The Dispatch

August 27, 2017

FOOTBALL
2017
Collegiate
PREVIEW

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2 SUNDAY, AUGUST 27, 2017 The Dispatch • www.cdispatch.com COLLEGE FOOTBALL PREVIEW

COLLEGE INSIDE
FOOTBALL Team Page
PREVIEW MSU ...............................................................3-6
2017 Ole Miss .........................................................7-8
Alabama .......................................................9-10
A publication of
The Dispatch Itawamba C.C. .................................................11
East Mississippi C.C. ................................12, 15
P.O. Box 511
Columbus, MS 39703 SEC / National.......................................13-14, 16
(662) 328-2424
Publisher
Birney Imes ABOUT
Managing Editor THE COVER
Zack Plair
The photo by Stan Beall
Sports shows Mississippi State
Adam Minichino
Scott Walters senior wide receiver Fred Ross
Brett Hudson holding the Egg Bowl trophy
Cover Design
after MSU defeated Ole Miss
Tina Perry 55-20 at Vaught-Hemingway
Stadium in Oxford. The game
Photographers featured the largest crowd in the
Stan Beall
Chris McDill history of the rivalry (66,038).
Luisa Porter MSU outscored Ole Miss 28-0
Deanna Robinson
in the second half in the 113th
Graphic Artists all-time meeting between the
Kelly Ervin teams. MSU’s 55 points were
Jackie Taylor
the most scored in the series
Production since it scored 65 in 1915.
Tina Perry
Anne Murphy
COLLEGE FOOTBALL PREVIEW The Dispatch • www.cdispatch.com SUNDAY, AUGUST 27, 2017 3

MISSISSIPPI STATE BULLDOGS
Athletic Website: www.hailstate.com; Twitter: @HailStateFB; Facebook: www.facebook.com/HailStateFootball; Instagram: www.instagram.com/HailStateFB

COACHING STAFF
Head Coach
Dan Mullen
n Brian Baker — Assistant
Coach
n Terrell Buckley —
Assistant Coach
n Brett Elliott — Assistant
Coach
n Ron English — Assistant
Coach
n Billy Gonzales —
Assistant Coach
n Todd Grantham —
Assistant Coach 2017 Schedule
n John Hevesy — Assistant Sept. 2 CHARLESTON
SOUTHERN
Coach
Sept. 9 At Louisiana Tech
n Greg Knox — Assistant Sept. 16 LSU
Coach Sept. 23 At Georgia
n D.J. Looney — Assistant Sept. 30 At Auburn
Coach Oct. 14 BYU
n Bret Beachner — Oct. 21 KENTUCKY
Offensive Quality Control Oct. 28 Texas A&M
Nov. 4 UMASS
n Chris Boniol — Special
Nov. 11 ALABAMA
Teams Quality Control Nov. 18 At Arkansas
n Karibi Dede — Defensive Nov. 23 OLE MISS
Quality Control HOME GAMES IN CAPS
n John Haneline —
Defensive Quality Control Chris McDill/Special to The Dispatch
n Patrick Austin — The Southeastern Conference coaches and media voted junior quarterback Nick Fitzgerald a preseason
second-team All-SEC pick with senior offensive lineman Martinas Rankin.
Recruiting Specialist

FITZGERALD EAGER TO BUILD ON 2016
n Lee Begley — Coordinator
of Football Recruiting
n Jon Clark — Assistant 2016 Results
AD/Football Operations Sept. 3 L, 20-21
BY BRET T HUDSON SOUTH ALABAMA
n Rod Gibson — Recruiting
bhudson@cdispatch.com Sept. 10 W, 27-14
Specialist SOUTH CAROLINA
n Andrea Hollis — STARKVILLE — Sept. 17 L, 20-23
Recruiting Specialist Three years ago, Nick At LSU
n Brad Peterson — Director Fitzgerald was a pet proj- Sept. 24 W, 47-35
of High School Relations ect for Brett Elliott. At Massachusetts
and Recruiting At the time, Elliott was Oct. 8 L, 14-38
AUBURN
n Drew Raucina — an offensive
Oct. 14 L, 21-28
Recruiting Specialist quality con-
At BYU
n Nick Savage – Head trol assis- Oct. 22 L, 38-40
Strength Coach tant for the At Kentucky
n Niel Stopczynski — Mississippi Oct. 29 W, 56-41
Assistant Recruiting State foot- SAMFORD
Coordinator ball pro- Nov. 5 W, 35-28
gram. He TEXAS A&M
Fitzgerald spent most Nov. 12 L, 3-51
of his time At Alabama
with the backup quarter- Nov. 19 L, 42-58
backs while quarterbacks ARKANSAS
coach Brian Johnson Nov. 26 W, 55-20
prepped the starters for At Ole Miss
Stan Beall/Dispatch File Photo Dec. 26 W, 17-16
games. Nick Fitzgerald rushed for 258 yards and two touchdowns and threw for three more Vs. Miami
Elliott is back in town in the Mississippi State football team’s 55-20 victory against Ole Miss last season HOME GAMES IN CAPS
as the quarterbacks coach in Oxford.
just in time to coach Fitz-
gerald again. Elliott will challenge Fitzgerald has Southern at 3 p.m. Sat- have great running backs, 2016 STATISTICS
try to help Fitzgerald im- embraced. urday, Sept. 2, in the and they’re going to take MSU OPP
prove on a sophomore sea- “I have to become season opener for both a huge load off me, and SCORING
Points Per Game
395
30.4
413
31.8
son that saw him throw for a better passer and be teams. “We’re still going hopefully help me become Points Off Turnovers 45 24
FIRST DOWNS 287 298
2,423 yards, rush for 1,375, more consistent,” said to stay true to the run an improved passer.” Rushing 142 110
and score 37 touchdowns. Fitzgerald, who will lead game and making plays While Fitzgerald put Passing
Penalty
124
21
172
16
It won’t be easy, but it’s a MSU against Charleston with my feet, though. I See FITZGERALD, 6B RUSHING YARDAGE 2997 2308
Yards gained rushing 3234 2592
Yards lost rushing 237 284
RADIO AFFILIATES Rushing Attempts
Average Per Rush
532
5.6
485
4.8
Average Per Game 230.5 177.5
City Station Frequency TDs Rushing 24 17
PASSING YARDAGE 2726 3660
Aberdeen WWZQ* 1240 AM Comp-Att-Int 230-411-10 291-472-14
Amory WAMY* 1580 AM Average Per Pass 6.6 7.8
Batesville WBLE* 100.5 FM Average Per Catch 11.9 12.6
Average Per Game 209.7 281.5
Clarksdale WROX* 1450 AM TDs Passing 24 33
Clarksdale WROX* 96.1 FM TOTAL OFFENSE 5723 5968
Columbia WCJU* 104.9 FM Total Plays 943 957
Average Per Play 6.1 6.2
Conway, Ark. KASR-FM* 92.7 Average Per Game 440.2 459.1
Corinth WKCU* 1350 AM KICK RETURNS: #-Yards 42-868 42-843

Hank’s
French Camp WFCA* 107.9 FM PUNT RETURNS: #-Yards 19-76 9-133
INT RETURNS: #-Yards 14-300 10-81
Greenville WDMS# 100.7 FM KICK RETURN AVERAGE 20.7 20.1
Greenwood/Indianola WTCD* 96.9 FM PUNT RETURN AVERAGE 4.0 14.8
INT RETURN AVERAGE 21.4 8.1
Grenada WOHT* 92.3 FM FUMBLES-LOST 18-6 16-9
Hattiesburg WMXI* 98.1 FM PENALTIES-Yards 68-617 68-561
Jackson WRKS* 105.9 FM Average Per Game 47.5 43.2
PUNTS-Yards 63-2453 58-2539
Lucedale WRBE* 106.9 FM Average Per Punt 38.9 43.8
Meridian WMOX* 1010 AM Net punt average 35.6 41.8
Monticello WRQO* 102.1 FM KICKOFFS-Yards 72-4404 75-4571
Average Per Kick 61.2 60.9
Natchez WWUU* 103.9 FM Net kick average 41.1 39.0
Philadelphia WWSL* 102.3 FM TIME OF POSSESSION/Game 28:51 31:09
Starkville/West Point WKBB* 100.9 FM 3RD-DOWN Conversions 78/192 78/190
3rd-Down Pct 41% 41%
Tupelo WXWX* 96.3 FM 4TH-DOWN Conversions 14/28 19/28
Tylertown WTYL 97.7 FM 4th-Down Pct 50% 68%
SACKS BY-Yards 25-158 18-117
Vicksburg WVBG* 105.5 FM MISC YARDS -20 0
Winona WONA* 95.1 FM TOUCHDOWNS SCORED 52 53
Yazoo City WBYP*/WELZ* 107.1 FM/1460 AM FIELD GOALS-ATTEMPTS 11-19 15-23
ON-SIDE KICKS 1-2 0-2
RED-ZONE SCORES (41-53) 77% ( 46-57) 81%
* — Station will carry Mississippi State football coach Dan Mullen’s weekly call-in show, Stan Beall/Dispatch File Photo RED-ZONE TOUCHDOWNS (31-53) 58% (34-57) 60%
DawgTalk, held from 7-8 p.m. Thursdays from Aug. 31 to Nov. 21. The only exception Former West Point High School standout Aeris Williams had 25 carries for 191 yards PAT-ATTEMPTS (48-49) 98% ( 44-48) 92%
ATTENDANCE 349904 393441
will be Tuesday, Nov. 21. and two touchdowns in the Mississippi State football team’s 55-20 victory against Games/Avg Per Game 6/58317 6/65574
# — WGVM-FM/AM (97.3/1260 in Greenville will carry Mullen’s weekly radio show only. Ole Miss last season in Oxford. Neutral Site Games 1/15717

5809 Hwy. 45 N. Columbus, MS
662-327-4233
www.hankschampionshipbbq.com

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4 SUNDAY, AUGUST 27, 2017 The Dispatch • www.cdispatch.com COLLEGE FOOTBALL PREVIEW

MISSISSIPPI STATE BULLDOGS
Athletic Website: www.hailstate.com; Twitter: @HailStateFB; Facebook: www.facebook.com/HailStateFootball; Instagram: www.instagram.com/HailStateFB

BAKER WILL HOLD BULLDOGS’ ‘D’ LINE TO HIGHER STANDARD
BY BRETT HUDSON
bhudson@cdispatch.com

STARKVILLE — A
new era for the Mississippi
State defensive line was due
based on personnel alone.
Six seniors on last year’s
unit, four of them among
the team’s top 18 tacklers,
on top of a crop of junior col-
lege additions were bound
to inject the position group
with new blood.
The Bulldogs also will
benefit from a reinvigorated
position coach.
In Brian Baker’s first
year as
MSU’s de-
fensive line
coach, the
Bulldogs
finished
fifth in the
S out he a s t -
Baker ern Con-
ference in
tackles for
a loss (81)
and were at
the league
average in
sacks (25) Chris McDill/Special to The Dispatch
and rush- Former Starkville High School standout Willie Gay will compete for playing time at linebacker in his freshman season at Mississippi State.
Grantham ing defense
(17 7. 5 4 the Cleveland Browns, and been in the league and a “I think you see the real mediately: Montez Sweat, MSU could be on its way to
yards allowed per game) the Washington Redskins. great feel for the guys. I maturity and growing in Chauncey Rivers, Deion a new identity for its defen-
in 2016. Baker intends to Almost all of that time was think the group has a bet- guys like Jeffery Simmons, Pope, and Lee Autry. James sive line.
hold that unit to a higher spent as a defensive line ter feel for what we need Cory Thomas, really trying Jackson and Aaron Odom Baker believes the
standard in year two. coach with brief exceptions to do, and I have a better to step up and be leaders also joined the program out group will have the same
“Last year, because of four combined seasons feel for them. within the defensive line,” of high school. identity but will produce
there were so many seniors, as a linebackers coach, in- “Giving them a little bit Mullen said. “I’ve seen All of them fall under better results.
I don’t want to say I followed cluding his last two before more of what they need, just Braxton Hoyett make a Hoyett’s wing. “We always want to play
their lead, but I sort of let leaving the league after the in general. Understanding bunch of improvement. He “I’ve been working with hard and fast. That’s how
them lead the landscape,” 2014 season. that they are young kids realizes it’s time for him the young guys and the effective defensive line is
Baker said. “That was prob- Baker is confident the and not taking anything for to be a productive player. transfers throughout the played,” he said. “From that
ably a mistake. I went into it full adjustment to both col- granted in terms of what Grant Harris has got to summer,” he said. “It’s keep standpoint, I don’t think
with the pro mentality be- lege and the MSU modus they know. We learned a step up and become a pro- their heads on straight, there will be an identity
cause that’s what I had been operandi is complete. His little bit of what to do and ductive player. keeping them focused on change. The methodology
doing.” new coaching style has what not to do.” “With a Fletcher Adams the goal at hand. It’s go- of getting them to do that,
Baker referenced his 19- been on display in presea- Even as Baker takes and a Kobe Jones, there’s ing to be hard in practice from my standpoint, and
year tenure in the NFL that son camp. more of the reins in the great opportunity for them when it’s hot outside, but them holding themselves
included stints with the San “I know the direction position group, he remains to compete for playing time.” we have to keep everybody accountable to what the de-
Diego Chargers, the De- coach (Dan) Mullen and willing to let an “alpha dog” Joining all of those re- focused.” mands are, I think that’ll be
troit Lions, the Minnesota emerge as the dominant
coach (Todd) Grantham turners is the aforemen- In applying a more rigid the change.”
Vikings, the St. Louis Car-
want to go,” Baker said. presence for the group. tioned group of junior standard of performance, Follow Dispatch sports
dinals, the Carolina Pan-
“Our expectations are a Mullen is ready to see it, college additions with ex- and doing so in upheaval of writer Brett Hudson on
thers, the Dallas Cowboys,
little more realistic having too. pectations to contribute im- leadership and personnel, Twitter @Brett_Hudson

Chris McDill/Special to The Dispatch
Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen will look for improvement from a defense that
finished 12th in total defense and 14th in pass defense in the Southeastern
Conferrence in 2016.
COLLEGE FOOTBALL PREVIEW The Dispatch • www.cdispatch.com SUNDAY, AUGUST 27, 2017 5

MISSISSIPPI STATE BULLDOGS
Athletic Website: www.hailstate.com; Twitter: @HailStateFB; Facebook: www.facebook.com/HailStateFootball; Instagram: www.instagram.com/HailStateFB

MULLEN HOPES NEW PIECES HELP BULLDOGS GROW FROM 2016
BY BRET T HUDSON
bhudson@cdispatch.com

STARKVILLE —
Vanderbilt football coach
Derek Mason stood at the
podium at Southeastern
Conference Media Days
last month and used the
2014 Mississippi State
Bulldogs as his example.
Mason had a young
team, while MSU coach
Dan Mullen had a veter-
an team when they met in
2014. MSU outgained Van-
derbilt 502-228 in a 51-0
victory on Senior Night in
Starkville.
Mason’s point: Im-
provement comes with
experience. This season,
MSU will look for more
improvement than it has
experience.
Defensive position
coaches agree the Bull-
dogs have to set a higher
standard after that group
finished 12th in the SEC in
total defense in 2016. New
defensive coordinator
Todd Grantham will look
to a group of newcomers Kelly Price/Mississippi State Athletic Media Relations
to help bring about a new Dan Mullen begins his ninth season in Starkville after guiding the Mississippi State football program into unprecedented territory, including
mind-set. Many of those the fastest ascent from unranked to No. 1 in college football history and a school-record seven-straight bowl games. This season, he and the
newcomers bring height- Bulldogs face plenty of questions.
ened expectations due to
their junior college experi- welcomes Montez Sweat Southern, a triple option That doesn’t bother
ence. Grantham has seen (who also could see time “Mississippi State has always been team, Louisiana Tech, the team’s unquestioned
a similar mentality from
those seven players.
at outside linebacker),
Lee Autry, Deion Pope,
doubted as a program. We’ve always which consistently ranks
at the top of Conference
leader in the locker room.
“Mississippi State has
“They work hard and
have adapted to the things
and Chauncey Rivers.
If Grantham has his
played with a chip on our shoulder. It USA in offense, and LSU,
which is under the di-
always been doubted as
a program,” MSU junior
we have asked them to do,”
Grantham said. “I expect
way, all of them and more
will play.
always feels like we are picked last.” rection of new offensive
coordinator Matt Cana-
quarterback Nick Fitzger-
ald said. “We’ve always
those guys to be an import- “I think you have Mississippi State junior quarterback da. Road trips to Georgia played with a chip on our
ant part of what we do.” to play a lot of guys up Nick Fitzgerald and Auburn follow. Both shoulder. It always feels
Junior college trans- front,” Grantham said. teams have large num- like we are picked last. I
fers Johnathan Abram and “If you are going to win bers of returning starters think we’ve kind of em-
Jaquarius Landrews will a lot of ballgames, that the game to allow them to quiss Spencer. Grantham on offense. braced that, we’ve used
compete for playing time means you are leading in play at maximum effort at also said there are ways The uncertainty about that to motivate us.
in the secondary. Anoth- the fourth quarter. Gen- the end of the game.” to get all three on the field MSU’s defense could “It doesn’t matter what
er junior college safety, erally, if you are leading That’s why Grantham at the same time to give have played a role in it people outside these walls
Brian Cole, was expected in the fourth quarter they won’t be afraid to get breaks to most of the oth- being selected to finish think because we know
to be in the mix, but Mul- will throw the ball and it creative. He said earlier er front defenders. sixth in the SEC West by what we have is special.
len announced earlier this takes a lot of energy to in the preseason the top MSU’s defense will the working media at SEC We know what we can do.”
month Cole will have to rush the passer, so I think three players at outside have to learn as it goes Media Days. Most nation- Follow Dispatch sports
take an academic redshirt. it is real critical you keep linebacker are Sweat, against an early schedule al prognostications have writer Brett Hudson on
The defensive line guys fresh throughout Gerri Green, and Mar- that features Charleston MSU finishing 6-6 or 7-5. Twitter @Brett_Hudson
6 SUNDAY, AUGUST 27, 2017 The Dispatch • www.cdispatch.com COLLEGE FOOTBALL PREVIEW

MISSISSIPPI STATE BULLDOGS
Athletic Website: www.hailstate.com; Twitter: @HailStateFB; Facebook: www.facebook.com/HailStateFootball; Instagram: www.instagram.com/HailStateFB

Practice Snapshots
From upper left: Former Starkville High School
standout Gabe Myles, wide receiver Donald Gray (6),
former Columbus High standout Kylin Hill,
running backs Nick Gibson and former West Point High
standout Aeris Williams, and offensive lineman
Elgton Jenkins spent better part of the last two months
preparing for the 2017 season. This week, they and the
rest of the Mississippi State football team will focus on
Charleston Southern for its season opener at 3 p.m.
Saturday at Davis Wade Stadium in Starkville.

Chris McDill/Special to The Dispatch; Kelly Price/MSU Athletic Media Relations

Chris McDill/Special to The Dispatch
Nick Fitzgerald broke nine school records during his sophomore campaign in 2016.
He also set two Southeastern Conference records while leading the conference in
total offense at 3,798 yards.

