By Brad Locke/NEMS Daily Journal
LEXINGTON, Ky. – Chad Bumphis can talk some smack to Eric Moulds now.
His 27-yard touchdown catch in Saturday’s 27-14 win over Kentucky was the 18th of Bumphis’ career, putting him in sole possession of first place on the MSU career TD receptions chart. He had been tied with Moulds and Justin Jenkins.
“I get to talk stuff to Moulds now,” Bumphis said. “Next time I see him, (and) he said he’d be at the Tennessee game, and so I’ll talk to him about it a little bit.”
The senior from Tupelo had a big day overall, tying a career high with nine catches for 104 yards. In two SEC games this season, Bumphis has 12 catches for 151 yards and two TDs.
For a guy who had struggled against league competition his first three years, it’s further evidence that Bumphis has become a different and better player.
“It’s not about being more confident but about actually going out there and doing it,” Bumphis said. “I know what I’m capable of and what the offense can do.”
Bumphis said he’s gotten better at reading defenses and making breaks on his option routes. On Saturday, his defender was taking away the outside quite a bit, so Bumphis worked a lot over the middle of the field.
On his touchdown, he got open down the right seam.
“It’s a double post concept, and it’s actually designed to go to the outside (receiver). I don’t think I’ve caught that ball once in practice,” Bumphis said. “The safety sat flat-footed and let me run by him.”
Moving the chains
Seven of his nine catches moved the chains for MSU, with three of those catches doing so on third down. MSU was 10 of 18 on third downs.
“We were just on the same page,” Russell said.
More receiving records are within the reach of Bumphis. He has 1,723 receiving yards, which is 491 shy of Mardye McDole’s record of 2,214.
Bumphis has six TDs this year, and the single-season record is nine, held by Jenkins. He’s averaging 23.44 yards per catch; Danny Knight averaged 24.97 in 1982.
For now, though, Bumphis tries not to worry too much about the records. He’s got bigger team goals in mind for a team that’s 5-0.
“It’s a big deal to get it out of the way finally,” he said of the TD record. “You can’t say you don’t think about it, but you try not to. That’s not the bigger goal.
“What we want to do this year is get to Atlanta (for the SEC championship game). That’s just one step.”