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Bulldogs' miscues keep team winless

By By Tony Krausz / assistant sports editor
Sept. 16, 2003
STARKVILLE Mississippi State University simply didn't look good in the final minutes of the fourth quarter in its 31-28 loss to Tulane.
With about nine minutes to play, the Bulldogs (0-2, 0-0 Southeastern Conference) had a first down at the Green Wave's 45-yard and a 14-point lead, but a false start stalled the drive.
Tulane (2-1, 0-1 Conference USA) got the ball back on its own 11-yard line and marched 89 yards on 13 plays for the squad's first seven of 17 points in the closing minutes of a come-from-behind win.
MSU's woes continued after the Tulane score, as quarterback Kevin Fant fumbled for a two yard loss, threw an incomplete pass, and the team was called for a delay of game penalty.
The Green Wave responded to the three-and-out by the Bulldogs with a four-play, 41-yard scoring drive to tie the game at 28, and Tulane completed the comeback with a 32-yard field goal with six seconds left. A kick that if missed would have been done again because the Bulldogs had too many men on the field.
Such is life for a team that started three freshmen in last Saturday's game and fields underclassmen at nearly every position.
MSU's main point of concern is in the team's defensive back field heading into this weekend's match up against Houston.
The Bulldogs gave up 349 yards to Tulane quarterback J.P. Losman in New Orleans, including four touchdowns.
MSU will have the services of Kevin Dockery this weekend. The sophomore strong safety missed the game against the Green Wave after suffering an injury in the opener against Oregon.
As MSU waits for the secondary to comeback and mature, the team did find a reason to be optimistic on the offensive side of the ball.
After beginning the season with a patch-work offensive line, the Bulldogs are returning players to the front line.
MSU will need to be able to control the ball against Houston.
The Cougars employ multiple offensive looks of first-year coach Art Briles, and quarterback Kevin Kolb has been effective in a variety of packages that include the Run and Shoot, UH's beloved Veer and even the Wishbone.
The Bulldogs kick off against the Cougars (2-1, 0-0 C-USA) at 7 p.m. Saturday at Robertson Stadium in Houston.