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Thursday, September 9, 2010

Auburn-Mississippi State pre-game post

You're looking LIVE at an empty Davis Wade Stadium in Starkville, where the faint clanging of cowbells is ubiquitous throughout the city.

It is a steamy one out here right now, which I can imagine will improve a little bit by gametime, but not that much.

First impressions of Starkville: pretty nice campus. Very pastoral. I like the tailgating set up just outside the stadium with plenty of tents set up in a central open yard. It's easy to find a focal point for the pre-game celebrations, which isn't always the case at most schools.

As for the cowbells, they're everywhere. It's funny, a chorus of cowbell clanging will break out in certain parts of the tailgating area and it will crescendo until everyone gets tired of banging on them. Then it picks up in a different area. So there's pretty much a constant sound of cowbells going on. Bruce Dickinson would be proud how the fans are exploring the stadium space.

This will serve as your all-encompassing pre-game post, with updates about players and any other information I can scrape together before the game starts. Follow the blog on Twitter for any big pre-game news. I plan to tweet crucial information throughout the game as well. I'll throw all other minutia on the blog, so check back.

UPDATE (4:15 p.m.): Here's a bunch of information about the game from the schools' notes packets:
  • Auburn is 16-1 in its last 17 season openers.
  • The Tigers are 6-2 all-time in Thursday night games, including 4-0 in SEC games. Their last ESPN Thursday night game versus an SEC opponent was against Mississippi State in 2002. Auburn won 42-14. South Carolina in 2006. Auburn won 24-17.
  • The Bulldogs are 6-8 in Thursday night games.
  • Auburn leads the series 58-23-2 and has won 21 of the last 28 overall.
  • MSU and Auburn rank 1 and 2 nationally in passing efficiency.
  • Cam Newton leads the SEC in rushing (171 yards) and total offense (357 yards) after one week.
  • Auburn has topped 500 yards five times in 14 games under Gus Malzahn. The Tigers had not reached the 500-yard mark in the 40 games prior to Malzahn's arrival.
  • The Tigers played 12 true freshmen in the opener. Expect at least one more to get on the field tonight: WR Trovon Reed, who missed the opener with a bruised knee cap.
  • The stat that keeps on giving: Auburn has won 57 straight games when scoring 30 or more points, dating back to 1996.
  • MSU's last four home games have been sellouts. This one looks like it'll be that way too. Davis Wade stadium holds 55,082 fans.
  • The 569 yards the Bulldogs put up in a 49-7 season-opening win against Memphis was the fifth-highest mark in school history.
  • MSU led the SEC in rushing last year, averaging 227.6 yards per game. The Bulldogs ran for 197 yards on 41 carries in the opener.
  • The Bulldogs had two receivers top 100 yards in the opener: sophomores Chad Bumphis (112) and Brandon Heavens (100). Heavens is a former Auburn commit.
UPDATE (4:42 p.m.): MSU coach Dan Mullen just came out to the field and put his hand up to his ear Hulk Hogan style to get the students to clang their cowbells. And clang they did. I wonder if they'll have the endurance to ring those things throughout.

UPDATE (4:59 p.m.): Auburn just came out for its pre-game gathering on the field. I've got a pair of binoculars and did not see LB Craig Stevens out there.

UPDATE (5:02 p.m): WR Trovon Reed is on the trip.

UPDATE (5:40 p.m.): Freshmen P Steven Clark and PK Cody Parkey both on the trip.

UPDATE (5:49 p.m.): Reed's out there with the other kick returners. Looks like he has a pretty good wrap on his left knee. He seems to be able to dance pretty well to D.J. Khaled's "All I Do is Win," though.

UPDATE (6:04 p.m.): Auburn just took the field. No Stevens. No Jonathon Mincy. CB Chris Davis is out there.


Scott M. Brannan said...

nice pre-game work AB. got a lot of friends there this afternoon and they're telling me they're sick of the cowbells already. i'm sure yall are in for a LOUD, LOUD, LOUD nite. well, unless we can get out to a big lead. i'm predicting a close one, though.

Anonymous said...

Love the tip of the hat to Iron Maiden's Bruce Dickinson.

War Eagle!

Anonymous said...

please tweet it all, i can't watch the game! seriously, tweet it up. to 11. please. i need you ab.

Scott M. Brannan said...

that sux Tim. i mean, anonymous. sounds like you need a new job. jk....well, not really.

Anonymous said...

Correction on our last SEC Thurs night game. It was against S Cackalack in 07. I was there with my now wife and her family who are SCar fans.


Andy Bitter said...

Sure enough, it was 2007. Auburn's game notes have steered me wrong.

Anonymous said...

It was a nail biter too. We couldn't stop that converted QB - can't remember his name - but it rained just about the whole game and my wife's step dad works for the journalism dept and has season tix, and we got lucky and had tickets under cover in the upper deck on the 2nd to last row(right on the 50 though).

We were 4 of about 500 people up under cover in the whole stadium.

If I rememeber correctly, we broke up a pass to, then freshman, Sidney Rice, to stop them from scoring to win. I think that's what happened.

Andy Bitter said...

Check that, 2006.

Scott M. Brannan said...

that USC game was way too close.

Aeronaut said...

Nice work, Andy. Always a pleasure reading your coverage.

Anonymous said...

Any word on Ladarious Phillips. playing?

Andy Bitter said...

Did not see Ladarious in the pre-game meeting either. I'd be shocked if he was here.

DivineMsM said...


Scott M. Brannan said...

WDE Monnie. ;)

Jack said...

Let's do this! WDE!

Thanks for the info, Andy. Awesome as always!

Aubie said...

Let's go Tigers!
Do your calf stretches!

DivineMsM said...

Scottie B! WDE!
I so wish I was in Starkville!

Jared said...

I could be wrong, but I think we just saw Auburn's defense on that second drive!

DivineMsM said...

Why didn't we call time and try a FG at end of half?

Jared said...

Well it would have been like a 55 yard FG. I guess Coach didn't want to put that pressure of Wes.

DivineMsM said...

Oh, I thought he got to the 32. That makes sense. Thanks, Jared.