and an instate rivalry which hopefully we can develop that can get played on more of a regular basis," Mullen said. "It's an historic game as well with a SWAC Conference school playing a Southeastern Conference school for the first time. We're real excited and I know the guys on our team are excited. These kids grew up playing against each other in all levels of football and that's what makes instate rivalries really exciting."

The two schools have met previously in the other two major sports. MSU holds the advantage in both series' leading 3-0 on the hardwood and 49-7 on the diamond.

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