Fitzgerald
Continued from Page 3
up some gaudy numbers, on the 2016 roster, has ing in this role of a return-
there are others he knows a throwing motion that ing starter in camp,” Mul-
can get better. Last sea- is “pretty natural, pretty len said. “I want to see how
son, Fitzgerald ranked smooth.” He said one of he takes the reins in each
ahead of only Trevor his goals is to help Fitz- stage. I think he’s improved
Knight in completion gerald better utilize his on it, but he’s also going
percentage in the South- arm strength. through a learning curve of
eastern Conference. He “His weight transfer, how to lead.”
also was among the SEC’s he uses a lot of his arm,” Said Fitzgerald, “I’m
worst in fourth-quarter Elliott said. “He’s got a not really a yeller. I prob-
quarterback rating and big arm, so he gets away ably won’t give a halftime
third-and-long comple- with it, but he’s always speech. But I do expect
tion percentage. had trouble and I think people to take care of
Elliott is focused on a lot of it is because he their business because
helping Fitzgerald prog- doesn’t use his legs. He I’m expected to take care
ress in the finer aspects doesn’t get his feet in the of mine. I think I just need
of quarterbacking in his ground. He doesn’t drive to be a little more vocal
second year as the team’s and transfer the weight.” with it and better at pat-
starter. While Elliott has made ting people on the back.”
“My assignment is to it clear there will be new Fitzgerald’s team-
make Nick a quarterback, quarterback standards for mates are confident he
and I love that,” Elliott said. Fitzgerald, MSU coach will be able to settle into
“He’s embraced wanting to Dan Mullen has his own the role of team leader.
be a quarterback, not just new standard for Fitzger- “He’s comfortable,
an athlete. That’s been the ald — unquestioned team man. He knows,” wide re-
whole project even since captain. ceiver Donald Gray said.
I was an analyst when we Mullen said that is a lot “I can’t explain it. Nick is
first got Nick.” of responsibility to give to just a man sitting on the
Elliott’s prior work a junior with one year of couch watching TV with
at MSU has helped him starting experience, but some chips. That’s how
understand Fitzgerald’s it’s one he deems neces- comfortable he is.”
mechanics. He feels Fitz- sary. He has seen Fitzger- Follow Dispatch sports
gerald, who was listed ald rise to it. writer Brett Hudson on
at 6-foot-5, 230 pounds “This is his first time be- Twitter @Brett_Hudson
COLLEGE FOOTBALL PREVIEW The Dispatch • www.cdispatch.com SUNDAY, AUGUST 27, 2017 7

OLE MISS REBELS
Athletic Website: ; Twitter: @OleMissFB; Facebook: www.facebook.com/olemisssports; Blog: www.olemisssports.com/blog

COACHING STAFF
Head Coach
Matt Luke
n Wesley McGriff —
Associate Head Coach/
Defensive Coordinator
n Phil Longo — Assistant
Coach/Offensive
Coordinator/Quarterbacks
n Jason Jones — Assistant
Coach/Co-Defensive
Coordinator/Secondary
n Jack Bicknell Jr. —
Assistant Coach/Offensive
Line
n Maurice Harris —
Assistant Coach/Recruiting
Coordinator/Tight Ends
2017 Schedule
Sept. 9 UT MARTIN
n Derrick Nix — Assistant Sept. 16 At California
Coach/Running Backs Sept. 30 At Alabama
n Jacob Peeler — Assistant Oct. 7 At Auburn
Coach/Wide Receivers Oct. 14 VANDERBILT
n Bradley Dale Peveto —
Oct. 21 LSU
Assistant Coach/Lineback-
Oct. 28 ARKANSAS
ers and Special Teams
Nov. 4 At Kentucky
n Freddie Roach —
Nov. 11 LOUISIANA
Assistant Coach/Defensive
Line Nov. 18 TEXAS A&M
n Zach Brown — Graduate Nov. 23 At MSU
Assistant, Defense HOME GAMES IN CAPS
n E.J. Epperson —
Graduate Assistant, Defense
n Emmanuel McCray — Stan Beall/Dispatch File Photo
Graduate Assistant, Offense Shea Patterson took over at quarterback in the final three games of the 2016 season and finished with 880
n Josh Robinson — yards and six touchdowns. He rushed for 169 yards on 41 carries.
Graduate Assistant, Offense
Football Support Staff
n Paul Jackson — Head
Football Strength
Conditioning Coach
n John Miller — Associate
OLE MISS, PATTERSON LOOK TO ‘O’ LINE
BY BRET T HUDSON position on this team ers because of their ability on the
2016 Results
Sept. 5 L, 34-45
Vs. Florida State
Sept. 10 W, 38-13
A.D. for Football Operations bhudson@cdispatch.com that can handle this, field and off the field.” WOFFORD
n Ben Aigamaua — Sept. 17 L, 43-48
it’s you guys,” said With several receivers to replace
Assistant A.D. for OXFORD — Matt Luke was ALABAMA
Luke, who replaced and questions remaining about the Sept. 24 W, 45-14
Community Relations looking for a stabilizing force in the Hugh Freeze on July running game, Ole Miss’ offensive GEORGIA
n Tom Luke — Assistant
locker room when he took over the 20. “I challenged line could provide more than a Oct. 1 W, 48-28
A.D. for Player Development
n Chris Rippon — Assistant Ole Miss football program as its in- those guys to extend calming presence. It could be the MEMPHIS
A.D. for Recruiting Operations terim head coach. their leadership from Patterson engine of the offense. Quarterback Oct. 15 L, 30-34
n Lee Wilbanks — Assistant The former offensive line coach outside of that room Shea Patterson knows his team- At Arkansas
A.D. for Player Personnel turned to the players he knows best. to the entire team. mates who make up the offensive Oct. 22 L, 21-38
n Chris Buttgen — “I told the guys if there’s one They do have the ability to be lead- See OFFENSE, 8 At LSU
Coordinator of Football Oct. 29 L, 29-40
Media AUBURN
n Ken Crain — Head Nov. 5 W, 37-27
Equipment Manger GEORGIA
n Pat Jernigan — Head SOUTHERN
Athletic Trainer Nov. 12 W, 29-28
n David Corrao — Senior At Texas A&M
Player Personnel Analyst Nov. 19 L, 17-38
n Bruce Johnson — Senior At Vanderbilt
Player Personnel Analyst Nov. 26 L, 20-55
n Sean Patterson — Senior MSU
Player Personnel Analyst HOME GAMES IN CAPS
n Ishmael Aristide — Player
Personnel Analyst
n Brennon Chapman — 2016 STATISTICS
Player Personnel Analyst
UM OPP
n John Kyle Davis — Player SCORING 391 408
Personnel Analyst Points Per Game 32.6 34.0
Points Off Turnovers 53 72
n Autumn Clark — FIRST DOWNS 298 270
Coordinator of Recruiting Rushing 99 137
Passing 177 116
Operations Penalty 22 17
n Kyra Kendrick — RUSHING YARDAGE 1793 2956
Yards gained rushing 2012 3253
Coordinator of Recruiting Yards lost rushing 219 297
Operations Rushing Attempts 422 546
Average Per Rush 4.2 5.4
Average Per Game 149.4 246.3
RADIO AFFILIATES TDs Rushing
PASSING YARDAGE
17
3779
31
2579
Comp-Att-Int 289-483-14 206-350-8
City Station Frequency Average Per Pass 7.8 7.4
Amory* WAMY 1580 AM Average Per Catch 13.1 12.5
Brookhaven* WBKN 92.1 FM Average Per Game 314.9 214.9
Corinth* WXRZ 94.3 FM TDs Passing 27 15
Greenwood* WYMX 99.1 FM TOTAL OFFENSE 5572 5535
Total Plays 905 896
Hattiesburg* WFMM 97.3 FM Average Per Play 6.2 6.2
Hazlehurst* WDXO 92.9 FM Average Per Game 464.3 461.2
Jackson* WFMN 97.3 FM KICK RETURNS: #-Yards 37-839 45-921
Laurel* WLAU 99.3 FM USA TODAY Sports PUNT RETURNS: #-Yards 10-60 15-177

Hank’s
Lexington, Tenn.*WZLT 99.3 FM INT RETURNS: #-Yards 8-150 14-132
Ole Miss defensive lineman Breeland Speaks talks to the media last month at Southeastern Conference Media KICK RETURN AVERAGE 22.7 20.5
Louisville* WLSM 107.1 FM
McComb* WMPK 93.5 FM Days in Hoover, Alabama. Speaks had 28 tackles, one sack, and eight quarterback hurries last season. PUNT RETURN AVERAGE 6.0 11.8
INT RETURN AVERAGE 18.8 9.4

REBELS LOOK TO FRONT TO LEAD DEFENSE
Memphis, Tenn.*WHBQ 560 AM FUMBLES-LOST 13-5 22-8
Meridian* WZKR 103.3 FM PENALTIES-Yards 59-520 82-691
Natchez* WKSO 97.3 FM Average Per Game 43.3 57.6
PUNTS-Yards 54-2323 57-2401
Ocean Springs* WOSM 103.1 FM Average Per Punt 43.0 42.1
Oxford* WQLJ 105.1 FM Net punt average 38.3 40.4
Philadelphia* WHOC 1490 AM KICKOFFS-Yards 79-4982 81-5132
Prentiss* WJDR 98.3 FM BY BRET T HUDSON too. The Rebels are “I think we’ve got to be the foun- Average Per Kick 63.1 63.4
Tupelo* WWMR 102.9 FM bhudson@cdispatch.com
Net kick average 41.3 40.3
Vicksburg* WVBG 1420 AM experimenting with dation of this team, the offensive TIME OF POSSESSION/Game 25:56 34:04
3RD-DOWN Conversions 68/169 75/180
Water Valley * WOSF 105.5 FM cornerbacks in an at- line and the defensive line,” Ole 3rd-Down Pct 40% 42%
Waynesboro* WABO 990 AM OXFORD — Seven players start- tempt to deal with the Miss defensive line coach Freddie 4TH-DOWN Conversions 6/16 9/14
Yazoo City* WBYP 107.1 FM
ed at linebacker last season for the departures at safety. Roach said. “If we can establish that
4th-Down Pct
SACKS BY-Yards
38%
20-140
64%
26-153
* Carries RebTalk live at 7-8 p.m. Mondays Ole Miss football team. As a result, the and continue to get better, we’re go- MISC YARDS
TOUCHDOWNS SCORED 47
0
50
0

Terry Caldwell and Rommel Ma- defensive line will ing to have a chance. FIELD GOALS-ATTEMPTS 22-23 20-23
NOTE: “The Season: Ole Miss Football” will ON-SIDE KICKS 1-1 1-2
appear on the following television stations: geo, who played in seven and 11 be asked to provide a Haynes “Those guys know they have RED-ZONE SCORES (48-57) 84% ( 45-48) 94%
Fox Sports South (4:30 p.m. Friday), Cox games, respectively, have exhaust- stabilizing presence a lot of guys returning and a lot RED-ZONE TOUCHDOWNS (31-57) 54% ( 35-48) 73%
Cable (6 p.m. Tuesday), WCBI-Columbus PAT-ATTEMPTS (41-43) 95% (48-49) 98%
(10 p.m. Thursday), WMDN-Meridian and ed their eligibility. while the rest of the defense figures of good players. It’s one of those ATTENDANCE 454368 308161

See DEFENSE, 8
Games/Avg Per Game 7/64910 4/77040
Hattiesburg (6 p.m. Thursday). The secondary has its issues, things out. Neutral Site Games 1/63042

Clear-bag policy in effect for season
From Special Reports PVC and do not exceed 12 inches x 6 inch-
es x 12 inches;
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — In the interest n One-gallon clear plastic freezer bags
of enhancing existing security measures at (Ziploc bag or similar); and
games involving Southeastern Conference n Small clutch bags, with or without a
schools, the SEC will implement a new se- handle or strap, that do not exceed 4.5” x
curity policy regulating the size and type 6.5” (approximately the size of a hand).
of bag that may be carried into all stadiums n An exception will be made for medi-
in which SEC schools host games, begin-
cally necessary items after proper inspec-
ning with the 2017 football season, it was
tion at a gate designated for this purpose.
announced Wednesday.
An approved logo no larger than 4.5” x
5809 Hwy. 45 N. Columbus, MS
Although the new conference-wide bag 662-327-4233
3.4” may be displayed on one side of a per-
policy will be in effect beginning with the
missible clear bag.
2017 football season, a number of SEC in-
stitutions implemented the policy during Prohibited bags include, but are not www.hankschampionshipbbq.com
the 2016 football season. The policy was limited to: purses larger than a clutch bag;
approved by a unanimous vote of the briefcases; backpacks, cinch bags, and fan-
league’s athletics directors. ny packs that are not clear and/or exceed
“SEC football stadiums are among the the size restriction; luggage of any kind;
largest venues in the world of sports, so computer bags/cases; camera bags/cas-
safety and security are issues that must al- es; binocular bags/cases or any bag larger
ways remain a priority for our events,” SEC than the permissible size.
Commissioner Greg Sankey said. “We be- Fans will be able to carry items allowed
lieve this policy is an important enhance- into the stadium in a permissible clear bag,
ment to the security measures already put such as binoculars and cameras.
in place by our institutions.” This policy pertains to bags and is not
Fans are encouraged not to bring any an all-inclusive list of items that are pro-
types of bags inside SEC stadiums during hibited from being taken into the stadium.
football games; however, the following out- Therefore, fans should be aware of institu-
lines bags that are permitted:
n Bags that are clear plastic, vinyl or
tional policies regarding prohibited items
that may not be brought into that stadium.
© The Dispatch AWARD WINNING BBQ!
8 SUNDAY, AUGUST 27, 2017 The Dispatch • www.cdispatch.com COLLEGE FOOTBALL PREVIEW

OLE MISS REBELS
Athletic Website: www.olemisssports.com; Twitter: @OleMissFB; Facebook: www.facebook.com/olemisssports; Blog: www.olemisssports.com/blog

Stan Beall/Dispatch File Photo
Former Starkville High School standout A.J. Brown had 29 catches for 412 yards and two touchdowns as a freshman at Ole Miss last season.

LUKE: REBELS NEED TO BE MENTALLY TOUGH, USE BLUE-COLLAR APPROACH
BY BRET T HUDSON Freeze made that would be highly em- dinator / linebackers coach Bradley Dale scheme the same, they will do so with new
bhudson@cdispatch.com barrassing for all of you and extremely Peveto led Northwestern State for four coordinators: Longo on offense and Fred
difficult to explain.” years, while new offensive coordinator McGriff on defense.
OXFORD — Although the South- In the news conference announcing Phil Longo was head coach for two years In a time of transition, Ole Miss’ offense
eastern Conference has seen a plenty of Freeze’s resignation, Ole Miss Vice Chan- at LaSalle, a Football Championship Subdi- returns quarterback Shea Patterson and a
coaching changes in recent years, not cellor of Athletics Ross Bjork said the vision (FCS) school. veteran offensive line.
many men have faced situations like the
January 2016 call, initially attributed as a Luke, who played center at Ole Miss Patterson, a 6-foot-2, 203-pound
one Matt Luke inherited
“misdial,” led the athletic department to from 1995-98 and is in his 10th season as sophomore from Shreveport, Louisiana,
Still, the former Ole Miss football
look into Freeze’s phone records. He said a coach at the school, hopes to have the took over for the last three games of the
player and longtime assistant coach
a “concerning pattern” was discovered “interim” tag removed from in front of his season after starting quarterback Chad
reached out for help.
that led to Freeze’s eventual resignation. name after the season. Kelly went down with a season-ending
“I spoke with (Missouri coach) Barry
Bjork said that had Freeze not resigned, Luke is in charge of a program with a anterior cruciate ligament injury. Patter-
Odom, but mainly I’ve re-
Ole Miss would have exercised the moral talented roster — especially on offense — son engineered a 23-point fourth-quar-
lied on (Duke coach and
former Ole Miss coach turpitude clause in his contract and fired but is in the midst of long-running NCAA ter comeback in his debut as the starter
David) Cutcliffe, (former him, and that no settlement or buyout was investigation that already has caused the in a 29-28 victory at No. 8 Texas A&M.
Tennessee coach Phillip) involved in his departure. school to impose a one-year bowl ban for He set school freshman quarterback
Fulmer, and (Colorado After being named interim head coach, this season. records with 338 passing yards and 402
coach Mike) MacIntyre, Luke has tried to bring stability to the pro- As for how a Luke-led team will carry total yards.
guys that are a part of gram. He is confident he can restore the itself, he said he doesn’t have any plans to Patterson, the sixth true freshman to
Luke my coaching tree that de- peace. work away from Freeze’s template. start at quarterback in school history (first
veloped who I am,” Luke “I just wanted them to know I’ve been “We have a chance to be the most men- to start three games), was 72-for-132 with
said. “Be yourself and it’ll be good. preparing for this job my entire career,” tally tough team in the country,” Luke said. 880 yards and six touchdowns. He also
That’s the advice I got from everybody.” Luke said when asked what he told the “I think we have to have a blue-collar men- rushed for 169 yards on 41 carries.
The Ole Miss football program was players after Freeze’s resignation. “I want- tality. We earn everything. Ninety-five per- Patterson has seen the players come to-
thrown into flux when former coach ed to make sure they knew what I felt. cent of everything we do will be the same.” gether for each other.
Hugh Freeze resigned July 20. “I’ve seen it done right. I’ve seen people Off the field, Luke set a standard for “It’s tough with all the outside sources,
USA Today first reported last month have success at every level. You take all the player conduct before entering presea- but we can’t be invaded by it,” Patterson
that a January 2016 call between Freeze experiences you’ve learned from and put son camp. Two defenders, cornerback said. “We have to grow up, and at the same
and a number tied to a female escort your stamp on it.” Ken Webster and linebacker Detric Bing- time, do our job. This affects people’s lives.
service was “raised as a potential issue” Luke acknowledged he has three as- Dukes, were arrested for shoplifting short- “I’ve never been around a group of guys
to Ole Miss by the lawyer of former Ole sistant coaches with experience as head ly before preseason camp and Luke sus- that’s worked as hard as we did this sum-
Miss coach Houston Nutt in his lawsuit coaches. New offensive line coach Jack pended them for the season opener against mer and this past spring.”
against the school. Bicknell Jr. — Luke’s successor at that po- South Alabama. Luke also suspended tight Wire reports were included in this
According to USA Today, Nutt’s at- sition — was Louisiana Tech’s head coach end Octavious Cooley indefinitely for a vio- story.
torney emailed Ole Miss’ general coun- from 1999-2006 before a seven-year stint lation of team rules. Follow Dispatch sports writer Brett
sel and mentioned a “phone call Coach in the NFL. Ole Miss special teams coor- Even if the Rebels keep most of their Hudson on Twitter @Brett_Hudson

Defense
Continued from Page 7
situations where you take it yards per game). Only Missou- defense. We don’t want to be in back end more time to adjust. practice. Luke suspended the
upon yourself, which causes ri (479.7) was worse. That unit survival mode. We want to be in “Knowledge equals confi- players for the season opener
you to work day in and day out.” will have a different set of tasks attack mode so they can go out, dence equals playing fast. That’s against South Alabama.
The headliner is Marquis under new defensive coordina- adjust and problem solve.” our goal: keep it simple, let the McGriff doesn’t plan on let-
Haynes, a preseason All-Amer- tor Wesley McGriff. In moving to a gap-eating kids go play hard,” Luke said. ting their absence impact the
ican and three-time team sack “We’re not going to run up defensive line, Ole Miss can “We have some ability, we have preparation.
leader, who is closing in on the field. We’re not going to cre- rest assured it has the interi- some guys coming back, and we “You have to look at it like
school records for career sacks ate vertical seams,” Roach said. or linemen to do it. Breeland have some young guys that have an injury. You have to coach for
and tackles for a loss. Haynes “We’re going to play blocks. Speaks and Benito Jones return played some football that will depth,” he said. “They’ll be in
had seven sacks and 11 tack- We’re going to be gap sound. after starting multiple games in be better because of that expe- the rotation, and we just have
les for a loss last season, which We’re not trying to blow up the 2016. rience. We want to play simple, to do a tremendous job of devel-
ranked in the top 20 in the field and create havoc.” While that defensive line sound, hard-nosed football.” oping them so that when they
Southeastern Conference. Don’t think, though, that the tries to set the tone early in the Ole Miss will be without line- returns to competition, they’re
Despite Haynes, Ole Miss Rebels won’t be aggressive on season, Ole Miss interim head backer Detric Bing-Dukes and ready.”
still finished last in the SEC in defense. As McGriff put it, “We’re coach Matt Luke hopes the new cornerback Ken Webster, who Follow Dispatch sports
rushing defense. The Rebels going to be simple, fast, and at- system installed by McGriff were arrested for shoplifting writer Brett Hudson on Twitter
were 13th in total defense (461.2 tacking. We’ll be a 4-3 attacking can give the new players on the prior to the start of preseason @Brett_Hudson

