Mississippi State entered the 2011 season with high expectations following a 9-4 campaign a year ago that included a Gator Bowl win over Michigan that officially put the stamp on Rich Rodriguez‘s career in Ann Arbor.
But, boy, did the Bulldogs have a hard time repeating that success. Now, first of all, look at what they had to face: games at Auburn, at Georgia, at Arkansas and then LSU and Alabama on top of that. Add in some inconsistent quarterback issues with Chris Relf and Tyler Russell and a questionable defense, and Dan Mullen‘s looking at an uphill battle.
And an uphill battle it was, but running back Vick Ballard has been one of the bright spots for MSU this year. Ballard rushed for 1,009 yards heading into tonight and played in every single game in some capacity. The somewhat unbelievable part is that he only touched the ball 15 times a game on average this season; Ballard matched that in a 23-17 win tonight over Wake Forest (6-7) in the Music City Bowl with 16 touches for 189 total yards.
The senior running back was an absolute beast when he did get his hands on the rock, though, averaging 12 yards per carry and scoring two touchdowns. His 180 rushing yards tonight were a career best at Mississippi State and three shy of Walter Packer’s postseason record of 183 yards in the 1974 Sun Bowl.
Not bad for a guy whose only other offer coming out of the JUCO ranks was Troy.
There have been some fine running back performances this postseason. You can count Ballard’s Music City Bowl as part of that trend.
Former Texas defensive tackle Jordan Elliott will now be a Missouri Tiger, he announced on Friday.
Elliott chose Missouri to follow Brick Haley, his defensive line coach in Austin that landed at Mizzou after Charlie Strong‘s firing.
“They’re a program that’s on the come up, SEC ball is the highest level,” Elliott said in an interview with Power Mizzou. “Coach Haley is one of the best D-Line coaches out there. Missouri’s a powerhouse for defensive linemen. They’re coming and going first round every year. That’s real appealing to me.
“I talked to coach Haley and got it rolling.”
Elliott was a Signing Day addition to Strong’s 2016 class who was committed to Michigan before his late flip. He said that his one season in Austin amounted to a year-long version of buyer’s remorse.
“There’s a lot of speculation going around, but at the end of the day I just wasn’t happy there,” he said. “It’s nothing against the coaches at Texas, they’re great coaches. It’s a great program and I really learned a lot of things, but I just never really enjoyed Texas since I first got there.”
Elliott posted eight tackles and 1.5 TFLs in six appearances as a true freshman last season before suffering a torn MCL against Iowa State in October.
He would have been in line for starter’s snaps had he remained on Tom Herman‘s squad this fall. Instead, Elliott will sit out the 2017 campaign and have three years remaining to compete as a Tiger beginning in ’18.
Tired of the continuous stream of negative college football news? Here ya go.
During a September 2015 game against Georgia, Southern wide receiver Devon Gales sustained a severe spinal injury that left him paralyzed and hospitalized for five months. This week, Gales used Twitter to offer up a very encouraging and inspiring update — the former wide receiver, with the assist of a couple of physical therapists, taking a dozen steps.
On the way indeed.
In February, Georgia announced that it was launching “Drive to Build a Dawg House” for Gales and his family.
One of the top playmakers in Nebraska’s passing game has avoided what was originally a serious legal charge.
According to KETV-TV in Omaha, Stanley Morgan was arrested following a traffic stop May 6 in Port Orange, Fla., for possession of 21.4 grams of marijuana; according to the penal code in the state of Florida, possession of more than 20 grams of weed is considered a felony. However, the television station wrote, “prosecutors charged the case as ‘possession of cannabis not more than 20 grams,’ making it a misdemeanor.”
Why the the charge against Morgan went from a potential felony to a misdemeanor — or reduced as the Associated Press reported — wasn’t detailed. A misdemeanor possession of paraphernalia charge was dropped as well.
Cornhuskers defensive back Antonio Reed was also in the vehicle that was driven by his teammate and was charged with misdemeanor pot possession as well.
“Head Coach Mike Riley and the Athletics Department are aware of a recent incident in Florida involving Stanley Morgan Jr.,” a statement from the university began. “We will have no additional comment until we have all information regarding this matter.”
Morgan’s 33 receptions for 453 yards were second on the team last season. With Jordan Westerkamp‘s departure, the junior is the Cornhuskers’ leading returning receiver.
Also a junior, Reed played in 22 games last season. He was credited with 22 tackles.
Last month, Jordan Fogal used Twitter to announce his decision to transfer from Utah. This month, he’s taken to the same social media website to reveal his new college football home.
In a tweet, Fogal acknowledged that he be enrolling in a Masters program at Colorado State and will be playing football for the Rams. While the school has yet to confirm the safety’s move, he is now being followed on Twitter by head coach Mike Bobo.
As a grad transfer, Fogal will be eligible to play immediately in 2017 at CSU.
After spending two seasons at the junior college level, Fogal played in 11 games the past two years. Fogal’s two interceptions last season were tied for fourth on the team.
The defensive back’s 2015 season came to a premature end after three games because of an injury. He then played in eight games in 2016 for the Utes.