Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen joined N.C. State coach Dave Doeren Tuesday afternoon at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte for a press conference prior to the Belk Bowl on Dec. 30.
Here is a transcript of Mullen’s time at the podium.
Mullen: “I want to thank everybody that’s here obviously with the Belk Bowl. It’s a great honor for us to come and represent Mississippi State and the Southeastern Conference here at a great bowl game. Everything here is done first class. John (Pollack) of Belk, I want to thank you for supporting college athletics.
“I think bowl games are so special and we have a lot of young men and a majority of our team who are from small town Mississippi. You give them the opportunity to come out and experience something they’ve never been able to do before – to experience a great city, stay in unbelievable facilities and hotels, experience the city life. Our guys might be a little nervous walking around when they see the size of the buildings and that stuff around town. It’s just a great opportunity for those young men to do that.
“Danny Morrison of the Panthers, anytime you get the opportunity to play in an NFL stadium is a unique and special opportunity. I know every young man growing up playing football has dreams of one day playing in the NFL. When you have that opportunity – whether it be high school state championship games, all-star games or college bowl games – it’s very, very special.
“On behalf of everybody at Mississippi State, we’re very thankful for the invitation. We’re excited to be here and play in what should be a fun, exciting game. When you look at the programs and the schools, Dave’s done an unbelievable job at N.C. State.
“I’ve gotten to watch some of them this year competing down to the wire with the No. 1 team in the country. They were able to battle in everything that they did this year. You can tell he’s continually built the program from Year 1 and each year taking another step at being a much better football team and program over the last several years.
“It’ll be a great challenge. The programs run very similarly. It’s two blue collar teams. When you watch this game, you’re going to see two teams that go out and leave everything they have on the field. They are going to play as hard as they can every single snap. You’ve got two great quarterbacks battling in the game and it should be an awful lot of fun. It should be a fantastic time and it’s an honor for us to be here.”
What kind of crowd do you guys expect?
Mullen: “It’s going to be a great challenge for our fan base. Just about every bowl game that we’ve gone to, I’ve felt that we’ve had home field advantage over the last six years.
“We’re thankful they are allowing cowbells into the stadium. If you’ve got a fever there’s only on prescription and that’s more cowbell. Unfortunately for the people of Charlotte after the game, they will probably have an actual fever from the cowbells. That ringing sound in their head. But it’s such a great tradition for us and traditions are what makes college football so special.
“We’re going to challenge our fans to show up and try to match or give us close to the balance in the home field advantage that N.C. State is going to have.”