Offense
Continued from Page 7
line have that potential. Javon Patterson, Jordan took over following the seven years in the NFL “I see guys that can about football Bicknell
“They were always so Sims, and Sean Rawlings resignation of Freeze. with four teams. Bicknell play. I see guys that have can’t teach. He just has to
good, especially the last have starting experience. “When I made the de- also has 24 years experi- great size,” Bicknell said. learn the right words.
three games last year,” Patterson and Sims have cision to hire an offensive ence as a college coach, “I could screw some “Football is football.
Patterson said. “They it at multiple positions. line coach, I made the de- including an eight-year things up, I know that.
A drive block is a drive
made my job easy. They Luke is just as excited cision to be a head coach,” stint as head coach at The nice thing is I have
have everybody coming as Patterson, saying he is Luke said. “I’m going to Louisiana Tech. coach Luke I can talk to.” block. A pass set is a pass
back and they’re going to “fired up” about the line be on both sides of the The hiring of Bick- In a way, Bicknell is on set, so there’s a lot that
be that much better.” and its depth. He would field. I may not be able to nell was announced July even footing with his play- carries over,” he said,
The starting offensive know better than most. help it and may gravitate 28, days before Ole Miss ers despite his late arrival
“but there’s going to be
lines Ole Miss used at He spent the last five sea- more toward the offensive started preseason prac- in that they’re all learning
the end of the 2016 sea- sons as the Rebels’ co-of- linemen, but I’m going to tice. He said his first days new offensive coordinator some technique things I
son are intact, at times fensive coordinator and be on both sides of the were more consumed Phil Longo’s system. may say slightly wrong,
down to the position. Left its offensive line coach. ball and be encouraging.” with learning the system But Bicknell isn’t read- and we’re going to have to
tackle Greg Little and Luke, a four-year cen- Luke referenced his and players’ names as ing into the challenges of work through it.”
right tackle Alex Givens ter foe Ole Miss from hiring of Jack Bicknell opposed to their skills. It taking on a job this late
Follow Dispatch sports
return after starting the 1995-98, is in his 10th Jr. as the team’s offen- didn’t take him long to re- in the process. For a man
final five regular-season season as a member of sive line coach. Bicknell alize he has plenty of tal- who has coached as long writer Brett Hudson on
games. In the interior, the coaching staff. He comes to Oxford after ent at his position group. as he has, there is little Twitter @Brett_Hudson
COLLEGE FOOTBALL PREVIEW The Dispatch • www.cdispatch.com SUNDAY, AUGUST 27, 2017 9

ALABAMA CRIMSON TIDE
Athletic Website: www.rolltide.com; Twitter: http://twitter.com/UA_Athletics

2017 Schedule
Sept. 2 Vs. Florida State
Sept. 9 FRESNO STATE
Sept. 16 COLORADO STATE
Sept. 23 At Vanderbilt
Sept. 30 OLE MISS
Oct. 7 At Texas A&M
Oct. 14 ARKANSAS
Oct. 21 TENNESSEE
Nov. 4 LSU Alabama Athletic Media Relations Alabama Athletic Media Relations
Nov. 11 At MSU Jalen Hurts threw for 2,780 yards and 23 touchdowns and rushed Bo Scarbrough rushed for 812 yards and 11 touchdowns last season.
Nov. 18 MERCER for 954 yards and 13 touchdowns as a freshman last season. This He earned Offensive MVP honors for his performance in the College
Nov. 25 At Auburn season, he hopes to take Alabama one more step to a national title. Football Playoff Semifinal against Washington.
HOME GAMES IN CAPS

HURTS, DEPTH IN GROUND GAME WILL FUEL TIDE
Hurts will try to build on impressive freshman season Scarbrough, Damien Harris lead deep group in backfield
2016 Results BY EHSAN K ASSIM “He’s very mature,” Alabama BY JOHN ZENOR remain supportive of each oth-
Sept. 3 W, 52-6 Special to The Dispatch wide receiver Calvin Ridley The Associated Press er, even down to getting water
Vs. USC said. “Once you become the for a fellow back.
Sept. 10 W, 38-10 TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Not starting quarterback, you have TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Based on the end of the last
WESTERN many freshmen can walk into to take that role, and that is Damien Harris doesn’t believe season, Scarbrough appears
KENTUCKY one of the top college football exactly what he did. I think he Alabama’s tailbacks will be likely to start out as the fea-
Sept. 17 W, 48-43 programs and immediately lead bickering over carries, or lack tured back for the Crimson Tide
does a really good job.”
At Ole Miss the team to a perfect regular of them. this season but there’s plenty of
Sept. 24 W, 48-0 Still, questions remain about
season, as well as to the College See RBs, 10
KENT Hurts’ ability to throw the ball, Bo Scarbrough said they’ll
Football National Champion-
Oct. 1 W, 34-6 despite the fact he threw for
ship game.
KENTUCKY 2,780 yards and 23 touchdowns
Jalen Hurts did that for
Oct. 8 W, 49-30 (nine interceptions) last season.
Alabama in 2016.
At Arkansas Hurts also ran for 954 yards and
He came within
Oct. 15 W, 49-10
seconds of lead- 13 touchdowns.
At Tennessee
ing Alabama to Alabama brought in Brian
Oct. 22 W, 33-14 Daboll as offensive coordinator
TEXAS A&M back-to -back
championships, to help Hurts continue his pro-
Nov. 5 W, 10-0 gression.
At LSU but he fell short
when Clemson “I think he’s helped Jalen
Nov. 12 W, 51-3
Hurts quarterback De- mentally,” Saban said. “I think
MSU
Nov. 19 W, 31-3 shaun Watson he’s got a better understanding
CHATTANOOGA threw a game-winning touch- and confidence, especially in
Nov. 26 W, 30-12 down with six seconds remain- the passing game, of what he
AUBURN ing. needs to do and what’s expect-
Dec. 3 W, 54-16 After the 35-31 loss, Hurts ed of him. I see a lot of improve-
Vs. Florida told the media in the locker ment from that standpoint.”
Dec. 31 W, 24-7 room, “My sophomore season Daboll wasn’t able to work
Vs. Washington starts now.” with Hurts during the summer,
Jan. 9 L, 31-35 Hurts’ maturity and ability but he has gotten to know Hurts Alabama Athletic Media Relations
Vs. Clemson to take command of a program well since practice started in Alabama running back Damien Harris had 146 carries for a
HOME GAMES IN CAPS See HURTS, 10
have been noticed. team-leading 1,037 yards and two touchdowns last season.

INSIDE THE TIDE
n KEY GAMES: Florida State, Sep. 2, in n RUN DABOLL?: It became a popular
Atlanta; LSU, Nov. 4; at Auburn, Nov. 25. mantra on social media playing on the
n SEASON OPENER: Alabama new OC’s name for Tide fans who want
continues its recent tradition of opening to see more running from talented backs
with big neutral-site games, winning in such like Damien Harris (1,037 yards) and Bo
matchups the last five years by an average Scarbrough (812 yards, 11 touchdowns).
of 25 points. The Seminoles could be the They’re joined by Josh Jacobs (567 yards)
strongest first-game opponent during that and freshman Najee Harris, one of the
stretch. The game is set for the newly most heralded recruits of the Saban era
completed Mercedes-Benz Stadium. and a January enrollee.
n THE OC: New offensive coordinator n PREDICTION: Alabama figures to
Brian Daboll replaces Steve Sarkisian, or contend for a fourth straight playoff berth
Lane Kiffin, depending on how you look at whatever happens in the Florida State
it. He spent the past 17 seasons as an NFL game. After that, the Tide is likely to be
assistant with stints running the offenses in heavily favored over the next four games.
Miami and Cleveland. Don’t look for Road trips to SEC West foes Texas A&M
wholesale changes in Alabama’s offense and Auburn await later in the season while
but Saban has praised Daboll for his work Tennessee and LSU visit Tuscaloosa.
with Hurts’ passing among other things. — By The Associated Press

2016 STATISTICS COACHING STAFF
UA OPP Head Coach
SCORING 582 195 Nick Saban
Points Per Game 38.8 13.0
n Derrick Ansley — Defensive Backs
Points Off Turnovers 136 34
FIRST DOWNS 315 217 n Burton Burns — Associate Head Coach/Running Backs/
Rushing 181 71 Special Teams
Passing 122 125 n Brian Daboll — Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks
Penalty 12 21
RUSHING YARDAGE 3675 959
n Karl Dunbar — Defensive Line
Yards gained rushing 4044 1573 n Brent Key — Offensive Line
Yards lost rushing 369 614 n Michael Locksley — co-Offensive Coordinator/WRs
Rushing Attempts 639 476
n Tosh Lupoi — co-Defensive Coordinator and Outside LBs
Average Per Attempt 5.8 2.0
Avgerage Per Game 245.0 63.9 n Joe Pannunzio — Special Teams Coordinator/Tight Ends
TDs Rushing 33 5 n Jeremy Pruitt — Defensive Coordinator /Inside LBs
PASSING YARDAGE 3154 2968 n Scott Cochran — Head Strength and Conditioning Coach
Comp-Att-Int 265-417-9 273-507-16
Average Per Pass 7.6 5.9
n Ed Marynowitz — Associate Athletic Director for Football
Average Per Catch 11.9 10.9 n Bobby Williams — Special Assistant to the Head Coach
Average Per Game 210.3 197.9 n Jody Wright — Director, Player Personnel
TDs Passing 26 15
n Ellis Ponder — Director, Football Operations
TOTAL OFFENSE 6829 3927
Total Plays 1056 983
Average Per Play
Average Per Game
6.5
455.3
4.0
261.8
RADIO AFFILIATES
KICK RETURNS: #-Yards 28-547 57-1212
City Station Frequency Jackson, Miss. WJQS 1400
PUNT RETURNS: #-Yards 34-528 20-213
Anniston WHMA 95.5 Jasper WJLX 1240/101.5
INT RETURNS: #-Yards 16-398 9-96
Apalachicola, Fla. WFCT 105.5 Lewisburg, Tenn. WAXO 1220
KICK RETURN AVERAGE 19.5 21.3
Arab WAFN 92.7 Linden WINL 98.5
PUNT RETURN AVERAGE 15.5 10.6
Ashland WCKF 100.7 McComb, Miss. WHNY 1250
INT RETURN AVERAGE 24.9 10.7 Meridian, Miss. WALT 910/102.1
FUMBLES-LOST 26-10 26-13
Auburn WMXA 96.7
Birmingham WJOX 690/94.5 Mobile WZEW 92.1
PENALTIES-Yards 86-660 58-471 Monroeville WMFC 99.3
Average Per Game 44.0 31.4 Brewton WKNU 106.3
Montgomery, Prattville, Selma
PUNTS-Yards 65-3045 111-4755 Centre WEIS 990/100.5
WDXX 100.1, WXFX 95.1, WLWI 1440
Average Per Punt 46.8 42.8 Chattanooga, Tenn. WUUQ 97.3/99.3 Nashville, Tenn. WPRT 102.5
Net punt average 39.9 37.5 Clanton, Ala. WHPH 97.7 Opp WAMI 102.3
KICKOFFS-Yards 110-6930 49-2916 Columbia, Tenn. WMRB 910 Panama City, Fla. WBPC 95.1
Average Per Kick 63.0 59.5 Columbus, Ga. WIOL 1580/95.7 Pensacola, Fla. WBSR 1450
Net kick average 40.2 41.7 Corinth, Miss. WADI 95.3 Rome, Ga. WSRM 93.5
TIME OF POSSESSION/Game 30:56 29:04 Cullman WFMH 1340 Russellville WGOL 920
3RD-DOWN Conversions 91/208 73/238 Decatur WWTM 1400 Scottsboro WKEA 98.3, WWIC 1050
3rd-Down Pct 44% 31% Dothan WBBK 93.1 Spartanburg, S.C. WASC 1530
4TH-DOWN Conversions 10/17 4/22 Florence WYTK 93.9 Tallassee WTLS 1300/106.5
4th-Down Pct 59% 18% Fort Payne WFPA 1400 Tupelo, Miss. WZLQ 98.5
SACKS BY-Yards 54-433 24-143
Ft. Wltn. Beach, Fla. W TKE 98.1 Tuscaloosa WFFN 95.3, WDGM 99.1,
MISC YARDS 0 0
Gadsden WAAX 570 WTSK 790
TOUCHDOWNS SCORED 74 21
Georgiana WFXX 107.7 Vernon WJEC 106.5
FIELD GOALS-ATTEMPTS 22-29 16-21
Haleyville WWWH 92.7 West Point, Ga. WCJM 100.9
ON-SIDE KICKS 0-0 2-3
Huntsville WUMP 730, WVNN 770, 92.5 Winfield WKXM 1300/97.7
RED-ZONE SCORES (58-65) 89% (21-25) 84%
RED-ZONE TDS (40-65) 62% (12-25) 48%
Jackson, Ala. WHOD-FM 94.5
PAT-ATTEMPTS (72-73) 99% (19-19) 100%
ATTENDANCE 712747 346411
Games/Avg Per Game 7/101821 4/86603
Neutral Site Games 4/76625
10 SUNDAY, AUGUST 27, 2017 The Dispatch • www.cdispatch.com COLLEGE FOOTBALL PREVIEW

ALABAMA CRIMSON TIDE
Athletic Website: www.rolltide.com; Twitter: http://twitter.com/UA_Athletics

DUAL-THREAT HOLCOMBE CONFIDENT ABOUT TIDE’S TITLE HOPES
BY EHSAN K ASSIM ments I have had.” Mark Garner, Holcombe’s Holcombe still goes back to play again.
Special to The Dispatch While Danny Holcombe ar- baseball coach at Hillcrest Hillcrest High to watch games. “I wish I could be out there,
rived at Alabama a year too late High, said Keith’s commitment He talks to the players on the but that’s how the cards drew
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — for Bryant’s last national cham- to play at Alabama affected baseball and football teams. Gar- out,” he said. “But I am excited
Growing up in Tuscaloosa, Al- pionship in 1979, Keith backed his stock in the Major League ner isn’t shy about the role Hol- to have another opportunity.”
abama, Keith Holcombe always
up Reggie Ragland on the Ala- Baseball First-Year Player draft combe has played for Hillcrest. An outfielder, Keith hit .250
has had his sights on following
bama’s 2015 national champion- in 2014. “Keith’s a totally different with a .344 on-base percentage
the footsteps of his father, Dan-
ship team. “He was recruited by sever- animal when it comes to most in 13 games for the Crimson
ny, an offensive lineman for
As a sophomore in 2016, al colleges for baseball, but he of the kids that come through Tide. He had surgery after
Bear Bryant and the Alabama
Keith recorded 24 tackles, one was also drafted for baseball,” our program,” Garner said. “As the football A-Day game in the
football team from 1980-82.
tackle for a loss, and a pass Garner said. “He told the pro- far as a person goes, they don’t spring, but believes he’s back to
Following a standout career
at Hillcrest (Ala.) deflection. He will try to have fessional teams that wanted get much better. He’s a great 100 percent.
High School in a more prominent role at line- to draft him in higher rounds representative of your school “Rehab was great this sum-
which he earned backer this season as the Crim- that he was going to play foot- and program. When you talk mer. I am back full speed, ev-
status as a four- son Tide tries to replace Reu- ball. That made him drop down about him on your team or on erything back, limbered up. I
star recruit, Hol- ben Foster, Tim Williams, and in the draft a pretty good bit. the field, he’s one of those guys am ready to go for the season,”
combe chose to Ryan Anderson. All three went The Diamondbacks drafted his that you as a coach you don’t get he said.
play for Nick Sa- to the NFL. rights in the 37th round, but he many of those these days. You Holcombe enjoys playing
ban and Alabama “I am still working middle,” told them he was going to Ala- wish your program was made baseball and football, but he
Holcombe over Georgia Holcombe said. “Pretty much bama to play football. Football up of these boys.” knows the importance of sepa-
Tech, Mississippi all the linebackers know both is his passion, his love.” Holcombe embraces being a rating the seasons and working
State, North Carolina State, and positions. It’s pretty much the Garner still believes Hol- key figure at Hillcrest to do well in both.
Kentucky. same. It’s just the concept of combe could have a future in “I know where I am from, and I His focus remains squarely
“You can say it’s a dream our defense. We’re all just kind baseball if he decides to pursue it. am proud of it,” he said. “My par- on the football field and helping
come true,” Keith said. “I’ve al- of rotating, getting the feel of “He was a heck of a baseball ents still live down that way, so I Alabama reclaim the national
ways dreamed of coming over everything.” player,” Garner said. “He had go down there every chance I get title this season.
here and playing for the Uni- Holcombe originally com- all the tools scouts look for in a to. It’s always fun going back to “I am excited to go through
versity of Alabama. I’ve gone to mitted to Mississippi State, but baseball player. He has a great where you came from.” camp and get ready for the sea-
countless games at Bryant-Den- he switched to Alabama after potential future in baseball. I Keith sustained a shoulder son, see if we can get another
ny Stadium, and now being out receiving an offer he hoped to think Keith Holcombe can do injury playing baseball that cut national championship,” he
here is one of the coolest mo- get but never expected to. whatever he wants to do.” his season short, but he plans to said.

