Bulldogs prep for spotlight

8TB6_MSU_primary_logoBy Brad Locke
Daily Journal

STARKVILLE – Dan Mullen doesn’t want to put too much weight on one game, but Saturday’s season opener against Oklahoma State could alter the big picture for Mississippi State in a good way.

In his four years at MSU, Mullen has a 2-15 record against ranked opponents, with nine consecutive losses. Oklahoma State is ranked No. 13.

The teams meet at 2:30 p.m. Saturday at Houston’s Reliant Stadium.

“In the big picture of the program, I don’t think one game turns you in any different direction,” Mullen said at Monday’s press conference. “It’s the consistency in which you play, and hopefully the consistency in how we win is really how I view the big picture.”

Left tackle Blaine Clausell held to a similar sentiment.

“The only thing I can see is 1-0,” he said.

This game, tabbed the Texas Kickoff Classic, will be a split telecast on ABC and ESPN2. It’s the kind of spotlight game that, if MSU wins, can launch it into a strong opening stretch of the season.
Safety Jay Hughes is aware of that.

“I wouldn’t say it’s going to be the defining point of our season,” Hughes said, “but it’s going to have a major impact on what we do in the future.”

Mullen admitted that MSU has to take a different approach when opening against a team like Oklahoma State, as opposed to recent openers against Jackson State and Memphis.

More like November
Mullen likes to get a lot of young players on the field in the first game, but playing a team of such high quality doesn’t necessarily allow for that. A handful of freshmen are expected to see the field on Saturday, but coaches will have to be judicious on when to and where to use them.

“What you do is you’ve got to take out your margins for error,” Mullen said. “You’re treating this game like you would a game in November when you’re competing for the conference championship.”


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