Monday, November 2, 2015

Rick Cleveland: Dak should get more attention

Nearly two months into another intriguing Mississippi college football season, here's where the Magnolia State teams stand:


Ole Miss (6-2): Just when Ole Miss lost two straight road games and so many were about to write the Rebels off, they turned Texas A&M inside-out, 23-3. Home field is a wonderful thing, especially in the SEC and especially for the Rebels who have now won 11 of their past 12 at Vaught-Hemingway.

Missing two All-American defenders, the Rebels nevertheless throttled the Aggies' high-powered offense for a critical victory that keeps the Rebels where they want to be in the Southeastern Conference Western Division race. That is, if Ole Miss wins out, Ole Miss goes to Atlanta and the SEC Championship Game for the first time ever. There's much to be said for controlling one's own destiny.



Winning out will be an all-consuming chore. The Rebels go to Auburn, have Arkansas and LSU at home and then play at Mississippi State. Keep in mind, the home team has won 10 of the last 11 Egg Bowls, which just goes back to how important home field is in college football.

“It's everything,” Bo Wallace said recently. “There's just so much more energy when you play at home.”

Beating State at Starkville might be more difficult than besting LSU at the Vaught. Neither will be easy, and neither will victories over Auburn and Arkansas.

Getting Laremy Tunsil back solidifies the Ole Miss offensive line. Getting Robert Nkemdiche and Tony Conner back, at some point, will make the Rebels all the better on defense.

Mississippi State (6-2): The Bulldogs and Rebels have identical overall records, but both State losses were league games. That makes State's road to Atlanta and the championship game a steep incline. It's possible; it's not likely.

However, State, back in the AP Top 25 after trouncing Kentucky 42-16, can still reach many goals, including an invite to a New Year's Day bowl game and ruining its arch-rival's season.

My question: Why is Dak Prescott not receiving more national notice for the season he's having?

He has thrown 14 touchdowns, only one interception. He has completed two-thirds of his passes for nine yards per pass. He has run for seven more touchdowns and five yards per carry. In short, he has saved his best for his last season in Starkville.

State has this weekend off, but the the rest of the Bulldogs' schedule is daunting. State plays at Missouri on a Thursday night, before coming home to face Alabama. Then, it's at Arkansas before Ole Miss goes to Starkville. Arkansas, at Fayetteville in November, is never easy. In the SEC West, in November, it's not supposed to be easy.



Southern Miss (5-3): After three seasons in college football's version of hell, the Golden Eagles are back. USM has won more games in eight weeks than they won in their three previous seasons. If they can avoid an absolute collapse, they will play in a bowl game for the first time since 2011 when they finished 12-2 and won Conference USA.

In fact, USM is still very much in this year's CUSA race, tied with Louisiana Tech at the top of the West Division. The Eagles should be favored in their next three games (UTEP at home, Rice on the road and Old Dominion at home) before they finish the regular season at Tech in a game that should decide who plays in the CUSA Championship Game.

Quarterback Nick Mullens won't blow you away with his arm strength, but he is accurate and resourceful. Interesting stat: Mullens has thrown for 21 touchdowns, precisely the number Brett Favre threw in his junior and senior seasons combined. And Mullen has four, probably five, games yet to play.

No, Mullens is no Favre, but he is an excellent quarterback and he is surrounded by weapons such as wide receiver Michael Thomas and Jalen Richard. The defense hasn't quite reached the USM Nasty Bunch status of old, but is a lot more nasty than the past three seasons. Football is fun at USM again.

•••

Rick Cleveland (rcleveland@msfame.com) is executive director of the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Museum.

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Trollfest '09

Trollfest '07 was such a success that Jackson Jambalaya will once again host Trollfest '09. Catch this great event which will leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Othor Cain and his band, The Black Power Structure headline the night while Sonjay Poontang returns for an encore performance. Former Frank Melton bodyguard Marcus Wright makes his premier appearance at Trollfest singing "I'm a Sweet Transvestite" from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Kamikaze will sing his new hit, “How I sold out to da Man.” Robbie Bell again performs: “Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Bells” and “Any friend of Ed Peters is a friend of mine”. After the show, Ms. Bell will autograph copies of her mug shot photos. In a salute to “Dancing with the Stars”, Ms. Bell and Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith will dance the Wango Tango.