Attention to detail will help Alabama climb back to top of sport
BY EHSAN K ASSIM made. You have a job to “Granted we had a lot of Trevon Diggs, who
Special to The Dispatch do, you go do it. Our man-
“It’s just the mentality we have as a good players, but he got the played wide receiver last
TUSCALOOSA, Ala.
tra is ‘Do your job,’ and
everyone in the organiza-
team. The past is in the past and the good players to play well,
and I think that’s the key.
season, has been moved
to cornerback. He was
— Nick Saban has every-
one in the Alabama foot-
tion has to do their job.”
Daboll doesn’t believe
present is now.” I think that the fact that we
have all the coaches on de-
practicing with the first
team defense on Alabama
ball program dedicated to he will have to make a fense, the continuity on de- Fan day at the open prac-
paying attention to detail. Alabama sophomore quarterback Jalen Hurts
huge adjustment coming fense, the understanding, tice. Pruitt has liked what
That mentality was on
from the pro gram be- how we coach things, how he has seen from Diggs.
display at the Southeast- ably does this as well as “It’s just the mentality
cause Saban runs the pro- we do things, it’s probably “You’re really just
ern Conference Media anybody. For Brian to we have as a team,” Hurts
gram the right way. a benefit.” learning,” Pruitt said. “I
Days last month when
“The philosophy of have been in that system said. “The past is in the A result of having “a lot think Trevon’s got a good
Minkah Fitzpatrick
the organization and the and that organization for past and the present is now. of good players” is they skill set. The one thing
pinpointed players not
structure and the detail a long time, I think, is re- Now is our time to improve often leave for the NFL about him, he’s a team
wearing the right socks
that coach Saban pro- flected in his organization and start another chapter. when given the right op- player since he’s been
to team meetings as an
vides is very similar to and in his teaching pro- It’s a learning point for portunity. Alabama’s de- here. He said, ‘Hey, I’ll
example that showed Ala-
the system I came from,” gressions he has for the sure. You watch the film, fense lost seven players play wherever y’all need
bama was losing its focus
prior to facing Clemson he said. “Coaching fun- players.” but we’ve moved on.” to the NFL draft in the me to play, and we appre-
in the College Football damentals is coaching One of Daboll’s prima- The championship offseason. ciate him for that.’”
National Championship fundamentals, so whether ry responsibilities is soph- game will be used as mo- Pruitt isn’t worried Fitzpatrick will contin-
game. you’re coaching a 30-year- omore quarterback Jalen tivation this year. Wide about the turnover. ue to work at safety and
Attention to detail is old man or an 18-year-old Hurts. receiver Calvin Ridley has “We have a lot of guys cornerback. Diggs’ pro-
something Saban’s top as- young man, a 19-year-old “He’s an extremely posters of Clemson in his returning at all three lev- gression could push Fitz-
sistant coaches focus on. young man, you still got hard worker, dedicated to room he looks at every day. els: up front, outside line- patrick to safety.
Brian Daboll was brought to coach the fundamen- his craft as a young man “I felt like I didn’t do backer, inside linebacker, Alabama will open its
in to run the offense from tals and make sure they to try to play the position enough to help my team and secondary,” Pruitt season Sept. 2 against
the NFL. He has worked do it properly.” the best he can,” Daboll win, to put us in that po- said. “I hope we have an Florida State in Atlanta.
with Saban in the past and Saban worked with said. sition,” Ridley said. “I just opportunity for these guys It will be the second-con-
with Bill Belichick, the Belichick with the NFL’s Hurts started as a want to remember that to use their experience secutive season Alabama
coach of the Super Bowl Cleveland Browns from freshman last season and next time I get in that po- to create leadership with will open its season with a
champion New England 1991-94 and has respect won over the locker room. sition, I’ll give it my all.” these younger guys. I think strong out-of-conference
Patriots. for how he runs his teams. He threw for 2,780 yards Defensive coordinator we have some really good opponent.
“I’ve got a lot respect “We want to be well and 23 touchdowns (nine Jeremy Pruitt will enter young players that are go- “It helps the offseason
for both of them. (I) organized in our presen- interceptions). Hurts also his second season as the ing to compete for jobs. program, it helps spring
learned a great deal, prob- tations and how we teach ran for 954 yards and 13 defensive coordinator at Al- “It creates opportuni- practice, it helps summer
ably, from those two men the players,” he said “I touchdowns. abama. Saban has been im- ties for other guys. That’s conditioning because the
more than anybody in think conceptually that Hurts said Alabama’s pressed with Pruitt, calling why they came here, to players are really looking
this profession,” Daboll helps players understand last-second 35-31 loss to his work “fabulous.” have an opportunity to forward to playing in a
said. “Detailed, orga- and learn more efficient- Clemson in the national ti- “I think statistically, get on the field and com- game where they have a
nized, demanding, expect ly and effectively. Of all tle game stung, but he has we were better in a lot of pete and play. I think we tremendous amount of re-
you to do it the right way. the people I’ve ever been moved on and is focused categories than even the have good competition ev- spect for their opponent,”
There’s no excuses to be with, Bill Belichick prob- on this season. year before,” Saban said. erywhere.” Saban said.

RBs
Continued from Page 9
plenty of strong options to take depending on the hot hand or a second-team All-SEC pick de- abama’s final three games. four touchdowns as a freshman.
handoffs. young back’s progression. spite starting only a pair of Scarbrough earned offensive He started against Kentucky
“That whole, ‘I want the car- “Running back is a position games the past two seasons. MVP honors with a 180-yard and produced 100 yards on 16
ries’ mentality, that really doesn’t that you can’t have too many He and Damien Harris are both performance in the semifinal carries, getting more chances
exist among us,” said Harris, last of,” new offensive coordinator preaching unselfishness. game against Washington, in- early in the season than Scar-
year’s leading rusher. Brian Daboll said. “You can “We try to help the team any cluding a 68-yard touchdown brough.
Running backs coach Burton find creative ways to try to use way we can,” Scarbrough said. in the fourth quarter. He frac- n The 6-2, 227-pound Najee
Burns has deftly juggled NFL- them, and everyone will have a “Help each other any way we tured a bone in his lower right Harris was rated the No. 3 over-
bound tailback tandems and role if they earn that role.” can, even if it’s giving each oth- leg late in the third quarter of all prospect in the 247 Sports
even trios over his decade-long Harris, Scarbrough and er water, wiping each other’s the championship game composite rankings of the ma-
tenure in Tuscaloosa. It’s al- freshman Najee Harris — a sweat off. It really doesn’t mat- n The 5-11, 221-pound jor recruiting sites. His 7,948
ways worked out just fine in the Top-5 overall prospect — are all ter who’s in the game, long as Damien Harris gained 1,037 career yards is fourth-most in
end with six tailbacks getting former five-star recruits. Josh we win the game and we did our yards and averaged a team- California prep history.
drafted in the first three rounds Jacobs wasn’t as highly rated job personally.” best 7.1 per carry. He only ran “Everybody’s different, ev-
since 2011. out of high school but was suc- Here’s a snapshot look at the for two touchdowns but he had erybody has their own skills
The big exception to the tan- cessful when he got chances as Tide’s four top running backs, 100-yard games against South- that maybe somebody else isn’t
dem system came in 2015 when a freshman. not even counting quarterback ern California, Ole Miss, Ar- as good at,” Damien Harris
Derrick Henry carried most of B.J. Emmons, rated by two Jalen Hurts (954 rushing yards) kansas, and Texas A&M. The said. “But that’s what kind of
the workload en route to the recruiting services as the na- and freshman Brian Robinson: junior had just 31 carries in makes us unique is when you
Heisman Trophy. tion’s top running back in 2016, n The 6-foot-2, 235-pound the last four games with Scar- have so many different guys
This group could provide has already transferred to a ju- Scarbrough finished with a brough taking over. that have different things that
quite the juggling act for Burns, nior college. huge flourish, racking up 364 n Jacobs, who is 5-10, 212 they can bring to this offense.
and it may be a fluid situation Scarbrough is a preseason yards and six touchdowns in Al- pounds, ran for 567 yards and That’s what makes it scary.”

Hurts
Continued from Page 9
August. “We’ve watched improve on my craft, im- Hurts spent time at the “A lot of guys say he guy.” that talent in and execute
every piece of film he’s prove as a leader. I want to Manning Passing Acad- can’t throw, but that’s very Ridley is looking for- to get Alabama back to
had, whether it was good be the best leader I can be emy this summer, inter- untrue,” Bentley said. “He ward to catching passes the championship game.
or bad,” Daboll said. and lead my team.” acting with the Manning can really throw it. Maybe from Hurts. He thinks “We’re going to have
While there are plen- Daboll said Hurts is do- family and other top quar- he’s done a lot in the off- Hurts has progressed talent. That’s why we
ty of distractions, Hurts ing those things and isn’t terbacks from around the season to throw it better since his freshman season. recruit,” Hurts said. “It
is focused on this season listening to what others country. or something, I didn’t re- “He’s more confident. doesn’t matter what you
and getting Alabama back are saying about him. “I learned a lot of stuff, ally watch him last year, He’s relaxed,” Ridley said. do, it matters how you
to the title game. “You know we don’t re- got to meet a lot of peo- but I know at the Manning “That’s always good. … play. You have to execute
“Everyone is entitled ally talk too much about ple,” Hurts said. “Obvi- camp he was really throw- We look good. I love this what you’re doing to be
to their own opinions,” that,” Daboll said. “I just ously the Manning family ing it well and he was very offense. I love this team. successful.”
Hurts said. “People are know he’s a guy that loves is some great people.” knowledgeable. We have a little chip on Hurts felt Alabama
going to say what they the game. He loves learn- One of the players “I kind of thought may- our shoulders and we are would have defeated
want, but at the end of the ing about the game, and he spent time with was be a quarterback that all hungry.” Clemson if he had the
day, only people in this that’s all you can ask of South Carolina freshman played in the national While Alabama, the ball one more time in
complex and on this team these young players, that quarterback Jake Bentley. championship game, he preseason No. 1 team in the championship game.
really know what’s going they come in, commit At SEC Media Days last wouldn’t want to talk to The Associated Press However, he has put that
on. I am fine with that. to working hard, do the month, Bentley was quick me or anybody else, but poll, has the talent to get behind him and is looking
Every day is a day to get things that you ask them to praise Hurts for his tal- me and him talked for a back to the national title forward for another crack
better, and I just want to to do.” ent and humbleness. long time, and he’s a great game, Hurts wants to rein at a title.
COLLEGE FOOTBALL PREVIEW The Dispatch • www.cdispatch.com SUNDAY, AUGUST 27, 2017 11

ITAWAMBA COMMUNITY COLLEGE INDIANS
Athletic Website: www.letsgoicc.com; Twitter: @LetsGoICC; Instagram: @LetsGoICC; Vine: @LetsGoICC; Facebook: LetsGoICC; Radio: WAFM 95.7 FM. TV: Online at www.LetsGoICC.com

ICC HOPES TO MAKE NOISE IN NORTH DIVISION
BY SCOT T WALTERS
swalters@cdispatch.com

Over the last several
seasons, the balance of
COACHING STAFF power in the Mississippi
Head Coach Association of Commu-
Sean Cannon nity and Junior Colleges
n Tyrone Fox — Defensive (MACJC) has resided in
Backs the South Division.
n Ray Williams — This season, the mo-
Defensive Line
n Marcus Windham —
mentum has shifted.
Wide Receivers
Four North Division
teams are ranked in the
top 11 of the preseason Na-
tional Junior College Ath-
letic Association (NJCAA)
national rankings.
Itawamba Community
College will try to beat out
2017 Schedule those squads for a playoff
Aug. 31 At Gulf Coast CC berth and a possible state
Sept. 7 HINDS CC title. Sean Cannon begins
Sept. 14 NW MISS CC his fourth season as ICC
Sept. 21 At EMCC
coach Aug. 31 with a game
Sept. 28 PEARL RIVER CC
at Mississippi Gulf Coast
Oct. 5 NE MISS CC
Oct. 12 At Coahoma CC
C.C.
Oct. 28 HOLMES CC “It’s a talented class of
HOME GAMES IN CAPS freshman,” Cannon said. Lee Adams, Itawamba Community College Athletic Media Relations
“Our job has been to ac- Itawamba Community College quarterback Dan Ellington (13) scrambles during a win last season at Pearl River C.C.
climate them with class- Ellington threw for 765 yards and eight touchdowns in 2016.
es, practices, dorm life,
and all of that. It’s been a
challenge, but the group is
progressing each day. We
2016 Results are a little thinner in soph-
Sept. 1 W, 23-12 omore leadership than we
MISS GULF have been here recently.”
COAST CC ICC will look to a tal-
Sept. 8 W, 45-20 ented trio at quarterback.
At Hinds CC Olive Branch’s Dan Elling-
Sept. 15 L, 27-13 ton and Starkville’s Mon-
At NW Miss CC terio Montgomery return,
Sept. 22 L, 44-42
while Caledonia’s Spencer
EMCC
Unruh is a freshman.
Sept. 29 W, 51-34
At Pearl River CC
Ellington threw for 765
Oct. 6 L, 30-12 yards and eight touch-
At NE Miss CC downs in a relief role last
Oct. 13 W, 41-20 season.
COAHOMA CC The Indians return four
Oct. 22 W, 49-7 starters on the offensive
MISS DELTA CC line.
Oct. 29 L, 63-49 In the backfield, West
At Holmes CC Point sophomore Kadari-
HOME GAMES IN CAPS us Forside returns after a
knee injury ended his sea-
2016 STATISTICS son in the third game last
ICC Overall Conference year.
Scoring 325 206
Points per game 36.1 34.3 From a local stand-
Total offense 5069 3358
Yards per game 563.2 559.7 point, Zion Ford, a fresh-
Passing yards
Comp-Att-Int
3545 2449
271-413-5 189-295-4 man from Caledonia, also
Passing yards per game
Passing yards per attempt
393.9
8.6
408.2
8.3
will look to get some car- Lee Adams, Itawamba Community College Athletic Media Relations
Passing yards per completion 13.1
Passing touchdowns 29
13.0
22
ries. Itawamba Community College running back Kadarius Forside, of West Point, runs in a victory against Hinds C.C. last
Rushing yards 1524 909 “The experience on season. Forside returns after a knee injury ended his season in the third game.
Rushing attempts 285 161
Rushing yards per game 169.3 151.5 the offensive line is huge,”
Yards per rush 5.3 5.6
Rushing touchdowns 16 7 Cannon said. “We have face an opposite situation. time after a strong start to season after East Missis- 2), Northwest Mississippi
1st downs
Rushing 1st downs
75
21
44
10 some talented players up Seven starters return, in- camp at linebacker. sippi C.C.’s postseason C.C. (No. 6), Northeast
Passing 1st downs
Penalty 1st downs
49
5
30
4
front who can pave the cluding veteran lineback- “On defense, we need ban opened up a spot. Mississippi C.C. (No. 9),
1st downs per game 8.3 7.3 way for our running game. ers and cornerbacks, but to get some experience ICC swept the South and Holmes C.C. (No. 11)
3rd-down conversions 18-49 10-33
3rd down % 37% 30% We have some good speed there is limited experi- along the line, and that’s Division a year ago, by are in the top 11.
4th-down conversions 6-11 2-6
4th down % 55% 33% in the backfield.” ence on the defensive line. a concern,” Cannon said. beating Mississippi Gulf “It is what you come
Kick returns (No.-Yards)
Kick return average
41-792
19.3
33-661
20.0 Terry Williams, of Aberdeen’s Justin “Last season, we played Coast C.C., Pearl Riv- to expect in this league,”
Punt returns (No.-Yards)
Punt return average
11-45
4.1
7-26
3.7
Southaven, a 2016 NJCAA Drake is one of two re- well in the secondary er C.C., and Hinds C.C. Cannon said. “Each team
Field goals
Field goal %
5-12
41.7%
2-7
28.6%
All-American, leads the turning linemen. and we have a lot of those It also nearly recorded has players who can play.
PATs 40-43 26-27 wide receiving corps. Wil- The defensive backs guys back.” its first victory against The balance first through
PAT % 93.0% 96.3%
Punts (No.-Yards) 40-1436 30-1025 liams had 66 receptions return depth and experi- Caledonia freshman EMCC since 2012 before
last has been much better
Average per punt 35.9 34.2
for 910 yards and four ence. That group includes Caleb Comer will han- falling 44-42 in Fulton.
Red zone scores 2-4 2-4
in the last couple of sea-
Red zone % 50% 50% touchdowns a season ago. Hamilton natives Keshon dle place-kicking duties, Midseason injuries
Red zone touchdowns
Red zone touchdown %
2-4
50%
2-4
50% Experience across the and Quinshay Heard. The while freshman Hayden to the offense hurt dear- sons. Freshman players
Fumbles-lost
Fumbles recovered
10-7 9-6
13 8 receivers and tight ends linebackers include Amo- Franklin will handle punt- ly and cost the squad in have to grow up quickly.
Defensive INTs 6
Interception returns (No.-Yds) 6-66 4-66
4
will prove huge because ry’s Drake Wallace, Aber- ing duties. division losses to North- We like this team, but
Interception return average 11.0
Defensive TDs 0
16.5
0 the Indians returning less deen’s Tay Carothers, and ICC finished 5-4 last east Mississippi C.C. and they will have to grow up
Tackles
Sacks
618 432
34 20 than 200 yards of their Grenada’s Que Lott. season (2-4 in the MACJC Holmes C.C. fast.”
Penalties 30 18 ground game from a year Noxubee County fresh- North Division). Cannon’s This season, the chal- Follow Dispatch sports
Penalty yards 257 170
Time of possession per game 9:49 9:26 ago. man Kalmorris Robinson 2015 squad finished 6-4 lenge could be greater as writer Scott Walters on
Home Attendance 17239 12420
Home Attendance average 4310 4140 On defense, ICC will also is pushing for playing and advanced to the post- division foes EMCC (No. Twitter @dispatchscott

