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Mississippi State football to face Middle Tennessee State in 2012


Matt Stevens


STARKVILLE - Mississippi State's football schedule for next season is now complete. 


After a six-month search to find a Football Bowl Subdivision opponent, MSU officials announced Friday afternoon a one-game contract to play Middle Tennessee State University at Davis Wade Stadium on Oct. 20. 


The Bulldogs program is paying $930,000, the highest payout in school history, for what will mark the fifth meeting between the two programs with MSU winning the previous four contests. 


MSU athletics director Scott Stricklin confirmed the news on his Twitter account Friday by announcing the 2012 slate.  


Middle Tennessee finish this past season with a 2-10 record, which was its worst mark since moving to FBS competition in 1999.  


The most recent matchup between the two programs was in 2009 when the Bulldogs became the first SEC program to play in Murfreesboro, Tenn., and MSU won the game 27-6. In that contest, Anthony Dixon became the all-time leading rusher in school history. 


This open date in October became an issue last June when Louisiana Tech paid the MSU athletic department $300,000 to buy their way out of the scheduled game in Starkville. 


Louisiana Tech will still play MSU in a two-for-one series where MSU hosts the school from the Western Athletic Conference in 2015 and 2017. MSU will travel to Ruston, La., for a contest in 2016. 


Louisiana Tech athletics director Bruce Van De Velde claimed numerous reasons for the move starting with a conflict over the date of the 2012 game with the Southeastern Conference television partners. However, it would be later reported that same day that Louisiana Tech has signed to play a 2012 nonconference game at Virginia for a bigger guaranteed payday. 


"Number one was that Mississippi State asked us to move the game to a later date in 2012 due to a request from the SEC involving television scheduling not for this particular game," Louisiana Tech athletic director Bruce Van De Velde stated. "We could not fulfill this request so we asked to move the game to a later year and Mississippi State declined. At that point we elected not to play the game. This also allowed us to schedule a sixth home game in 2012." 


The MSU nonconference schedule is now locked in again until 2017 and gives them seven home games next year.  


Here's the rest of what MSU's nonconference schedules will look like for the next five years. 


- 2012 


Sept. 1 - Jackson State 


Sept. 15 - at Troy 


Sept. 22 - South Alabama 


Oct. 20 - Middle Tennessee 




- 2013 


Aug. 31 - Mississippi Valley State 


Sept. 7 - at UAB 


Oct. 12 - Bowling Green 


TBA - Troy 




- 2014 


Aug. 30 - Southern Mississippi 


Sept. 6 - UAB 


Sept. 20 - at South Alabama 


TBA - TBA (likely FBS opponent) 




- 2015 


Sept. 5 - at Southern Mississippi 


Sept. 12 - Louisiana Tech 


TBA - Troy 


TBA - TBA (likely FBS opponent) 




- 2016 


Sept. 10 - South Alabama 


Sept. 17 - at Louisiana Tech 


Sept. 24 - Tulane 


TBA - TBA (likely FBS opponent)  




All of the Dispatch MSU Sports Blog readers: feel free to follow me on Twitter at http://twitter.com/matthewcstevens for up-to-date Mississippi State coverage. 




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