VegasInsider.com
VI Mobile Scores and Betting OddsVI Mobile Scores and Betting Odds Be Social
Home
NFL
NBA
NHL
MLB
NCAA FB
NCAA BK
Golf
Auto
Horses
Soccer
Boxing/MMA
More
Betting Tools

 
Mississippi State eyes jump in SEC

HOOVER, Ala. (AP) - Mississippi State has been a reasonably successful program during coach Dan Mullen's five-year tenure, advancing to four straight bowl games.

Advertisement
Now the Bulldogs have a roster that looks as if it can attain even more.

Mississippi State returns a veteran defense and one of the league's few experienced quarterbacks. Dak Prescott threw for 1,940 yards and 10 touchdowns - and also rushed for 13 touchdowns - after becoming the starter early last season. The charismatic junior is now the unquestioned leader of the Bulldogs' offense.

The defense has nine starters returning, including junior linebacker Benardrick McKinney.

Mullen said on Tuesday at SEC Media Days that his team isn't backing away from expectations and the goal is ''to find a way to get to Atlanta'' and compete for an SEC championship.

''When you embrace that expectation early on as a program, when you embrace that for this year's team, that's what they're working for from Day 1,'' Mullen said. ''I don't think they shy away from it.''

Prescott's dual-threat ability is a big reason for the optimism. The 6-foot-2, 230-pounder was often labeled as a running quarterback early in his career, but his passing progressed rapidly last season.

He'll have some experienced receivers, including Jameon Lewis, Robert Johnson, Joe Morrow and De'Runnya Wilson, as targets. Lewis led the team with 64 catches for 923 last year and the 6-foot-5, 215-pound Wilson provides the big play threat the Bulldogs' offense has sometimes lacked.

''Dak is a guy that because of his skill set, he can beat you with his arm, with his legs, he can run between the tackles and he can run in the open field,'' Mullen said. ''He has a lot going for him. But most importantly, he has that will to win.''

Mississippi State's defense will have at least five seniors starting and several experienced juniors. The unit ranked fifth in the league last year in defense, giving up just 23 points per game.

Now the Bulldogs must prove they can break through against elite opponents in the SEC's brutal Western Division. Mississippi State hasn't beaten Alabama or LSU during Mullen's tenure - a trend that almost certainly has to change if the Bulldogs want a real shot at playing in Atlanta.

''It's going to be a big road,'' McKinney said. ''In the offseason, we train every day for games like that to be able to play four quarters of relentless effort.''

-----

Follow David Brandt on Twitter: www.twitter.com/davidbrandtAP

Copyright 2018 by STATS LLC and Associated Press.
Any commercial use or distribution without the express written
consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited.

  
HEADLINES
Wash. State QB Hilinski found dead
Four Notre Dame players dismissed
Stanford RB Love to return for 2018
Sumlin says Arizona is 'right challenge'
Syracuse hires Cavanaugh to coach line
Heisman runner-up RB back to Cardinal
McNulty returns to Rutgers as OC
SDSU's Wieneke ready to catch on
Michigan hires Moore to coach TEs
MORE HEADLINES
 
Why Buy Picks From VegasInsider.com
NCAAFB College Football Handicapper Sports Picks Records
VegasInsider.com Gold Membership
2017 CFB SEASON PICK RECORDS
Money Leaders
Handicapper Money
Vince Akins + 3165
Scott Pritchard + 2769
Mark Franco + 2093
Last Week's Leaders
Handicapper Money
Bill Marzano + 517
Gary Bart + 290
Jim Feist + 185
Percentage Leaders
Handicapper Pct
Scott Pritchard 68 %
Vince Akins 64 %
Dave Cokin 62 %
Guaranteed Leaders
Handicapper Money
Antony Dinero + 1510
Scott Pritchard + 1184
Marc Lawrence + 975
Over-Under Leaders
Handicapper Money
Kyle Hunter + 1365
Scott Pritchard + 1074
Antony Dinero + 551
Member Leaders
Handicapper Money
Mark Franco + 1060
Marc Lawrence + 959
Joe Williams + 805
MORE PICK RECORDS
  
corner graphic
With a VI Gold Membership, you can SAVE 20% off Daily Pick packages, SAVE 10% off a Live Odds subscription, and receive access to up to 1,000 Member Plays each month!
VI Gold Membership