Southeastern Conference / Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges Schedules
Southeastern Conference WEEK THREE WEEK EIGHT Friday, Nov. 24 WEEK FIVE
(Times followed by television in parentheses) Saturday, Sept. 16 Saturday, Oct. 21 Missouri at Arkansas, 1:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 28
WEEK ONE UL Lafayette at Texas A&M, 11 a.m. Tennessee at Alabama Saturday, Nov. 25 NORTH — Northwest at Holmes, 6:30 p.m.
Thursday, Aug. 31 (SEC Network) Auburn at Arkansas Alabama at Auburn NORTH — EMCC at Mississippi Delta, 7 p.m.
Florida A&M at Arkansas (Little Rock), 7 p.m. Tennessee at Florida, 2:30 p.m. (WCBI) LSU at Ole Miss Florida State at Florida NORTH — Northeast at Coahoma, 7 p.m.
Saturday, Sept. 2 Mercer at Auburn, 3 p.m. (SEC Network) Kentucky at Mississippi State Georgia at Georgia Tech SOUTH — Copiah-Lincoln at East Central,
Missouri State at Missouri, 11 a.m. (SEC Network) Purdue at Missouri, 3 p.m. (SEC Network) Idaho at Missouri Louisville at Kentucky 6:30 p.m.
North Carolina State vs. South Carolina Colorado State at Alabama, 6 p.m. WEEK NINE Texas A&M at LSU SOUTH — Gulf Coast at Hinds, 6:30 p.m.
(At Charlotte), 2 p.m. (ESPN) LSU at Mississippi State, 6 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 28 Clemson at South Carolina SOUTH — Jones at Southwest, 7 p.m.
Michigan vs. Florida (At Arlington), 2:30 p.m. Samford at Georgia, 6:30 p.m. (SEC Network) Tennessee at Kentucky Vanderbilt at Tennessee Pearl River at Itawamba, 7 p.m.
(WKDH-WTVA) Kentucky at South Carolina, 6:30 p.m. Arkansas at Ole Miss WEEK SIX
Charleston Southern at Mississippi State, 3 p.m. (SEC Network) Missouri at Connecticut Mississippi Association of Thursday, Oct. 5
Kansas State at Vanderbilt, 6:30 p.m. (ESPNU) Vanderbilt at South Carolina NORTH — Coahoma at Northwest, 6:30 p.m.
(SEC Network)
Ole Miss at California, 9:30 p.m. (ESPN) Community and Junior Colleges NORTH — Holmes at EMCC, 7 p.m.
Kentucky at Southern Mississippi, 3 p.m. Mississippi State at Texas A&M WEEK ONE
(CBS Sports Network) WEEK FOUR Georgia vs. Florida (At Jacksonville), 2:30 p.m. NORTH — Northeast at Itawamba, 7 p.m.
Saturday, Sept. 23 Thursday, Aug. 31 SOUTH — East Central at Jones, 7 p.m.
Appalachian State at Georgia, 5:15 p.m. (ESPN) WEEK 10 Northeast at Pearl River, 6 p.m.
Arkansas vs. Texas A&M (At Arlington) Saturday, Nov. 4 SOUTH — Hinds at Copiah-Lincoln, 7 p.m.
Georgia Southern at Auburn, 6:30 p.m. East Central at Holmes, 6:30 p.m.
Mississippi State at Georgia LSU at Alabama Mississippi Delta at Gulf Coast, 7 p.m.
(SEC Network) Hinds at Northwest, 6:30 p.m.
Florida at Kentucky Coastal Carolina at Arkansas Saturday, Oct. 7
South Alabama at Ole Miss, 6:30 p.m. (ESPNU) Coahoma at Southwest, 7 p.m.
Syracuse at LSU South Carolina at Georgia SOUTH – Pearl River at Southwest, 5 p.m.
Florida State at Alabama (At Atlanta), 7 p.m. Copiah-Lincoln at Mississippi Delta, 7 p.m.
Auburn at Missouri Ole Miss at Kentucky WEEK SEVEN
(WKDH-WTVA) Itawamba at Gulf Coast, 7 p.m.
Louisiana Tech at South Carolina Massachusetts at Mississippi State Thursday, Oct. 12
Vanderbilt at Middle Tennessee, 7 p.m. Jones at EMCC, 7 p.m.
Massachusetts at Tennessee NORTH — EMCC at Northwest, 6:30 p.m.
(CBS Sports Network) Florida at Missouri WEEK TWO
Alabama at Vanderbilt NORTH — Itawamba at Coahoma, 7 p.m.
BYU at LSU (At Houston), 8:30 p.m. (ESPN) Southern Mississippi at Tennessee Thursday, Sept. 7
WEEK FIVE NORTH — Mississippi Delta at Northeast, 7 p.m.
Sunday, Sept. 3 Auburn at Texas A&M Northwest at Pearl River, 6 p.m.
Saturday, Sept. 30 SOUTH — East Central at Hinds, 7 p.m.
Texas A&M at UCLA, 6:30 p.m. (WLOV) Western Kentucky at Vanderbilt East Central at Northeast, 6:30 p.m.
Ole Miss at Alabama SOUTH — Southwest at Gulf Coast, 7 p.m.
Monday, Sept. 4 WEEK 11 Copiah-Lincoln at Coahoma, 7 p.m.
New Mexico State at Arkansas Holmes at Copiah-Lincoln, 7 p.m.
Tennessee at Georgia Tech (At Atlanta), 7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 11 Gulf Coast at EMCC, 7 p.m.
Mississippi State at Auburn Saturday, Oct. 14
(ESPN) Vanderbilt at Florida Georgia at Auburn Hinds at Itawamba, 7 p.m. SOUTH — Jones at Pearl River, 1 p.m.
WEEK TWO Eastern Michigan at Kentucky Arkansas at LSU Holmes at Southwest, 7 p.m. WEEK EIGHT
Saturday, Sept. 9 Troy at LSU UL Lafayette at Ole Miss Mississippi Delta at Jones, 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 19
Eastern Kentucky at Kentucky, 11 a.m. Georgia at Tennessee Alabama at Mississippi State WEEK THREE SOUTH — Copiah-Lincoln at Southwest, 7 p.m.
(SEC Network) South Carolina at Texas A&M Tennessee at Missouri Thursday, Sept. 14 Northwest at East Central, 6:30 p.m.
Tennessee-Martin at Ole Miss, 11 a.m. WEEK SIX Florida at South Carolina NORTH — EMCC at Northeast, 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 21
(SEC Network) Saturday, Oct. 7 New Mexico at Texas A&M NORTH — Holmes at Mississippi Delta, 7 p.m. NORTH — Coahoma at EMCC, 2 p.m.
Fresno State at Alabama, 2:30 p.m. (ESPN2) Ole Miss at Auburn Kentucky at Vanderbilt NORTH — Northwest at Itawamba, 7 p.m. NORTH — Itawamba at Mississippi Delta,
Texas Christian at Arkansas, 2:30 p.m. (WCBI) Missouri at Kentucky WEEK 12 SOUTH — Pearl River at East Central, 6:30 p.m. 2:30 p.m.
Alabama A&M at Vanderbilt, 3 p.m. LSU at Florida Saturday, Nov. 18 SOUTH — Southwest at Hinds, 6:30 p.m. NORTH — Northeast at Holmes, 3 p.m.
(SEC Network) Arkansas at South Carolina Mercer at Alabama SOUTH — Gulf Coast at Copiah-Lincoln, 7 p.m. SOUTH — Gulf Coast at Pearl River, 2 p.m.
Indiana State at Tennessee, 3 p.m. Alabama at Texas A&M Mississippi State at Arkansas Jones at Coahoma, 7 p.m. SOUTH — Hinds at Jones, 2 p.m.
(SEC Network) Georgia at Vanderbilt UL Monroe at Auburn WEEK FOUR WEEK NINE
Auburn at Clemson, 6 p.m. (ESPN) WEEK SEVEN UAB at Florida Thursday, Sept. 21 Thursday, Oct. 26
South Carolina at Missouri, 6 p.m. (ESPN2) Saturday, Oct. 14 Kentucky at Georgia NORTH — Coahoma at Holmes, 6:30 p.m. NORTH — Northwest at Northeast, 6:30 p.m.
Nicholls State at Texas A&M, 6 p.m. (ESPNU) Arkansas at Alabama Texas A&M at Ole Miss NORTH — Mississippi Delta at Northwest, SOUTH — Southwest at East Central, 6:30 p.m.
Georgia at Notre Dame, 6:30 p.m. (WTVA) Texas A&M at Florida Wofford at South Carolina 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 28
Mississippi State at Louisiana Tech, 6:30 p.m. Missouri at Georgia LSU at Tennessee NORTH — Itawamba at EMCC, 7 p.m. NORTH — Mississippi Delta at Coahoma, 2:30 p.m.
(CBS Sports Network) Auburn at LSU Missouri at Vanderbilt SOUTH — Hinds at Pearl River, 6 p.m. NORTH — Holmes at Itawamba, 3:30 p.m.
Chattanooga at LSU, 6:30 p.m. (SEC Network) Vanderbilt at Ole Miss WEEK 13 SOUTH — Copiah-Lincoln at Jones, 7 p.m. SOUTH — Pearl River at Copiah-Lincoln, 3 p.m.
Northern Colorado at Florida, 6:30 p.m. BYU at Mississippi State Thursday, Nov. 23 SOUTH — East Central at Gulf Coast, 7 p.m. SOUTH — Jones at Gulf Coast, 3:30 p.m.
(SEC Network) South Carolina at Tennessee Ole Miss at Mississippi State, 6:30 p.m. Southwest at Northeast, 6:30 p.m. EMCC at Hinds, 2 p.m.
12 SUNDAY, AUGUST 27, 2017 The Dispatch • www.cdispatch.com COLLEGE FOOTBALL PREVIEW

EAST MISSISSIPPI COMMUNITY COLLEGE LIONS
Athletic Website: www.emccathletics.com; Radio: WFCA-FM 107.9; Twitter: @emccathletics; Instagram: @EMCCAthletics; You Tube: www.youtube.com/EMCCAthletics

COACHING STAFF
Head Coach
Buddy Stephens
n David Boykin —
Assistant Football Coach
n Cliff Collins —
Assistant Football Coach
n Davern Williams —
Assistant Football Coach
n Justin Sanders —
Assistant Football Coach
n Bo Wallace —
Assistant Football Coach
n Courtland Hays —
Assistant Football Coach

2016 STATISTICS 2017 Schedule
EMCC Overall Conference Aug. 31 JONES CO. JC
Scoring 531 327
Points per game 44.3 54.5 Sept. 7 MISS GULF
Total offense
Yards per game
5996
499.7
3433
572.2
COAST CC
Passing yards 3245 1871 Sept. 14 At NE Miss CC
Comp-Att-Int 259-424-7 141-222-4
Passing yards per game 270.4 311.8 Sept. 21 ITAWAMBA CC
Passing yards per attempt 7.7 8.4
Passing yards per completion 12.5 13.3 Sept. 28 At Miss Delta CC
Passing touchdowns
Rushing yards
32
2751
17
1562
Oct. 5 HOLMES CC
Rushing attempts 474 245 Oct. 12 At NW Miss CC
Rushing yards per game 229.3 260.3
Yards per rush 5.8 6.4 Oct. 21 COAHOMA CC
Rushing touchdowns 36 25 Oct. 28 At Hinds CC
1st downs 286 162
Rushing 1st downs 143 86 HOME GAMES IN CAPS
Passing 1st downs 132 74
Penalty 1st downs 11 2
1st downs per game 23.8 27.0
3rd-down conversions 84-173 44-80
3rd down % 49% 55%
4th-down conversions 18-26 11-14
4th down % 69% 79%
Kick returns (No.-Yards) 34-807 21-557
Kick return average 23.7 26.5
Punt returns (No.-Yards) 14-141 9-117
Punt return average 10.1 13.0 Dispatch File Photo
Field goals
Field goal %
9-12
75.0%
3-5
60.0%
The East Mississippi Community College football team celebrates a 27-17 victory against Kilgore College in the
PATs 64-69 42-44 Mississippi Bowl on Dec. 4, 2016, at Mississippi Gulf Coast C.C. in Perkinston.
PAT % 92.8% 95.5%
2016 Results
CONNER HOPES TO LEAD RETURN TO NO. 1
Punts (No.-Yards) 46-1724 16-605
Average per punt 37.5 37.8 Sept. 1 L, 27-25
Red zone scores 16-21 10-13
Red zone % 76% 77% At Jones Co. JC
Red zone touchdowns 14-21 9-13
Red zone touchdown % 67% 69% Sept. 8 W, 45-7
Fumbles-lost 12-11 6-5
Fumbles recovered 14 6 At Miss Gulf
Defensive INTs 12 2 BY SCOT T WALTERS sion to Lou- 4A State believes that. Everybody Coast CC
Interception returns (No.-Yds) 12-290 2-24
Interception return average 24.2 12.0 swalters@cdispatch.com isville. Con- champi- is pushing in the right di- Sept. 15 W, 54-10
Defensive TDs 3 2
Tackles 994 511 ner threw onships in rection. It has been a long NE MISS CC
Sacks 47 24 SCOOBA — East four inter- 2014 and couple of years around Sept. 22 W, 44-42
Penalties 31 23
Penalty yards 268 188 Mississippi Community ceptions in 2015. here. Now we can reach At Itawamba CC
Time of possession per game 8:33 9:12
Home Attendance 12903 7494 College the loss. Now, he our full potential and Sept. 29 W, 73-7
Home Attendance average 2151 2498
sophomore “He told is trying to the sky is the limit. We MISS DELTA CC
quarter- are ready to get back to Oct. 6 W, 63-49
me I was Conner lead sec-
“We have a back Timor- going to be
Scott Jr.
ond-ranked the business of winning
At Holmes CC
Oct. 15 W, 51-32
rius Conner championships.”
legitimate remembers
specia l,”
Conner said. “He told me
East Mis-
sissippi Community Col- Conner or LSU trans-
NW MISS CC
Oct. 20 W, 42-0
chance to win a pep talk
with his
to keep working hard and
to believe in myself. When
lege to a National Junior
College Athletic Associ-
fer Lindsey Scott Jr. are
expected to be at quarter-
At Coahoma CC
Oct. 27 W, 42-0
Stephens
the national f o r m e r
high school
you have a bad game and ation (NJCAA) national back when EMCC starts
See EMCC, 15
HINDS CC
you are down like that, championship. Nov. 5 W, 27-24
championship coach, Noxubee County’s you really need someone EMCC will opens the MISS. GULF
Tyrone Shorter. to believe in you and to lift season Aug. 31 against COAST CC
this year.” Conner was learning your spirits.” Jones County Junior Col-
INSIDE Nov. 12 W, 38-30
how to be a starter during n EMCC DEFENSE: Former Vs. NW Miss CC
Conner took that ad- lege in Scooba.
East Mississippi Starkville High School Dec. 4 W, 27-17
his sophomore season vice and led Noxubee “We have a legitimate teammates Maleke Bell and
Community College Vs. Kilgore
with the Tigers. A team County to the Mississippi chance to win the national Lorenzo Dantzler will be
sophomore quarterback College
young in most spots had High School Activities As- championship this year,” reunited in Scooba. HOME GAMES IN CAPS
Timorrius Conner just dropped a 28-6 deci- sociation (MHSAA) Class Conner said. “Everybody Page 15
COLLEGE FOOTBALL PREVIEW The Dispatch • www.cdispatch.com SUNDAY, AUGUST 27, 2017 13

The Associated Press Top 25
The weekly poll, with first-place votes in parentheses,
final records, total points based on 25 points for a
first-place vote through one point for a 25th-place vote,
SOUTHEASTERN CONFERENCE
Athletic Website: www.secdigitalnetwork.com; Twitter: @SEC; Facebook: www.facebook.com/TheSECDN; Instagram: @secsports
and previous ranking:
Rec. Pts Pv
1. Alabama (52) 14-1 1513 2
2. Ohio State (3) 11-2 1414 6
3. Florida State (4) 10-3 1396 8
4. Southern Cal (2) 10-3 1325 3
5. Clemson 14-1 1201 1
6. Penn State 11-3 1196 7
7. Oklahoma 11-2 1170 5
8. Washington 12-2 1150 4
9. Wisconsin 11-3 926 9
10. Oklahoma State 10-3 889 11
11. Michigan 10-3 881 10
12. Auburn 8-5 880 24
13. LSU 8-4 784 13
14. Stanford 10-3 695 12
15. Georgia 8-5 690 NR
16. Louisville 9-4 629 21
17. Florida 9-4 624 14
18. Miami 9-4 492 20
19. South Florida 11-2 327 19
20. Kansas State 9-4 317 NR
21. Virginia Tech 10-4 240 16
22. West Virginia 10-3 207 18
23. Texas 5-7 173 NR
24. Washington State 8-5 133 NR
25. Tennessee 9-4 114 22
Also Receiving Votes: TCU 98, Utah 85, Notre
Dame 65, Boise State 37, North Carolina State 26,
Northwestern 25, Pittsburgh 23, Oregon 21, Houston
19, Colorado 18, UCLA 9, San Diego State 9, BYU 5,
Appalachian State 4, Nebraska 4, Tulsa 4, Kentucky 3,
Texas A&M 3, Michigan State 1.
The AP Top 25 Football Poll
Board
Ryan Aber, The Oklahoman; John Adams,
Knoxville (Tenn.) News Sentinel; Parrish Alford,
Tupelo (Miss.) Daily Journal; Bob Asmussen,
Champaign (Ill.) News-Gazette; Brent Axe, Syracuse
(N.Y.) Media Group; Matt Baker, Tampa (Fla.) Bay Times;
Sammy Batten, The Fayetteville (N.C.) Observer; Steve
Batterson, Quad City (Iowa) Times;
Andy Bitter, The Roanoke (Va.) Times; Bret
Bloomquist, El Paso (Texas) Times; Kirk Bohls, Austin
(Texas) American-Statesman; David Briggs, Toledo
(Ohio) Blade; Matt Brown, Sports on Earth; Lauren
Brownlow, WRAL.com, Raleigh, N.C.; Jason Butt,
Macon (Ga.) Telegraph; Pat Caputo, The Oakland
(Mich.) Press;
Chuck Carlton, Dallas Morning News; Robert
Cessna, Bryan-College Station (Texas) Eagle;
Matt Charboneau, The Detroit News; John Clay,
Lexington (Ky.) Herald-Leader; Ed Daigneault,
Republican-American, Waterbury, Conn.; Rece
Davis, ESPN; Safid Deen, Orlando (Fla.) Sentinel;
Ross Dellenger, The Advocate, Baton Rouge, La.;
Jerry DiPaola, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review; Pat Dooley,
Gainesville (Fla.) Sun; Dave Foster, Fox 17 WZTV,
Nashville, Tenn.; Robert Gagliardi, Wyoming Tribune
Eagle, Cheyenne; Jason Galloway, Wisconsin State
Journal, Madison; Garland Gillen, WVUE-TV FOX 8, Alabama Athletic Media Relations
New Orleans; Andy Greder, St. Paul (Minn.) Pioneer
Press; Scott Hamilton, WCOG-AM, Greensboro, N.C.; Coach Nick Saban and the Alabama Crimson Tide enter the 2017 season ranked No. 1 in The Associated Press Preseason Top 25.

ALABAMA, SEC TRYING TO RECLAIM TOP SPOT
Eric Hansen, The South Bend (Ind.) Tribune;; Gary
Horowitz, Statesman Journal, Salem, Ore.; Brian
Howell, Buffzone.com; Terry Hutchens, The Anderson
(Ind.) Herald Tribune; Adam Jude, The Seattle Times;
Bill Landis, cleveland.com; Michael Lev, Arizona
Daily Star, Tucson; Rob Long, WJZ FM 105.7 The Fan,
Baltimore;
Matt McCoy, 610 WTVN Radio, Columbus, Ohio;; Sam
McKewon, Omaha (Neb.) World-Herald; Jeff Miller,
Orange County Register, Santa Ana, Calif.; Jonny BY JOHN ZENOR
Miller, WBZ NewsRadio 1030, Boston; Tom Murphy, The Associated Press
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Little Rock; Chris
Murray, Reno (Nev.) Gazette-Journal; Tony Parks,
1280 AM/97.5 FM KZNS, Salt Lake City; Soren Petro,
810 WHB, Kansas City; Alabama and the South-
Grace Raynor, The Post and Courier, Charleston,
S.C.; Dave Reardon, Honolulu Star-Advertiser; Kellis eastern Conference are trying
Robinett, Wichita (Kan.) Eagle; Keith Sargeant,
NJ.com/Star-Ledger; Lauren Shute, SEC Country; to climb back atop the college
Dave Southorn, The Idaho Statesman, Boise; Aaron
Suttles, The Tuscaloosa (Ala.) News; Mitch Vingle,
football mountain.
The Charleston (W.Va.) Gazette-Mail;
Marc Weiszer, Athens (Ga.) Banner-Herald; Jon
The SEC was toppled— at
Wilner, San Jose (Calif.) Mercury News; Scott Wolf, least temporarily — from that
Los Angeles Daily News; Rick Wright, Albuquerque
(N.M.) Journal; Adam Zucker, CBS Sports Network summit by the Atlantic Coast
Amway Coaches Conference last season. A pow-
Top 25 Preseason Poll erhouse Crimson Tide team
The preseason poll, with first-place votes in
parentheses, final 2016 records, total points based on has a much shorter climb back
25 points for first place through one point for 25th, and
last season’s final ranking: after a down-to-the-last-breath

