Bulldogs revive series against Tulane in N.O.
By By Tony Krausz / assistant sports editor
Sept. 12, 2003
STARKVILLE Mississippi State University reunites with a long-lost foe this weekend.
The Bulldogs take on the Tulane Green Wave for the first since Oct. 22, 1994, at the Superdome in New Orleans on Saturday.
Though MSU enters the game holding a five-game winning streak against Tulane, head coach Jackie Sherrill said the Green Wave will be another tough non-conference challenge for his team.
"There are a lot of people that buy an opponent, which means they come to their place all the time and they can play their third team and still win, and we haven't done that," Sherrill said. "Our out-of-conference games are not bought."
The last time MSU squared off against Tulane, the Bulldogs' Derrick Tate passed for a school record 466 yards, with four touchdowns, in a 66-22 blow out at Scott Field.
Nearly a decade later, MSU (0-1, 0-0 SEC) will lock horns again with Tulane (1-1, 0-1 Conference USA), with another quarterback making new marks in the record book.
Quarterback Kevin Fant 's 285 yards passing against Oregon put him in sixth on the school's all-time in passing yardage list, with 3,765. He surpassed Tommy Pharr (3,720) on the list.
The Moss Point native's career pass attempts (555), completions (298) and touchdown passes
(22) all rank seventh in the Bulldogs' all-time record book.
But Sherrill said Tulane has a defense that could keep MSU from notching new offensive records when the teams meet in the Superdome in New Orleans.
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On the other side of the ball, the Bulldogs will have worry about stopping a high-octane offense fueled by senior quarterback J.P. Losman.
The 6-foot-3, 220-pound signal caller has thrown for 656 yards and six touchdowns in the Green Wave's first two games of the season.
Losman has a strong list of targets to pass to, with multi-purpose running back Mewelde Moore hauling in 148 receiving yards, and Tristan Smith, Roydell Williams and Chris Bush combining for 24 catches and 324 yards against Texas Christian University and Northwestern State.
"Their tempo is an all-out tempo," Sherrill said. "Everything they do is very quick. It is hard to practice against that, because of the way they run their offense. It is hard to simulate in practice."
Because of the Green Wave's explosive offensive ability, Sherrill said the Bulldogs will try to keep the ball out of NAMES hands.
"You don't want to turn the game into a shootout because their offense is a spread, shootout offense" Sherrill said. "You want to make sure you don't play their game. You have to try to play your game."
MSU will continue to employ a running game by committee against Tulane.
In the season opening loss to Oregon, the Bulldogs used three running backs to rush for 124 yards on 17 carries.
Though Sherrill is committed to rotating his backfield personal, the coach said he will not hesitate to make one runner the featured back depending on the situation.
"If one gets a really hot hand, we will start calling his number a lot," Sherrill said.
MSU will need somebody to get as hot as Tate did back in 1994 to keep from dropping to 0-2 for the season.
"On our offensive side we are having a lot of people make a lot of adjustments," Sherrill said.
"Our quarterback is very comfortable, and as the season goes along, we will keep getting better."
The Bulldogs are slated to kick off against the Green Wave at 7 p.m. at Superdome.