Wrestling returns, except this time it will be a Battle Royal with Othor Cain, Ben Allen, Kim Wade, Haley Fisackerly, Alan Lange, and “Big Cat” Donna Ladd all in the ring at the same time. The Battle Royal will be in a steel cage, no time limit, no referee, and the losers must leave town. Marshand Crisler will be the honorary referee (as it gives him a title without actually having to do anything).


Meet KIM Waaaaaade at the Entergy Tent. For five pesos, Kim will sell you a chance to win a deed to a crack house on Ridgeway Street stuffed in the Howard Industries pinata. Don't worry if the pinata is beaten to shreds, as Mr. Wade has Jose, Emmanuel, and Carlos, all illegal immigrants, available as replacements for the it. Upon leaving the Entergy tent, fig leaves will be available in case Entergy literally takes everything you have as part of its Trollfest ticket price adjustment charge.

Donna Ladd of The Jackson Free Press will give several classes on learning how to write. Smearing, writing without factchecking, and reporting only one side of a story will be covered. A donation to pay their taxes will be accepted and she will be signing copies of their former federal tax liens. Ms. Ladd will give a dramatic reading of her two award-winning essays (They received The Jackson Free Press "Best Of" awards.) "Why everything is always about me" and "Why I cover murders better than anyone else in Jackson".

In the spirit of helping those who are less fortunate, Trollfest '09 adopts a cause for which a portion of the proceeds and donations will be donated: Keeping Frank Melton in his home. The “Keep Frank Melton From Being Homeless” booth will sell chances for five dollars to pin the tail on the jackass. John Reeves has graciously volunteered to be the jackass for this honorable excursion into saving Frank's ass. What's an ass between two friends after all? If Mr. Reeves is unable to um, perform, Speaker Billy McCoy has also volunteered as when the word “jackass” was mentioned he immediately ran as fast as he could to sign up.


In order to help clean up the legal profession, Adam Kilgore of the Mississippi Bar will be giving away free, round-trip plane tickets to the North Pole where they keep their bar complaint forms (which are NOT available online). If you don't want to go to the North Pole, you can enjoy Brant Brantley's (of the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance) free guided tours of the quicksand field over by High Street where all complaints against judges disappear. If for some reason you are unable to control yourself, never fear; Judge Houston Patton will operate his jail where no lawyers are needed or allowed as you just sit there for minutes... hours.... months...years until he decides he is tired of you sitting in his jail. Do not think Judge Patton is a bad judge however as he plans to serve free Mad Dog 20/20 to all inmates.

Trollfest '09 is a pet-friendly event as well. Feel free to bring your dog with you and do not worry if your pet gets hungry, as employees of the Jackson Zoo will be on hand to provide some of their animals as food when it gets to be feeding time for your little loved one.

Relax at the Fox News Tent. Since there are only three blonde reporters in Jackson (being blonde is a requirement for working at Fox News), Megan and Kathryn from WAPT and Wendy from WLBT will be on loan to Fox. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both and a torn-up Obama yard sign will entitle you to free drinks served by Megan, Wendy, and Kathryn. Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required. Just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '09 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.


Note: Security provided by INS.

Trollfest '07

Jackson Jambalaya is the home of Trollfest '07. Catch this great event which promises to leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Sonjay Poontang and his band headline the night with a special steel cage, no time limit "loser must leave town" bout between Alan Lange and "Big Cat"Donna Ladd following afterwards. Kamikaze will perform his new song F*** Bush, he's still a _____. Did I mention there was no referee? Dr. Heddy Matthias and Lori Gregory will face off in the undercard dueling with dangling participles and other um, devices. Robbie Bell will perform Her two latest songs: My Best Friends are in the Media and Mama's, Don't Let Your Babies Grow up to be George Bell. Sid Salter of The Clarion-Ledger will host "Pin the Tail on the Trial Lawyer", sponsored by State Farm.

There will be a hugging booth where in exchange for your young son, Frank Melton will give you a loooong hug. Trollfest will have a dunking booth where Muhammed the terrorist will curse you to Allah as you try to hit a target that will drop him into a vat of pig grease. However, in the true spirit of Separate But Equal, Don Imus and someone from NE Jackson will also sit in the dunking booth for an equal amount of time. Tom Head will give a reading for two hours on why he can't figure out who the hell he is. Cliff Cargill will give lessons with his .80 caliber desert eagle, using Frank Melton photos as targets. Tackleberry will be on hand for an autograph session. KIM Waaaaaade will be passing out free titles and deeds to crackhouses formerly owned by The Wood Street Players.

If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

Note: Security provided by INS
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