1. Alabama (49)
Rec. Pts Pvs
14-1 1603 2
loss to the ACC’s Clemson in
2. Ohio State (5)
3. Florida State (4)
11-2 1512
10-3 1434
6
8
the national championship
4. Southern Cal 10-3 1415 5 game.
5. Clemson (7) 14-1 1367 1
6. Penn State 11-3 1257 7 Alabama has won 17 consec-
7. Washington 12-2 1245 4
8. Oklahoma 11-2 1237 3 utive SEC games by an average
9. Michigan
10. Wisconsin
10-3 959
11-3 936
10
9 of 21 points but coach Nick Sa-
11. Oklahoma State
12. LSU
10-3 912
8-4 834
11
14
ban insists “there’s a lot of pari-
13. Auburn
14. Stanford
8-5 819
10-3 732
22
12
ty in our league.”
15. Georgia 8-5 701 NR Despite Saban’s perspective,
16. Florida 9-4 681 13
17. Louisville 9-4 676 20 there’s no debating that the
18. Miami 9-4 472 23
19. Kansas State 9-4 339 NR battle for No. 2 has been more
20. West Virginia
21. South Florida
10-3 319
11-2 247
17
19 heated than the competition for
22. Virginia Tech
23. Texas
10-4 235
5-7 193 NR
16 the top spot the past few sea- Chris McDill/Special to The Dispatch
24. Tennessee
25. Utah
9-4
9-4
155
109
24
21
sons. Exhibit A: Alabama’s 54- Dan Mullen and the Mississippi State Bulldogs are coming off a 6-7 season and a 17-16 victory
Also Receiving Votes: Washington State 99, 16 win over Florida in the last against Miami University in the St. Petersburg Bowl in St. Petersburg, Florida.
Colorado 72, TCU 58, Boise State 49, Notre Dame 49,
Texas A&M 46, Pittsburgh 45, North Carolina State 39, SEC championship game.
Oregon 37, Northwestern 25, Nebraska 23, Memphis
22, Arkansas 22, Mississippi State 19, San Diego Alabama remains the deci- PRESEASON POLL back Duke Dawson said. spring practice for unspecified
State 18, Appalachian State 11, BYU 10, Georgia Tech
sive favorite to win a fourth con- THE FAVORITES personal reasons.
10, Tulsa 10, Wyoming 9, Western Michigan 8, Temple WESTERN DIVISION
8, North Carolina 8, Houston 7, Troy 6, Minnesota 6,
Iowa 5, Louisiana Tech 4, Syracuse 3, Arizona 2, Army
secutive SEC title despite los- n Alabama East: Georgia. Kirby n Christian Kirk, WR/RS,
1, Colorado State 1, Michigan State 1, Maryland 1,
Toledo 1, UCLA 1.
ing four first-round NFL draft n Auburn Smart’s second team has a Texas A&M. Led the nation
The AP Preseason picks. No team has won the n LSU strong backfield with Nick with three punt returns for
No 1-National Champions league four times in a row — or n Arkansas Chubb and Sony Michel, and touchdowns. His 83 catches
National champions that started the season as the No. three for that matter before the n Texas A&M Eason has a year of seasoning. topped the SEC, producing 928
1 team in the preseason poll:
2004—Southern California-x Tide’s run — since Steve Spur- n Mississippi State LB Roquan Smith is among 10 yards and nine touchdowns.
1999—Florida State-x
1993—Florida State rier and Florida dominated n Ole Miss returning defensive starters. n Frank Ragnow, C, Arkan-
1985—Oklahoma
1978—Alabama from 1993-96. EASTERN DIVISION West: Alabama. Like Eason, sas. Hasn’t allowed a sack the
1975—Oklahoma The first test might just be n Georgia Hurts has bigtime backs — past two seasons and has start-
1974—Oklahoma
1956—Oklahoma Alabama’s biggest of the reg- n Florida plus star receiver Ridley — to ed 26 straight games.
1952—Michigan State
1951—Tennessee ular season. The Tide opens n Tennessee target. The defense has seven NEW FACES
x-No. 1 entire season n South Carolina
with another ACC power, Flor- NFL draft picks to replace but Ex-Ole Miss coach Ed Org-
The AP Preseason No 1 Teams n Kentucky
2017—Alabama ida State, in Atlanta’s new Mer- n Vanderbilt also returning standouts like eron is back in the SEC West
2016—Alabama
2015—Ohio State cedes-Benz Stadium. n Missouri defensive backs Minkah Fitz- at LSU. His former program is
2014—Florida State
2013—Alabama
“All the guys that did play in patrick and Ronnie Harrison trying to regroup from the July
2012—Southern California that (Clemson) game are really and tackle Da’Ron Payne. 20 resignation of Hugh Freeze
2011—Oklahoma
2010—Alabama hungry to get back out there Malik Zaire at Florida . TOP PLAYERS while in the final stretch of an
2009—Florida
2008—Georgia and play and show the world In the SEC West, teams like n Minkah Fitzpatrick, DB, NCAA investigation. Interim
2007—Southern California
2006—Ohio State that we are one of the top teams LSU, Texas A&M, and Auburn Alabama. Versatile defender coach and co-offensive coor-
2005—Southern California
2004—Southern California-x
in the nation,” Alabama receiv- are trying to play catch up to could play either safety or cor- dinator Matt Luke is leading
2003—Oklahoma
2002—Miami
er Calvin Ridley said. Alabama. Georgia, Florida, and nerback. the Rebels. Alabama offensive
2001—Florida Quarterback Jalen Hurts, Tennessee are among the East n Derrius Guice, RB, LSU. coordinator Brian Daboll has
2000—Nebraska
1999—Florida State-x the SEC offensive player of the Division teams hoping to close Leonard Fournette’s backfield been a much talked-about hire.
1998—Ohio State
1997—Penn State year, gives Saban a returning the gap with their West counter- mate has center stage to him- ON THE HOT SEAT
1996—Nebraska
1995—Florida State starter at quarterback for the parts, who have held an eight- self. Texas A&M’s Kevin Sum-
1994—Florida
1993—Florida State-x
first time since 2013. He heads year monopoly on SEC titles. n Hurts. The Tide is expect- lin is trying to avoid another
1992—Miami
1991—Florida State
a group of promising young The Gators have won the ing him to be a better passer November slump after three
1990—Miami passers including Georgia’s Ja- East crown in each of coach Jim after an impressive freshman straight 8-5 seasons. Auburn’s
1989—Michigan
1988—Florida State cob Eason, Mississippi’s Shea McElwain’s first two seasons season somewhat marred by Gus Malzahn hasn’t beaten top
1987—Oklahoma
1986—Oklahoma Patterson and South Carolina’s but are aiming higher. late-season struggles, especial- rivals Georgia and Alabama in
1985—Oklahoma-x
1984—Auburn Jake Bentley. “Getting that taste of nine ly in the playoffs. three seasons. Getting warm-
1983—Nebraska
1982—Pittsburgh
Not to mention transfers wins, we now want to get more n Arden Key, LB, LSU. Had ish: Arkansas’ Bret Bielema
1981—Michigan
1980—Ohio State
Jarrett Stidham at Auburn and than that,” Florida defensive 12 sacks last season. Missed and Tennessee’s Butch Jones.
1979—Southern California

This Week’s Schedule
1978—Alabama-x
1977—Oklahoma
1976—Nebraska
1975—Oklahoma-x
1974—Oklahoma-x Thursday, Aug. 31 Saturday, Sept. 2 Hampton at Ohio, 6 p.m.
1973—Southern Cal The AP Top 25 Schedule EAST EAST South Dakota at Drake, 6 p.m.
1972—Nebraska Saturday’s Games Akron at Penn State, 11 a.m. SE Missouri at Kansas, 6 p.m.
x-won national championship St. Anselm at Wagner, 5 p.m.
(See Daily Sports Section for Score) Dayton at Robert Morris, 11 a.m. Cent. Arkansas at Kansas State, 6 p.m.
No. 14 Stanford vs. Rice at Sydney, Australia, late Delaware State at Delaware, 6 p.m.
The AP National Football No. 19 South Florida at San Jose State Maine at New Hampshire, 6 p.m. Lock Haven at St. Francis (Pa.), 11 a.m.
Villanova at Lehigh, 11:30 a.m.
Louisville vs. Purdue at Indianapolis, 6:30 p.m.
Butler at Illinois State, 6:30 p.m.
Holy Cross at Connecticut, 6:30 p.m.
Champions Thursday, Aug. 31
No. 2 Ohio State at Indiana, 7 p.m. SOUTH Youngstown State at Pittsburgh, Noon
Merrimack at Bryant, 2 p.m.
Arkansas State at Nebraska, 7 p.m.
Northern Iowa at Iowa State, 7 p.m.
2016 — Clemson No. 10 Oklahoma State vs. Tulsa, 6:30 p.m. FIU at UCF, 6 p.m.
2015 — Alabama Lafayette at Monmouth (NJ), 2 p.m. SOUTHWEST
Friday, Sept. 1 Kentucky Christian at Morehead State, 5 p.m.
2014 — Ohio State Marist at Bucknell, 5 p.m. Maryland at Texas, 11 a.m.
No. 8 Washingtion at Rutgers, 7 p.m. Presbyterian at Wake Forest, 5:30 p.m. Stetson at Sacred Heart, 5 p.m. UTEP at Oklahoma, 2:30 p.m.
2013 — Florida State No. 9 Wisconsin Vs. Utah State, 8 p.m. Clarion at Tennessee-Martin, 6 p.m.
2012 — Alabama Miami (Ohio) at Marshall, 5:30 p.m. Michigan vs. Florida at Arlington, Texas, 2:30 p.m.
Saturday, Sept. 2 Jacksonville at Mercer, 6 p.m. SOUTH Eastern Washington at Texas Tech, 3 p.m.
2011 — Alabama
2010 — Auburn No. 1 Alabama vs. No. 3 Florida State at Atlanta, 7 p.m. Kennesaw State at Samford, 6 p.m. Kent State at Clemson, 11 a.m. Houston at UTSA, 6 p.m.
2009 — Alabama No. 4 Southern Cal vs. Western Michigan, 4:15 p.m. Kentucky Wesleyan at Murray State, 6 p.m. California at North Carolina, 11:20 a.m. Stephen F. Austin at SMU, 6 p.m.
2008 — Florida No. 5 Clemson vs. Kent State, 11 a.m. Methodist at Campbell, 6 p.m. Bethune-Cookman at Miami, 11:30 a.m. Houston Baptist at Texas State, 6 p.m.
2007 — LSU No. 6 Penn State vs. Akron, 11 a.m. Tennessee State at Georgia State, 6 p.m. NC State vs. South Carolina at Charlotte, North Carolina, 2 p.m. Lamar at North Texas, 6 p.m.
2006 — Florida No. 7 Oklahoma vs. UTEP, 2:30 p.m. Western Illinois at Tennessee Tech, 6 p.m. William & Mary at Virginia, 2:30 p.m. Morehouse at Arkansas-Pine Bluff, 6 p.m.
2005 — Texas No. 11 Michigan vs. No. 17 Florida at Arlington, Texas, 2:30 p.m. McNeese State at Nicholls, 7 p.m. Alabama A&M at Alabama-Birmingham,, 2:30 p.m. Liberty at Baylor, 6 p.m.
2004 — Southern California No. 12 Auburn vs. Georgia Southern, 6:30 p.m. Louisiana-Monroe at Memphis, 8 p.m. Stony Brook at South Florida, 3 p.m. Jackson State at TCU, 7 p.m.
2003 — Southern California No. 13 LSU vs. BYU at Houston, 8:30 p.m. MIDWEST Charleston Southern at Mississippi State, 3 p.m. Prairie View at Texas Southern, 8 p.m.
2002 — Ohio State No. 15 Georgia vs. Appalachian State, 5:15 p.m. Austin Peay at Cincinnati, 6 p.m. Kentucky at Southern Mississippi, 3 p.m.
No. 16 Louisville vs. Purdue at Indianapolis, 6:30 p.m. BYU vs. LSU at Houston, 8:30 p.m.
2001 — Miami Buffalo at Minnesota, 6 p.m. Morgan State at Towson, 5 p.m. FAR WEST
2000 — Oklahoma No. 18 Miami vs. Bethune-Cookman, 11:30 a.m. Newberry at Citadel, 5 p.m.
No. 19 South Florida vs. Stony Brook, 3 p.m. Eastern Illinois at Indiana State, 6 p.m. VMI at Air Force, 11 a.m.
1999 — Florida State Elon at Toledo, 6 p.m. James Madison at East Carolina, 5 p.m. Portland State at Oregon State, 1 p.m.
1998 — Tennessee No. 20 Kansas State vs. Central Arkansas, 6:10 p.m. Virginia State at Norfolk State, 5 p.m.
No. 23 Texas vs. Maryland, 11 a.m. Rhode Island at Central Michigan, 6 p.m. Valparaiso at Montana, 2 p.m.
1997 — Michigan Albany (NY) at Old Dominion, 5 p.m. Troy at Boise State, 2:45 p.m.
No. 24 Washington State vs. Montana State, 9:30 p.m. Duquesne at South Dakota St., 7 p.m. North Carolina Central at Duke, 5 p.m.
1996 — Florida Ohio State at Indiana, 7 p.m. West New Mexico at San Diego, 4 p.m.
1995 — Nebraska Sunday, Sept. 3 Furman at Wofford, 5 p.m.
No. 21 Virginia Tech vs. No. 22 West Virginia at Landover, SOUTHWEST Western Michigan at Southern California, 4:15 p.m.
1994 — Nebraska North Carolina A&T at Gardner-Webb, 5 p.m. Cal Poly at San Jose State, 6:30 p.m.
1993 — Florida State Maryland, 6:30 p.m. Tulsa at Oklahoma State, 6:30 p.m. Appalachian State at Georgia,, 5:15 p.m.
Monday, Sept. 4 Florida A&M vs. Arkansas at Little Rock, Arkansas, 7 p.m. Massachusetts at Coastal Carolina, 6 p.m. Abilene Christian at New Mexico, 7 p.m.
1992 — Alabama Montana-Western at Weber State, 7 p.m.
1991 — Miami No. 25 Tennessee at Georgia Tech, 7 p.m. FAR WEST Grambling State at Tulane, 6 p.m.
North Dakota at Utah, 6:30 p.m. Northwestern State at Louisiana Tech, 6 p.m. Southern Utah at Oregon, 7:15 p.m.
1990 — Colorado
1989 — Miami Week 1 Western Oregon at Idaho State, 7:30 p.m. SE Louisiana at Louisiana-Lafayette, 6 p.m. UC Davis at San Diego State, 7:30 p.m.
Howard at UNLV, 8 p.m.
1988 — Notre Dame Saturday’s Games Sacramento State at Idaho, 8 p.m. Brevard at Davidson, 6 p.m.
1987 — Miami (See Daily Sports Section for Scores) Limestone at ETSU, 6 p.m. Incarnate Word at Fresno State, 9 p.m.
New Mexico State at Arizona State, 9:30 p.m.
1986 — Penn State EAST Miles at Alcorn State, 6 p.m. Montana State at Washington State, 9:30 p.m.
1985 — Oklahoma Hawaii at UMass, late Eastern Kentucky at Western Kentucky, 6 p.m. Northern Arizona at Arizona, 10 p.m.
Friday, Sept. 1 Western Carolina at Hawaii, 11 p.m.
1984 — BYU SOUTH EAST Georgia Southern at Auburn, 6:30 p.m.
1983 — Miami Texas Southern at Florida A&M Fordham at Army, 5 p.m. South Alabama at Ole Miss, 6:30 p.m.
1982 — Penn State Chattanooga vs. Jacksonville State Vanderbilt at Middle Tennessee, 7 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 3
CCSU at Syracuse, 6 p.m. EAST
1981 — Clemson FAR WEST Tuskegee at Alabama State, 7 p.m.
Oregon St. at Colorado State Washington at Rutgers, 7 p.m. Virginia Tech vs. West Virginia at Landover, Maryland, 6:30 p.m.
1980 — Georgia Florida State vs. Alabama at Atlanta, 7 p.m.
1979 — Alabama Portland State at BYU SOUTH MIDWEST SOUTH
1978 — Alabama Colgate at Cal Poly Navy at FAU, 7 p.m. Ball State at Illinois, 11 a.m. South Carolina State at Southern U., 1:30 p.m.
1977 — Notre Dame South Floria at San Jose State MIDWEST Bowling Green at Michigan State, 11 a.m. FAR WEST
1976 — Pittsburgh Stanford vs. Rice at Sydney, Australia Charlotte at Eastern Michigan, 5:30 p.m. Missouri State at Missouri, 11 a.m. Texas A&M at UCLA, 7:30 p.m.
1975 — Oklahoma Utah State at Wisconsin, 8 p.m. Wyoming at Iowa, 11 a.m.
1974 — Oklahoma Today’s Game Boston College at Northern Illinois, 8:30 p.m. Temple at Notre Dame, 2:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 4
1973 — Notre Dame SOUTHWEST FAR WEST Nevada at Northwestern, 2:30 p.m. SOUTH
1972 — Southern California Richmond at Sam Houston State, 6 p.m. Colorado vs. Colorado State at Denver, 7 p.m. MVSU at North Dakota State, 2:30 p.m. Tennessee at Georgia Tech, 7 p.m.
14 SUNDAY, AUGUST 27, 2017 The Dispatch • www.cdispatch.com COLLEGE FOOTBALL PREVIEW

CONFERENCE USA
Athletic Website: http://www.conferenceusa.com; Twitter: @ConferenceUSA; Facebook: www.facebook.com/ConferenceUSA; Instagram: @conferenceusa

LEAGUE EVEN AGAIN WHILE ADDING HIGH-PROFILE COACHES
BY STEPHEN HAWKINS THE FAVORITES ern Miss. He is the league’s top return-
The Associated Press
PRESEASON POLL East Division: While WKU has a
(First-place votes in parentheses) ing rusher after averaging 112 yards per
EASTERN DIVISION new coach and has to replace seven of- game as a junior.
IRVING, Texas — Butch Davis is fensive starters, the Hilltoppers return
n 1. Western Kentucky (20) n The Blue Raiders’ quarter-
back on the sideline, and Lane Kiffin is senior quarterback Mike White, the
n 2. Middle Tennessee (4) back-wide receiver duo. Stockstill, now
again leading his own program. n 3. Old Dominion (3) C-USA preseason offensive player of the
While those high-profile coaches get a third-year starter as a junior, threw for
n 4. Marshall (1) year, after scoring at least 44 points in 3,233 yards and 31 touchdowns last sea-
ready for their Conference USA debuts n 5. Florida Atlantic each of their last 10 games. Middle Ten- son. James caught 105 passes for 1,625
— Davis at FIU and Kiffin at Florida At- n 6. FIU nessee has the impressive QB-WR com- yards and 12 touchdowns.
lantic — coach Bill Clark stayed in place n 7. Charlotte
bo of Brent Stockstill and Richie James. NEW FACES
for Alabama-Birmingham’s football re- WESTERN DIVISION
The division title could be determined n The 65-year-old Davis is back in
vival. n 1. Louisiana Tech (20)
Nov. 17 when the Blue Raiders travel to coaching six years after being fired
With the return of the Blazers, C-USA n 2. UTSA (7)
n 3. Southern Mississippi (1) Bowling Green to play the Hilltoppers. from North Carolina as part of the fall-
again has 14 teams split into seven-team
divisions. Clark had just finished his n 4. North Texas West Division: For the third straight out of an NCAA investigation in which
first year at UAB, going 6-6 in 2014 for n 5. Rice season, Louisiana Tech will have a new he was never implicated. And he is again
the school’s first non-losing record in 10
n 6. UTEP starting quarterback. The Bulldogs also
n 7. Alabama-Birmingham in Florida, where he coached the Miami
seasons, when the program was briefly lost two receivers who combined for
Hurricanes from 1995-2000.
shut down for financial reasons. 218 catches, 3,338 yards and 31 touch-
n Kiffin, previously a head coach at
Skip Holtz has won nine games three head coach Mike Sanford Jr., who was downs. But they return 1,000-yard rush-
Tennessee and USC, spent the last three
straight years at Louisiana Tech, the Notre Dame’s offensive coordinator. er Jarred Craft, three starters on the
seasons as Nick Saban’s offensive co-
defending West Division champion and Old Dominion takes a six-game winning offensive line, and DE Jaylon Ferguson,
the league’s top sacker among many top ordinator at Alabama — the same span
one of seven C-USA teams that went to streak into this season after winning 10 during which FAU had three consecu-
bowl games last season. Those bowl games in only the Monarchs’ fourth year players on defense.
TOP PLAYERS tive 3-9 seasons. The Owls’ last bowl was
teams included UTSA and North Texas, in Division I, and eighth year since re-
n White, the Western Kentucky se- in 2008.
both with first-year head coaches who starting the program.
nior quarterback who had eight 300- n Sanford, the 35-year-old former No-
left prominent roles on staffs at Power “I look at some of the quality coach-
yard passing games last season. He was tre Dame offensive coordinator, became
Five schools. es that this league has attracted,” Holtz
“A friend of mine uses the analogy said. “Mike Sanford leaving Notre fifth in FBS with his 4,383 yards, while WKU’s head coach after Jeff Brohm left
that Conference USA is like NASCAR.” Dame to go to Western Kentucky, I look throwing for 37 touchdowns with only for Purdue.
Holtz said. “Everybody has the same at Frank (Wilson) leaving LSU to take seven interceptions. ON THE HOT SEAT
size engine. It’s just who does the best UTSA, I look at Seth Littrell leaving n Rice linebacker Emmanuel Eller- Sean Kugler took alma mater UTEP
job of driving it that week, and I think (North Carolina) to go to North Texas. bee led the league and ranked sixth na- to a bowl in 2014, the former NFL offen-
that’s where we are right now. I think it’s ... Now this year with Butch Davis and tionally with 10.7 tackles per game last sive line coach’s second season as head
an incredibly competitive league.” Lane Kiffin both coming in with head year. coach. The Miners are only 9-15 in the
After winning back-to-back C-USA coaching experience, I think speaks vol- n Ito Smith has rushed for more than two seasons since, and lost five straight
titles, Western Kentucky has first-time umes for this league.” 100 yards in 16 games already at South- games last season.

