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October 8, 2010

State travels to Houston in non-conference tilt

This weekend the Bulldogs of Mississippi State will travel to the Lone Star State of Texas to compete against the Cougars of the University of Houston. This will be State's second road game of the season. The last time the two schools met was in 2009, with earning a 31-24 victory. This weekend's game is slated for a 7 p.m. kickoff. The game will be televised on CBS College Sports, and will call by Roger Twibell and Mike Leach.

The 15-game rivalry between the Bulldogs and the Cougars, dates back to there first meeting in 1956. Currently, Houston holds a 9-6 advantage in the series over Mississippi State, and has won each of the team's meetings this decade. Prior to renewing the series in 2003, State and Houston had not faced off since 1972. The two schools played 11 times between 1960 and 1972, State holding a 6-5 record in those meetings.

"Well they spread the ball around a lot and I think we did a decent job of containing them for three quarters last year and then they exploded in the fourth quarter last year," head coach Dan Mullen said. "They have some very talented receivers, one of the most talented receiving corps we will face all season. When you have those types of guys, you can't just contain them for one quarter, two quarters or three quarters, you have to contain them for four quarters because when they get going they have guys who can score from anywhere on the field. When you're going to face a team who can score from anywhere and put up points in a hurry, we're going to have to play hard for four quarters. When you have as talented receivers and running backs that they have, it doesn't really matter who is playing quarterback for them."

This weekend, the Bulldogs look to extend its non-conference streak. State began the 2010 season with a strong 49-7 win against the Memphis Tigers after closing out the non-league 2009 campaign with a 27-6 win over Middle Tennessee.

The Bulldogs have won three consecutive non-conference games after last weekend's game against Alcorn State. The last time State won three consecutive non-conference tilts was against Tulane, Gardner-Webb and UAB in 2007. Mississippi State has not posted four-straight non-conference wins since winning eight regular season non-SEC games from 1998-2001.

"We're getting ready to play. We had a good practice last night and I am pleased with the attitude our guys came out with," Mullen said. "This is a big game for us obviously, going on the road playing a very explosive team offensively, a team that came in here last year and beat us. They're a team playing with a lot of confidence and were picked preseason by some to be a potential BCS-buster team. They've had a lot of success over the last two years and they have a lot of playmakers on offense at the wide receiver position, and they have some talented backs. They have the ability to put up a lot of points in a hurry on offense, so it's going to be a good challenge for us and we are going to have to play better than we did last week, that's for sure. We took a step in the right direction last night at practice."

Primary player maker Chad Bumphis got his first taste as quarterback in MSU's win over Alcorn State last weekend. The sophomore rushed for 38 yards on four carries, including a 24-yard scamper on his first attempt. Bumphis also had two career highs catching nine passes for 133-yards. His four touchdowns in the 2010 campaign gives him eight for his still young career, one shy of entering the school's career top 10.

"Yeah he did some good things and made some plays with the ball in his hands," Mullen said. "We are going to do whatever we need to try and get the ball in his hands. We also put (LaDarius) Perkins back there at quarterback and he did some good things there. So whatever way, as we go week to week, however we can get the ball into our playmakers hands as best as possible we're going to do that."


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