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franklin county times

Not much to brag about in Mississippi SEC football

By By Stan Torgerson / guest columnist
Nov. 18, 2002
I'm sorry momma. I do remember your often repeated advice about if you can't say something nice don't say anything at all. And I'm certain your friends and neighbors in Heaven won't approve of your only son talking bad about anything or anybody.
But, momma, try as I may, I just can't find anything good to say about Mississippi's Southeastern Conference football teams this year.
Mississippi State's performance against Tennessee was awful, just awful. Mistake after mistake compounded by the dumbest penalty of the year, a personal foul call on a Bulldog player 40 yards away from the ball. It kept UT alive when the Bulldogs apparently had them stopped dead.
Tennessee didn't beat Mississippi State. Mississippi State beat Mississippi State. In this now 3-7 season and 0-6 year in the SEC this wasn't the first time this team has been its own worst enemy and, even with only two games remaining, it might not be the last.
Jackie Sherrill's team looks completely undisciplined. Good teams don't do the things they do draw unnecessary penalties, get caught out of position, miss blocks and drop passes.
But the Bulldogs are not the only Mississippi team that has earned a D' on its report card. Ole Miss has a pair, one given to its offensive line and the other to its defense.
The line, which averages over 300 pounds per man and has one of the best and most agile quarterbacks in the country behind them, simply can't block anyone nor protect Eli Manning who spends many of his afternoons running for his life.
As for the defense, it has allowed 4.2 yards per carry. My high school coach would point out a successful play was one in which the offense earned 3.4 yards because three of them would result in a first down. The Rebel's record proves he was right.
Going into Saturday's games, Ole Miss had allowed 282 points in 10 games. Only Vanderbilt was worse with 303. Now Mississippi State has moved the Rebels up a notch. The 35 points the Dogs gave up to Tennessee gave them a 10-game total of 289, one touchdown worse than Ole Miss.
At this point our two SEC representatives have won two league games (Ole Miss over Vanderbilt and Florida) and lost 10. The last time things were this bad was 1988 when the Rebels ended the season 3-4 and Mississippi State went 0-7.
At least Southern Mississippi is on the plus side with a 6-4 record. But they've lost two of their last three, one to TCU and the other to Louisville with only a win over UAB in between. That's certainly not what the Golden Eagles hoped for at the start of the season with 18 starters returning. They still have Tulane and East Carolina left. Wins over those two would give Southern a mark of 8-4. This year it would be the big three's best.
There are going to be those who will read this column and say "Aw come on Stan, it's only a game." That's probably what my momma would say too. She and the others really don't understand.
Football only a game? Not in Mississippi it isn't.
Saints On Radio
Several columns ago I complained about New Orleans Saints games not being available on radio. On weekends when they were not scheduled for television there was no way to follow this area's favorite team.
I'm pleased to tell you that 910 AM is now broadcasting the games and Sunday, when the Saints game was blacked out on TV, it was a pleasure to hear the New Orleans-Atlanta game rather than just sit and wait for the TV station to run a crawl on the bottom of the screen with the score.
The outcome wasn't very good but the broadcast was just fine.

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