Southern Mississippi will try to maintain momentum with new QB
BY DAVID BRANDT petition between Howard including Allenzae Staggers, who n WHAT A than 3,000 yards over his first
The Associated Press and Griggs to last all the way caught 63 passes for 1,165 yards TURNAROUND: Southern three seasons. He’s got a shot to
through training camp and pos- and seven touchdowns. Miss was one of the nation’s become one of the school’s all-
The Southern Mississippi sibly into the regular season. Southern Miss will be much
football team rebounded from worst programs just a few years. time leading rushers, though
Howard was Mullens backup less experienced on defense. The Golden Eagles went 0-12 in it’s unlikely he’ll catch Damion
one of the most dismal periods
last season, completing 22 of The Golden Eagles will be re- ‘12, 1-11 in ‘13 and 3-9 in ‘14 before Fletcher — who ran for 5,302
in program history with back-
50 passes (44 percent) for one placing four of the team’s top former coach Todd Monken led yards from 2006 to ‘09 — at the
to-back winning seasons in
touchdown and four intercep- six tacklers from last season.
2015 and ‘16. Southern Miss to a 9-5 season in No. 1 spot.
tions. Griggs is a junior college They do have some experience
Now second-year coach Jay ‘15. Monken left to become the n SEASON OPENER:
transfer who redshirted last in the secondary — Picasso
Hopson is out to prove the Gold- offensive coordinator with the Southern Miss will play host
en Eagles will continue their season. Nelson, Cornell Armstrong and
Curtis Mikell are all seniors. Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Hop- to a Southeastern Conference
winning ways. “They’ve been back and
“We need to stay healthy son took over, taking the Golden opponent in the season opener
Southern Miss will have to forth — that’s the reality of it,”
Hopson said. at some spots, but that’s just Eagles to another bowl game in when Kentucky comes to town
maintain its momentum with
Hopson hopes that whoever the reality of football,” Hopson his first season. Sept. 2. It’s fairly rare for the
a new quarterback. Four-year
wins the job will be helped by said. “You cut us open and we’re n POCKET ROCKET: Golden Eagles to play host to a
starter Nick Mullens is now
gone and there’s a preseason several veterans around him. Ito bigger and faster, but we’re also Southern Miss RB Ito Smith SEC opponent, though Missis-
battle under center between Smith led the Golden Eagles with younger.” isn’t a big guy at 5-foot-9 and 193 sippi State came to M.M. Rob-
sophomore Keon Howard and 1,459 yards rushing last season n KEY GAMES: Sept. 2 vs. pounds, but he’s had a hugely erts Stadium in 2015. Southern
junior Kwadra Griggs. and 17 touchdowns. Six of the Kentucky; Oct. 21 at Louisiana productive career for the Gold- Miss beat Kentucky 44-35 last
Hopson expects the com- team’s top seven receivers return, Tech; Nov. 4 at Tennessee en Eagles, rushing for more season in Lexington, Kentucky.

SOUTHWESTERN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE
Athletic Website: http://www.swac.org; Twitter: @theswac; Facebook: www.facebook.com/theswac; Instagram: @theswac

GRAMBLING , ALCORN STATE FACE HIGHEST EXPECTATIONS
BY DAVID BRANDT
PRESEASON POLL foe Arizona in a surpris- Grambling in the SWAC 6-foot-4, 230-pound defen- The SWAC announced
The Associated Press ingly tight 31-21 game. title game. It figures to be sive end was named the earlier this year that it’s
(Ranking followed by points)
EASTERN DIVISION It then won 11-straight a wide open Eastern Di- SWAC’s preseason defen- ending the SWAC title
Grambling State opens games, beating Alcorn vision — Alabama State sive player of the year. game in an effort to put
n 1. Alcorn State ................80
the season as one of State 27-20 in the SWAC and Jackson State are n Austin Howard, more emphasis on the
n 2. Alabama State .............66
the favorites to win the n 3. Jackson State .............59 Championship and North also in the hunt — but the Southern: The best quar- Celebration Bowl, which
Southwestern Athletic n 4. Alabama A&M ..............45 Carolina Central 10-9 in Braves have won the divi- terback in the SWAC not pits the SWAC champi-
Conference and the pro- n 5. Mississippi Valley State 20 the Celebration Bowl. sion three straight years named Devante Kincade on against the winner of
gram’s players are all over WESTERN DIVISION Some things to look for and are the champs until in 2016, Howard com- the Mid-Eastern Athletic
the league’s preseason n 1. Grambling State ...........85 this season in the SWAC: proven otherwise. pleted 58.2 percent of his Conference.
All-Conference lists. n 2. Southern ......................68 THE FAVORITES TOP PLAYERS passes while throwing for EAST STILL LEAST?
Grambling coach n 3. Prairie View A&M ..........59 Grambling: Fobbs, n Kincade, Gram- 2,655 yards and 29 touch- The SWAC’s Western
Broderick Fobbs didn’t n 4. Texas Southern ............37 who is entering his fourth bling: The senior was downs. Division was far superior
seem to mind the presea- n 5. Arkansas-Pine Bluff ......21
season with the Tigers, a good prospect at Ole n Danny Johnson, to the East in 2016. Gram-
son love his program is has built a powerhouse. Miss before getting stuck Southern: Johnson re- bling won the division
receiving. He also wasn’t players on the preseason Grambling has a 28-9 re- on the depth chart be- turns after leading the with a 9-0 mark in con-
particularly excited by it. All-Conference teams, cord over three seasons, hind starter Chad Kelly. league with seven in- ference while Southern
“I don’t really think it including quarterback including a 25-2 record in Kincade transferred to terceptions last season, was 8-1 and Prairie View
matters,” Fobbs said at Devante Kincade, who the SWAC. With the re- Grambling and found im- including one that he re- A&M was 7-2. The best
SWAC Media Day in July. returns after throwing turn of Kincade and Car- mediate success, throw- turned for a touchdown. team in the East was Al-
“We start at the starting for 3,022 yards, 31 touch- ter and a stellar defense, ing the ball with accuracy SWAN SONG FOR corn State, which finished
line at the same place. Just downs and just four in- the Tigers have a good and also running for four SWAC TITLE GAME with a 5-4 league record.
because you finished first terceptions. Running chance to win the West- touchdowns. The winners of the The league’s best
last year or you have all back Martez Carter also ern Division again. n Keontre Anderson, SWAC’s Western and teams still figure to come
these kids on the All-Con- returns after running for Alcorn State: The Jackson State: Jackson Eastern Divisions will from the West this fall,
ference team, that means 891 yards, 10 touchdowns Braves won the SWAC was constantly in oppo- meet in Houston for a but improvement for pro-
absolutely nothing. and averaging 7.7 yards championship in 2014 nents’ backfields last year, league title game in De- grams like Alabama State
“They don’t give you a per carry. and ‘15 and nearly pulled finishing the season with cember. That’s the last and Jackson State in the
10-yard head start.” Grambling lost its sea- off the three-peat last 25½ tackles for a loss, in- time in the foreseeable East might make things a
Grambling had 14 son opener against Pac-12 season before falling to cluding nine sacks. The future that will happen. little more even.

PRESEASON POLLS UNDER THE RADAR HEISMAN CONTENDERS
American Athletic WESTERN DIVISION Sun Belt Conference DERRIUS GUICE, RB, LSU TRACE McSORLEY, QB, PENN STATE
n 1. Toledo (22) ........................... 142 (First-place votes in parentheses, With Leonard Fournette in the NFL, This is like USC in reverse since the
Conference n 2. Western Michigan (1) ........... 107 Guice has the backfield to himself. The running back (Saquon Barkley) is re-
(First-place votes in parentheses, followed by points)
n 3. Northern Illinois (1) .................89 n 1. Appalachian State (7) ........... 136 5-foot-11, 218-pound junior still ended ceiving more attention. McSorley, a 6-0,
followed by points) n 4. Eastern Michigan ....................74 up leading the SEC in rushing yards 202-pound junior, could be the best
EASTERN DIVISION n 2. Troy (2) ................................ 127
n 5. Central Michigan .....................62 n 3. Arkansas State (1) ............... 122 (1,387) and touchdowns (15) despite quarterback in the Big Ten Conference.
n 1. South Florida (30) ................ 180 splitting time with Fournette. Last season, he threw 25 touchdowns
n 6. Ball State ................................30 n 4. South Alabama ......................98
n 2. Central Florida ...................... 126 DERWIN JAMES, S, FLORIDA STATE and only five interceptions.
n 3. Temple ................................. 119 n 5. Louisiana (1) ...........................95
Mountain West Conference n 6. Idaho .....................................84 James missed most of last season MASON RUDOLPH, QB,
n 4. Cincinnati ............................. 100
MOUNTAIN DIVISION n 7. Georgia Southern ...................82 due to a knee injury but has been OKLAHOMA STATE
n 5. East Carolina ..........................63
n 8. Georgia State .........................48 touted as the best defensive player in The senior is not receiving as
n 6. Connecticut .............................42 (First-place votes in parentheses,
n 9. ULM ........................................46 college football. James (6-3, 211) will much attention as Oklahoma’s Baker
WESTERN DIVISION followed by points)
n 10. New Mexico State (1) ............41 draw comparisons to former Michigan Mayfield, but Rudolph (6-5, 230) is one
n 1. Memphis (22) ...................... 169 n 1. Boise State (21) ................... 161
n 11. Texas State ..........................31 standout Jabrill Peppers, who was a of only two Power Five quarterbacks
n 2. Houston (6) .......................... 137 n 2. Colorado State (6) ................ 135
n 12. Coastal Carolina ...................26 Heisman finalist last year. James has coming back after passing for 4,000
n 3. Navy (1) ............................... 128
n 3. Wyoming (1) ......................... 114 been used as a rush end, linebacker yards. He has one of the more talented
n 4. Tulsa (1) .............................. 102
n 4. Air Force .................................82 and safety on defense, punt return receiving duos in the Jalen McCleskey
n 5. SMU .......................................64
n 5. New Mexico ............................68 and will see action on offense at wide and James Washington.
n 6. Tulane .....................................30
n 6. Utah State ..............................28 receiver. JARRETT STIDHAM, QB, AUBURN
Mid-American Conference WEST DIVISION RONALD JONES II, RB, USC The sophomore was one of the top
(First-place votes in parentheses, There is already plenty of Heisman dual-threat quarterbacks when he was
followed by points) n 1. San Diego State (28) ............ 168
buzz around the Trojans due to quar- recruited by Baylor in 2015 and had
n 2. Hawai‘i ................................ 135 terback Sam Darnold, but Jones does immediate success with 1,165 yards
EASTERN DIVISION
n 1. Ohio (11) ............................. 131 n 3. UNLV ................................... 105 have a chance to possibly generate passing and 12 touchdowns. Stidham
n 2. Miami (12) ........................... 129 n 4. Nevada ...................................79 INSIDE some headlines of his own and possibly (6-3, 214) transferred to junior college
n 3. Bowling Green (1) ....................88 n 5. San José State ........................54 n MORE PREVIEWS: A look at how upstage Darnold. The 6-0, 200 pound last year after coach Art Briles was fired
n 4. Akron ......................................79 n 6. Fresno State ...........................47 the Power 5 conferences shape junior running back averaged 6.0 yards and could be Auburn’s fourth Heisman
n 5. Buffalo ....................................41 up, including the preseason polls. per carry and had three touchdown finalist in the past eight years.
n 6. Kent State ..............................36 Page 16 runs of 60 yards or more last year. — By The Associated Press
COLLEGE FOOTBALL PREVIEW The Dispatch • www.cdispatch.com SUNDAY, AUGUST 27, 2017 15

EAST MISSISSIPPI COMMUNITY COLLEGE LIONS
Athletic Website: www.emccathletics.com; Radio: WFCA-FM 107.9; Twitter: @emccathletics; Instagram: @EMCCAthletics; You Tube: www.youtube.com/EMCCAthletics

Dispatch File Photo
The East Mississippi Community College football team has grown accustomed to winning championships. Last season, EMCC beat Northwest Mississippi C.C. 38-30 to
win the Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges (MACJC) State title. The Lions won their last 11 games to finish 11-1 and ranked No. 2 in the nation.

BELL, DANTZLER BACK TOGETHER TO FUEL LIONS’ DEFENSE
BY SCOT T WALTERS and conditioning program for a
swalters@cdispatch.com season, he is more developed.
He will come in and make an im-
SCOOBA — When Loren- mediate impact. You are talking
zo Dantzler began searching a player with a lot of accolades
for a new place to play college and awards. As a defensive unit,
football, he enlisted the help of our job is to attack the other’s
former high school teammate team quarterback and to help
Maleke Bell. take him out of his comfort lev-
It turns out Bell had the per-
el. Maleke and Lorenzo will be
fect way to get the
able do to that.”
former Starkville
Collins is charged with
High School de-
bringing the luster back to the
fensive line duo
EMCC defense. He coached de-
back together for
fensive backs for eight seasons
one more season.
before leaving for Jackson State
“It’s like a
for the 2016 season.
brother coming
Bell The 2014 National Junior
back home,” Bell
College Athletic Association
said. “We have
made so many (NJCAA) national champion-
memories togeth- ship team allowed 7.6 points
er playing foot- per game with five-straight
ball, and I look shutouts. Last season, EMCC
forward to more allowed 20.4 ppg.
of the same this “We have to get back to be-
season.” ing that physical, hard-nosed
Dantzler Dantzler and Dispatch File Photo
defensive unit,” Collins said.
Bell will help an- The East Mississippi Community College football team has grown accustomed to winning championships. “The biggest thing is speed.
chor the defensive line this sea- Last season, EMCC beat Northwest Mississippi C.C. 38-30 to win the Mississippi Association of You need even your linemen to
son for No. 2 East Mississippi Community and Junior Colleges (MACJC) State title. The Lions won their last 11 games to finish 11-1 and have speed. That way you can
Community College. ranked No. 2 in the nation. get in the backfield and disrupt
The era of new defensive co- coach Buddy Stephens said. the school’s fifth Mississippi Southern Mississippi. After what the other team is trying to
ordinator Cliff Collins will be- “You want players who have Association of Community and redshirting last season, Dan- do.”
gin Aug. 31 against Jones Coun- played in the big games. You Junior Colleges (MACJC) State tzler transferred to EMCC in Three linemen from the 2014
ty Junior College in Scooba. want that championship-type championship. It also won the January. EMCC squad are on NFL ros-
“Feel really blessed to be in experience. When you sign Mississippi Bowl and finished He already has announced a ters.
this position,” Dantzler said. players from Starkville, you second in the nation. commitment to Texas-San An- “This program is all about
“This is the state’s elite junior know you are getting that pedi- “Maleke has a great passion tonio and will be able to enroll having that kind of success,”
college program. We are all about gree. They have a history of pro- for the game,” Collins said. there in December. Bell said. “When you become
winning championships. We plan ducing great linemen. These “He has an imposing will and a “The UTSA coaches have a sophomore, you think more
to do that this season. It just feels two are just recent examples of dominating presence. He is not been great to me,” Dantzler about what is next. There is a
like home here, and I am excited the types of players produced. real vocal, but that doesn’t take said. “It’s another exciting op- lot to play for.”
about getting started.” They are great fits for what we away from the tenacity. He has portunity in my career. Football Dantzler and Bell will play
As seniors, the duo teamed are trying to do.” a determination and the type of has been good to me. I want to for it together. They even wear
up to help lead Starkville High The 6-foot-2, 250-pound Bell passion you can build a defen- continue to give this game my corresponding uniform num-
to the Mississippi High School might have been the biggest in- sive line around. You have to all. It’s exciting to be part of this bers. For Dantzler, it is 90. Bell
Activities Association (MH- state catch of last season’s sign- have a high level of passion to program because they always wears 91.
SAA) Class 6A State champi- ing class. After making strides play this game and play it well. have players become great.” “It’s good to be back with
onship in 2015. The final two through preseason camp, Bell He has that motor that is always Collins knows Dantzler’s Maleke,” Dantzler said. “We
seasons with the Yellow Jackets became a starter for the second going.” ability to make an instant im- have a special bond. He will
featured 27 victories and two half of the season. He finished After completing his high pact. make this year even more fun.”
defeats. with 19 tackles, including five school career, the 6-foot-2, “He was a force in high Follow Dispatch sports
“You want winners in the for loss, and two sacks. 240-pound Dantzler signed a school,” Collins said. “Now af- writer Scott Walters on Twitter
your locker room,” EMCC EMCC finished 11-1 and won national letter of intent with ter being in a Division I weight @dispatchscott

EMCC
Continued from Page 12
the season. Conner was Agricultural High stand- the offensive coordinator than 40 points, it’s a disap-
on EMCC’s roster last out Vijay Miller, who was in Stephens’ first nine pointment.”
season, while Scott was mainly used in short-yard- seasons. Disappointments have
redshirting at LSU. age situations. He signed “There won’t be any been few in Scooba. Last
Earlier in fall camp, a professional baseball changes,” Boykin said. season’s national cham-
EMCC coach Buddy Ste- contract with the San Di- “The main thing is to keep pionship hopes were de-
phens called Conner “the ego Padres this summer. things going in the right railed in the season open-
starter for now.” However, “Being able to play with direction. I feel fortunate er. EMCC could dress
the Lions signed Scott lat- De’Andre was an amazing to have this opportunity. only 32 players due to
er that night. experience,” Conner said. (Stephens) has one of the suspension in a 27-25 loss
Typically, EMCC has “He was the leader on the best offensive minds in to JCJC.
used two quarterbacks team from day one. Ev- the business. My job is The winning ways
under Stephens. One eryone knew that and un- to help coach the players followed. A 38-30 victo-
typically gets most of derstood that. He just had and help put them in posi- ry against Northwest
the reps and the other is that presence that made tions to be successful.” Mississippi C.C. earned
used in short-yardage sit- you believe in him. When While the top three
EMCC the Mississippi
uations. More of the same Dispatch File Photo you play quarterback, rushers from a year ago
Association of Commu-
is probable this season. Timorrius Conner, left, celebrates with the Mississippi your teammates have to (Johnson, Isaiah Wright,
High School Activities Association (MHSAA) Class 4A nity and Junior Colleges
Pearl River Central High believe in you. They have and Jacquez Horsley) are
School’s Wyatt Davis and State championship after helping to lead the Noxubee to know you have their gone, the fourth-through- (MACJC) State title. A 27-
Daquirs Griffin, of Hou- County High School football team past St. Aloysius in the back. Together, a team seventh return. Calvin 17 victory against Kilgore
ma, Louisiana, round out 2015 State title game.
can accomplish anything. Keys and Daniel Crowell College secured a Missis-
the quarterbacks on the and why other players County High. At EMCC, That is what makes play- help anchor what Conner sippi Bowl championship.
roster. gravitated to him. You he had the good fortune ing here so special. Ev- calls “the best group of re- EMCC will carry an 11-
“Timorrius is a leader,” have to be vocal, but you of learning from De’An- erybody is here to win a ceivers in the state.” game winning streak into
Stephens said. “He comes also have to lead by ex- dre Johnson last season. championship, and every- “There is no secret the season.
from a championship-cal- ample. Quarterback play In his second year in the body is here to play on the what we like to do,” Con- “It’s a new beginning
iber program. Noxubee is critical to our success. program, the Florida next level. Those are the ner said. “It’s going to be for the program,” Con-
County players will run We have to play well at State transfer threw for driving forces.” more of the same. When ner said. “There is no ad-
through a brick wall for that spot. We have to 2,646 yards with 26 touch- The EMCC offense the ball is snapped, we versity to overcome, just
something they believe score points.” downs. Johnson is now at also will have a new have like five options, and games to win.”
in. He had a lot of success Conner threw for 6,904 Florida Atlantic. play-caller this season. the job is to make the play Follow Dispatch sports
in high school, and you yards and 64 touchdowns The other quarterback David Boykin replaces happen as quickly as pos- writer Scott Walters on
can see the leadership in three years at Noxubee was former Itawamba Marcus Wood, who was sible. When we score less Twitter @dispatchscott
16 SUNDAY, AUGUST 27, 2017 The Dispatch • www.cdispatch.com COLLEGE FOOTBALL PREVIEW

