November 24, 2008
Croom's Monday Teleconference
Being underdogs in nothing new to Sylvester Croom and Mississippi State.
The Bulldogs will be in that position once more on Friday taking on in-state nemesis No. 25 Ole Miss in the Egg Bowl with the Rebels favored by 13 ½ points.
"I'm not surprised," Croom said. "They've played extremely well lately. We haven't scored a lot of points this year and they are throwing the ball extremely well. I think it's been a while since we've won up there so that doesn't surprise me. But the main thing about it is none of that makes any difference. We expected to be underdogs going in there. We've been underdogs a lot of times before. It's nothing to us."
A win on Friday may not look like much on paper for MSU. They would still finish the season 5-7 and 2-5 in the Southeastern Conference and be watching from home when bowl games begin. But a victory over the Rebels would do plenty to boost moral around Starkville heading into the offseason.
"The biggest thing is you end on a positive note," Croom said. "You feel good going into the offseason in getting ready for spring practice. We will continue into next season trying to develop a lot of young players. As frustrating as the season has been, there have been a lot of positives. We've had a lot of young guys who haven't played a lot get a lot of playing time. They will go into the season with game experience and confidence and understanding what it takes to play and win at this level."
The Bulldogs are coming off an impressive offensive showing in a 31-28 win over Arkansas this past weekend. State put up a balanced attack of rushing and passing to the tune of 445 yards against the Razorbacks.
Running back Anthony Dixon totaled 211 yards of offense in the game and three touchdowns and was named the SEC Offensive Player of the Week on Monday. Dixon carried 23 times for 179 yards and one touchdown. He also caught five passes out of the backfield for 32 yards and two more scores. Dixon was not brought down behind the line of scrimmage during the game.
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