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OSU football notebook: For MSU, Cowboys a major opener upgrade

Mississippi State has opened seasons against Jackson State and Memphis. Those games were easy wins for the Bulldogs.
by Berry Tramel and John Helsley Published: August 29, 2013
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/articleid/3877297/1/pictures/2195617">Photo - In this Aug. 10, 2013 photograph, Mississippi State football coach Dan Mullen calls out to his players during an NCAA college football practice in Starkville, Miss. Mississippi State faces No. 13 Oklahoma State at Reliant Stadium in Houston in easily the toughest opener of MullenÂ’s tenure. The marquee matchup on a neutral field brings the potential for a galvanizing victory, but also the risk of a humbling loss. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)  ORG XMIT: MSRS107
In this Aug. 10, 2013 photograph, Mississippi State football coach Dan Mullen calls out to his players during an NCAA college football practice in Starkville, Miss. Mississippi State faces No. 13 Oklahoma State at Reliant Stadium in Houston in easily the toughest opener of MullenÂ’s tenure. The marquee matchup on a neutral field brings the potential for a galvanizing victory, but also the risk of a humbling loss. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis) ORG XMIT: MSRS107

“I don't think the defense likes it too much, but I really don't have a choice. I'd rather be doing that than not doing it.”

RECORD KEEPING: MSU OPENERS

The Bulldogs are opening against a ranked opponent for the seventh time in school history.

Previously, it hasn't gone well, with MSU 1-5 and riding a five-game losing streak in such matchups.

The Bulldogs are 11-19 in openers against teams from BCS conferences. They are 4-4 in openers against BCS squads not in the SEC.

NEW TAILBACK, SAME APPROACH

The Cowboys will feature a new, albeit familiar face at tailback in Jeremy Smith.

Having played understudy to Joseph Randle the past two seasons, Smith gives the position a slightly different look.

And yet, OSU offensive lineman Parker Graham said he expects more of the same in terms of production.

“I don't think it's any different,” Graham said. “Jeremy's a good back, he's been playing here the past couple of years and proving that. He's gotten dinged up every now and again, but he's kept coming back and he's kept getting stronger.

“He's a guy who will run over you, will run around you …”

And Graham said there's much to like about Smith off the field.

“He's kind of a quiet guy, but Jeremy's one of the funniest guys on the team,” Graham said. “He laughs at everything. You can get him to smile at just about anything, and he's got one of those $100 million smiles.

“And he's one of the nicest guys on the team. If I had a little sister, I would want her to date a guy like Jeremy. He definitely brings character to this football team.”

BY JOHN HELSLEY AND BERRY TRAMEL

by Berry Tramel
Columnist
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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by John Helsley
OSU Reporter Sr.
John Helsley grew up in Del City, reading all the newspapers and sports magazines he could get his hands on. And Saturday afternoons, when the Major League Game of the Week was on, he'd keep a scorecard for the game. So the sports appeal was was...
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