CLEMSON’S LOSSES COULD OPEN DOOR FOR FSU, LOUISVILLE
BY A ARON BEARD
ACC PRESEASON POLL Griffin as the only two-time Heisman includes safety Derwin James, who was regarded as one of the
The Associated Press nation’s defensive backs before missing all but two games last
(First-place votes in parentheses, winners.
year with a knee injury .
followed by points) And that’s all in the Atlantic Division, Coastal: Miami. The Hurricanes return running back Mark
RALEIGH, N.C. — Clemson football ATLANTIC DIVISION part of an imbalanced alignment that Walton and eight defensive starters, though they need to find a
coach Dabo Swinney understands why n 1. Florida State (121) ........................ 1,108 has made the league’s Coastal Division new quarterback after losing Brad Kaaya if they want to reach
preseason questions about the Tigers fo- n 2. Clemson (37) ................................ 1,007 a perennial undercard. the ACC championship game for the first time. Virginia Tech is
cus more on who’s gone from last year’s n 3. Louisville (9) .................................... 843
Clemson extended a six-year run by
picked second and also has to find a new starting quarterback
team instead of who is filling those roles. n 4. North Carolina State ......................... 658 as the Hokies try to become the division’s first repeat winner
n 5. Wake Forest ..................................... 415 the Atlantic champion as winner of the since 2011.
The reigning national champions league title game, with FSU and Clem- TOP PLAYERS
have big holes — the kind that could n 6. Syracuse ......................................... 362
n 7. Boston College ................................. 283 son each have won three. The Coastal, n Jackson, Louisville. The junior can beat defenses
clear a path for Florida State or Louis- through the air (3,543 yards passing and 30 touchdowns) or on
COASTAL DIVISION meanwhile, has had a revolving door of
ville to climb atop the Atlantic Coast n 1. Miami (103) .................................. 1,065
the ground (1,571 yards with 21 scores).
division champions that included Virgin- n Walton, Miami. Walton ran for 1,117 yards and 14 touch-
Conference’s heavyweight division and n 2. Virginia Tech (40) ............................. 932 ia Tech last year, North Carolina in 2015, downs as a sophomore in 2016. He’ll have to lead the offense
win the league title in 2017. n 3. Georgia Tech (9) ............................... 708
Georgia Tech in 2014 and Duke in 2013 as the Hurricanes’ next QB settles into the role under sec-
“Guys, there’s change every year,” n 4. Pittsburgh (7) ................................... 673 ond-year coach Mark Richt.
n 5. North Carolina (4) ............................ 606 — and looks just as likely to have more
Swinney said during last month’s ACC n Jaylen Samuels, North Carolina State. The senior can
n 6. Duke (4) .......................................... 473 uncertainty this fall.
media days. “It’s a new team.” play running back, receiver or tight end. And he has 29 rushing
n 7. Virginia ............................................ 219 The marquee game should be FSU’s or receiving touchdowns over the past two seasons for an expe-
The Tigers’ thrilling 35-31 comeback
visit to Clemson on Nov. 11, with the rienced team that could be a dark horse in the Atlantic.
win against Alabama did more than n Dexter Lawrence, Clemson. The 6-foot-5, 340 pound
give Clemson its second national title. newly claimed stature. winner of that game winning the past six
sophomore tackle — mentioned as a possible No. 1 overall NFL
It capped a four-year run that has the The Tigers (14-1) have played in two league crowns. draft pick in 2019 — joins linemate Christian Wilkins to give the
ACC — a league best known for basket- straight national title games but must “That game has turned into one heck Tigers a formidable front.
ball — on level footing these days with replace star players such as quarterback of a game every year,” said FSU coach n Micah Kiser, Virginia. The senior linebacker has led the
Jimbo Fisher, who led the Seminoles to ACC in tackles for the past two seasons with a combined 251
the football-power Southeastern Con- Deshaun Watson and linebacker Ben stops.
ference. The ACC has won two national Boulware. They’ve ceded the league-fa- the 2013 national title. “Whoever wins it (NO) NEW FACES
championships and has two Heisman vorite status to the Seminoles (10-3), has a chance to win it all, not only win the The ACC doesn’t have a new coach for the first time since
Trophy winners in that span, including who return 18 starters on offense and ACC, but win a national championship.” 2006.
THE FAVORITES ON THE HOT SEAT?
reigning trophy winner Lamar Jackson defense. And the Cardinals (9-4) lurk n Atlantic: Florida State. The Seminoles lost league-lead- Boston College’s Steve Addazio guided the Eagles to a
of Louisville. right behind with Jackson’s return with ing rusher Dalvin Cook, but sophomore quarterback Deondre bowl win, but they’re a combined 2-14 in the ACC the past two
Now it’s up to the ACC to maintain its the chance to join Ohio State’s Archie Francois is back while the defense returns 11 starters. That list seasons.

LEAGUE CHAMP PENN STATE OVERSHADOWED BY OHIO STATE
BY ERIC OLSON
BIG TEN mance in the last-second Rose looking for his first win over Ohio State. Indiana’s Tom Allen was promoted from de-
The Associated Press Bowl loss to Southern Califor- West Division: Wisconsin brings back an ex- fensive coordinator to head coach after the firing
PRESEASON POLL nia. Trace McSorley led the Big
perienced QB in Alex Hornibrook and a seasoned
defense from its 11-win team. The Badgers don’t
of Kevin Wilson. Allen oversaw remarkable im-
Reigning Big Ten Confer- (First-place votes in parentheses, Ten in passer rating and threw play Ohio State, and their toughest road game is
provement of one of the FBS’ worst defenses, and
ence champion Penn State re- followed by points) with QB Richard Lagow returning, the Hoosiers
for four touchdowns in both the at Nebraska.
should make a run at a third straight bowl if they
turns a Heisman Trophy can- EASTERN DIVISION Big Ten championship game Northwestern has a three-year starting QB
n 1. Ohio State (34) ....... 260 points can survive a tough first half of the season.
didate at running back and a against Wisconsin and the in Clayton Thorson and a workhorse in RB Justin
n 2. Penn State (7) ................ 231.5 Jackson . Back-to-back games against Wisconsin Jeff Brohm won back-to-back Conference
record-setting quarterback, bowl. The question is whether USA titles at Western Kentucky before moving to
n 3. Michigan (1) ...................... 192 (away) and Penn State (home) come early.
and the Nittany Lions general- a defense that allowed 34 points Iowa will rely heavily on 1,000-yard rusher Purdue. He takes over a program that hasn’t won
n 4. Michigan State .................. 128
ly are regarded as one of the 10 a game against ranked oppo- Akrum Wadley and a veteran offensive line as it more than three games since 2012.
n 5. Indiana ............................. 114
best teams in the country. nents can hold up its end. breaks in a new QB. Penn State visits in Septem- ON THE HOT SEAT
n 6. Maryland ....................... 100.5 ber, but the hardest part of the schedule comes
They’re not even picked to n 7. Rutgers .............................. 38 A three-week stretch span- Michigan State’s Mark Dantonio built up con-
in November.
win their division this season. WESTERN DIVISION ning October and November TOP PLAYERS
siderable capital by winning the Big Ten in 2015.
The Big Ten East favorite, — Michigan at home and road Serious off-field problems and a 3-9 campaign in
n 1. Wisconsin (31) ........ 259 points n Penn State’s Barkley is going for a third
2016 make this an important year for the 11th-year
as usual, is Ohio State, which n 2. Northwestern (5) ............... 219 games at Ohio State and Mich- straight 1,000-yard season. Ohio State QB J.T.
coach.
is loaded with as much talent as n 3. Nebraska (2) .................. 176.5 igan State — likely will be the Barrett should flourish under new offensive coor-
Rutgers’ Chris Ash and Illinois’ Lovie Smith
ever and motivated to atone for n 4. Iowa .............................. 164.5 key to the Lions’ season. dinator Kevin Wilson. Northwestern’s Jackson will
finish his career as the FBS’ No. 7 rusher if he are going into their second seasons and have big
an embarrassing finish to 2016. n 5. Minnesota ........................ 131 THE FAVORITES
matches last season’s 1,524 yards. buy-outs, but the clock is starting on both. Rutgers
n 6. Purdue ............................... 57 East Division: Ohio State has 15 starters
So as great an accomplish- back after having seven players drafted, including n Ohio State DL Tyquan Lewis was Big Ten beat only one FBS opponent in 2016 and Illinois
ment as it was for Penn State to n 6. Illinois ................................ 57 defensive lineman of the year in 2016. Indiana LB won three games, two fewer than in 2015.
six of the top 70 picks. You can be sure Urban
go from being picked fourth in Meyer will have the Buckeyes on a redemption Tegray Scales led the nation with 23.5 tackles for MARK YOUR CALENDARS
loss and a Big Ten-leading 126 stops. Iowa LB
the division to winning its first ed about it. The media’s talk- tour after they lost 31-0 to Clemson in the College
Josey Jewell has started 30 straight games and
Florida vs. Michigan, Sept. 2 in Arlington,
Football Playoff semifinals. Texas; Pittsburgh at Penn State, Nebraska at Or-
league title since 2008, another ed about it,” Franklin said. Penn State also feels it has something to made 124 tackles last season.
egon, Oklahoma at Ohio State, Sept. 9; Wiscon-
grind is about to start. Coach “They’ve been given rings. prove. The Nittany Lions beat Ohio State and won NEW FACES
sin at BYU, Sept. 16; Northwestern at Wisconsin,
James Franklin wants his play- So that’s behind us. We have the conference — and were left out of the playoff P.J. Fleck takes his “Row the Boat” mantra
Sept. 30; Wisconsin at Nebraska, Oct. 7; Michi-
ers to put last season out of moved on.” because of losses to Pittsburgh and Michigan. from Western Michigan to Minnesota. The Go-
Michigan, with losses in three of its last four phers won nine games under Tracy Claeys in gan at Penn State, Oct. 21; Penn State at Ohio
their minds. Saquon Barkley thrust him- games, is still waiting for the big payoff from its 2016, but things got ugly at the end with a threat- State, Oct. 28; Michigan at Wisconsin, Nov. 18;
“We’ve talked about it self into 2017 Heisman consid- splash hire of Jim Harbaugh. He’s finished third ened player bowl boycott and sexual assault in- Iowa at Nebraska, Nov. 24; Ohio State at Michi-
enough. The fans have talk- eration after a dominant perfor- in the East each of his first two years and still is vestigation. gan, Nov. 25.

OKLAHOMA WOULD HAVE TO FACE REMATCH FOR ANOTHER TITLE
BY STEPHEN HAWKINS
BIG 12 PRESEASON POLL first-time head coach after Bob Stoops’ into coach Mike Gundy’s 13th season with quarterback Mason
The Associated Press Rudolph (4,091 yards passing, 28 touchdowns, four intercep-
(First-place votes in parentheses, surprising retirement in June. “If you
tions), receiver James Washington (71 catches, 1,380 yards,
followed by points) don’t enjoy that sense of pressure and 10 touchdowns) and running back Justice Hill (1,142 yards
Oklahoma or Texas has won the last n 1. Oklahoma (19) ................................. 303 those expectations, then it’s probably rushing).
seven Big 12 championship games. n 2. Oklahoma State (12) ........................ 294 not the place for you.” TOP PLAYERS
When the conference title game re- n 3. Kansas State (1) .............................. 231 New Longhorns coach Tom Herman, n Mayfield. The former walk-on freshman starter at Texas
sumes this season after a six-year hia- n 4. Texas .............................................. 213
a graduate assistant at Texas for Mack Tech has passed for 7,665 yards and 76 touchdowns while lead-
tus, the Red River rivals could be facing n 5. TCU ................................................. 202 ing the Sooners to the last two Big 12 titles.
n 6. West Virginia .................................... 183 Brown in 1999 and 2000, was 22-4 the n Oklahoma State’s offensive trio of Rudolph, Washington
each other for the second time that sea- last two years as Houston’s coach after and Hill.
n 7. Baylor .............................................. 129
son. Or maybe it will be a rematch be- n 8. Texas Tech ......................................... 85 being offensive coordinator for Ohio n Dorance Armstrong Jr., a 6-foot-4, 246-pound defensive
tween the Sooners and Oklahoma State, n 9. Iowa State ......................................... 83 State’s national championship team end at Kansas who had 10 sacks and led the Big 12 with 20
though they wouldn’t play consecutive n 10. Kansas ............................................ 37 three seasons ago.
tackles for loss last year.
n Travin Howard and Ty Summers, two linebackers at
weeks since the regular Bedlam game Herman takes over a Texas team TCU. Howard had a Big 12-high 130 tackles last season and
is now set for the first Saturday of No- again in the title game — a guaranteed coming off three consecutive losing sea- Summers was second with 121.
vember and not at the end of the regular rematch in the only Power Five league sons for the first time since the 1930s. n Allen Lazard, Iowa State’s big-play receiver. His 1,018
season. with a round-robin schedule. That could “What’s the past is in the past,” Her- yards receiving included school-record six 100-yard games.
The championship game is back in mean the first-ever December game be- NEW FACES
man said. “Our job is to make sure that Baylor coach Matt Rhule. After consecutive 10-win sea-
the Big 12, which was left out of the Col- tween Oklahoma and Texas, both with whatever happened doesn’t happen sons at Temple, Rhule has likely the biggest challenge of the
lege Football Playoff in two of the first new coaches and teams that haven’t again.” league’s three new coaches, taking over in the aftermath of
three years. faced each other twice in the same sea- THE FAVORITES Baylor’s sexual assault scandal. Rhule said his focus is on
“We’ve been responsive to what we son since 1903. Oklahoma is a heavy favorite in the Big 12 as usual, even building a program, not a team, and building a culture, not an
with the unexpected coaching change, the loss of another attitude.
heard from the CFP,” Big 12 Commis- Oklahoma, with Heisman Trophy fi-
Heisman finalist (big-play receiver Dede Westbrook) and the Will Grier, West Virginia’s quarterback. Redshirted last
sioner Bob Bowlsby said, referring to nalist quarterback Baker Mayfield back early departures of two running backs (Samaje Perine and Joe season after transferring from Florida, where he threw for 1,204
that “13th data point” the title game cre- for his senior season, will be going for Mixon) to the NFL. Mayfield is among nine returning offensive yards in six games as a freshman in 2015.
ates for the league. its third consecutive Big 12 title — and starters, and six of the top eight tacklers are back. The Sooners ON THE HOT SEAT
But the league didn’t return to divi- 11th overall. go into the season with a 10-game winning streak, the longest Texas Tech scores plenty under fifth-year coach Kliff
among FBS teams. Kingsbury, averaging 38.8 points and 540 total yards a game.
sions, which it had through 2010 when “I’ve always envisioned it being more Oklahoma State has never played in the Big 12 champion- But the Red Raiders have allowed 39.6 points per game and
there were 12 teams. So the top two like this. Of course, you get the pressure ship game, and won its only title in the league in 2011, the first gone 24-26 under their former quarterback. While going 5-7 last
teams in the Big 12 standings will play with it,” said 33-year-old Lincoln Riley, a year that championship game wasn’t played. The Cowboys go year, they scored 524 points — and gave up 522.

WASHINGTON, USC APPEAR PRIMED FOR ANOTHER YEAR AT TOP
BY GREG BEACHAM
PAC-12 PRESEASON POLL complish that. That’s always don’t get much national attention, but the speedy
The Associated Press our goal and always our expec- tailback is primed for a breakout year.
(First-place votes in parentheses, followed by points) n Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA. The touted pass-
NORTH DIVISION SOUTH DIVISION tation.” er missed half of his sophomore season with inju-
LOS ANGELES — The n 1. Washington (49) 309 n 1. USC (49) 309 The rest of the league is ries. With Jedd Fisch becoming his third offensive
Pacific-12 Conference n 2. Stanford (1) 247 n 2. Utah (1) 220 fighting to catch up to the pre- coordinator in three years, he could swiftly return
divisional races will be short on n 3. Washington State (1) 206 n 3. UCLA (1) 209 season favorites. his NFL draft stock to its former heights.
drama if preseason projections n 4. Oregon (1) 163 n 4. Colorado (1) 182 The Colorado Buffaloes are n Lowell Lotulelei, DT, Utah. Star Lotulelei’s
translate into regular-season n 5. Oregon State 101 n 5. Arizona State 109 out to prove their rapid ascent 320-pound little brother is the heir to the Utes’ tra-
results on the West Coast. n 6. California 64 n 6. Arizona 61 dition of vaunted defensive line play.
wasn’t a fluke. Stanford and Or- n Royce Freeman, RB, Oregon. The star re-
Washington and Southern egon are eager to chase Wash- turned for another season, and the Ducks are a
California are major favorites to Washington is coming off its Darnold, who led the Trojans ington for the top spot they prime candidate for a quick rebound.
earn a showdown in the confer- best season in a quarter-centu- to nine consecutive victories shared for years, while Wash- n Iman Marshall, CB, USC. The junior better
ence title game in Santa Clara in ry. Quarterback Jake Brown- to end the season. USC returns ington State and UCLA could known as “Biggie” is the latest in the Trojans’ lin-
December, and both are consid- ing led the Huskies to an 8-1 with its usual array of NFL- prove to be threats with their eage of big-hitting defensive backs.
ered national title contenders. record in Pac-12 play last year, bound playmakers, but coach NEW FACES
own standout quarterbacks. Willie Taggart moves back to the West Coast
In a conference crowded but coach Chris Petersen isn’t Clay Helton isn’t taking any- THE FAVORITES to take on the third rebuilding project of his head
with untested young teams assuming his Huskies are guar- thing for granted, either. North: Washington. Nobody is betting coaching career at Oregon, where Mark Helfrich
and perennial powers in search anteed a spot atop the North. Helton said he opened his against Petersen’s machine yet, but the Cardinal
was fired two years after reaching the national title
and Ducks have the rosters to make it interesting
of bounce-back seasons, the “I don’t think you reload,” training camp with a brief rem- if the Huskies have the injury problems they avoid-
game. He pulled Jim Leavitt away from Colora-
Huskies and Trojans are built Petersen said. “That’s not our iniscence about the epic Rose ed last season.
do as defensive coordinator. Justin Wilcox got a
around talented starting quar- mentality at all. At all. We re- Bowl triumph over Penn State. South: USC. The Trojans’ usual stratospher- slightly late start to his first head coaching job at
California, which has one winning season since
terbacks who have already build. That’s just the mindset. “But then I asked the next ic expectations aside, they’re the only program in
2011. Wilcox hired former Eastern Washington
shown the mettle to win big We’re not even kind of the same question: ‘Are you satisfied?’” the division without serious rebuilding questions.
Utah is perennially solid, while Colorado has am- coach Beau Baldwin as his offensive coordinator.
games. Defending Pac-12 win- team we were last year. So Helton said. “And to a man, not ple motivation. ON THE HOT SEAT
ner Washington made the Col- that’s always our process. We one hand rose. Because we un- TOP PLAYERS Both schools in the Grand Canyon State are
lege Football Playoff while USC start from ground zero. We take derstand what USC is about. n Luke Falk, QB, Washington State. The at crossroads. Arizona’s Rich Rodriguez finished
Cougars’ big-armed passer needs 27 touchdown last in the South with his first losing record after
won the Rose Bowl last season, nothing for granted.” It’s about winning Pac-12 titles,
passes to match the conference record set in 2012 five years in charge, while Arizona State’s Todd
and large portions of those The Huskies’ only regu- and it’s about winning national by USC’s Matt Barkley. There’s little doubt he’ll get Graham is coming off two straight losing seasons.
championship teams are back lar-season loss came at home championships. And the fact them in Mike Leach’s high-octane offense. Jim Mora’s seat has no real heat at UCLA, but the
in uniform this fall. to USC and quarterback Sam of the matter is we did not ac- n Ryan Nall, RB Oregon State. The Beavers Bruins want a bounce-back year as well.