STARKVILLE -- Young. Established. Re-focused. Timid. Maturing. Changed. A game of word association can be limiting and revealing at the same time. When Mississippi State seniors Breanna Richardson and Ketara Chapel are asked for one word to describe each of their first three seasons, it's illuminating to see how their choices reflect the ups and downs of their individual careers.
CLARKSDALE -- East Mississippi Community College freshman lineman Maleke Bell admits it took him about a month to adjust to playing on this level and feeling comfortable around his teammates. The same could be said for the Lions' defense as a whole. With the learning curve now firmly behind the squad, the former Starkville High standout is helping lead a defense that appears to be peaking at the right time.
STARKVILLE -- The Mississippi State football team has never lost to Kentucky with Dan Mullen as its coach. The Bulldogs' eighth-year coach is 7-0 against the Wildcats, MSU's permanent Southeastern Conference Eastern division foe. Mullen and MSU (2-4, 1-2 SEC) will look to remain perfect against Kentucky (3-3, 2-2) at 6:30 p.m. Saturday (SEC Network) at Commonwealth Stadium in Lexington, Kentucky.
STARKVILLE -- Peter Sirmon just shook his head when asked about the forced fumble in overtime against BYU.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- When talking to SEC coaches, the list of reasons why the league hasn't had a bigger presence recently in the NCAA tournament is long: Weak scheduling. Backlash for football dominance. Poor recruiting. Coaching turnover. Now, coaches say they've addressed all those hurdles but have one more to conquer -- perception.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The increased star power of the Southeastern Conference men's basketball coaching fraternity hasn't made an immediate impact. Those high-profile coaches have discovered this isn't a conference conducive to quick turnarounds. One year ago, Mississippi State's Ben Howland, Tennessee's Rick Barnes and Alabama's Avery Johnson arrived in the SEC while Florida began the post-Billy Donovan era with Mike White arriving from Louisiana Tech. Howland and Barnes had combined for four Final Fours and 32 NCAA tournament berths, while Johnson had coached the Dallas Mavericks to the NBA Finals.
STARKVILLE -- As the Mississippi State football team departed for Provo, Utah, last Friday, the running backs knew there was an opportunity to be had. Starter Brandon Holloway didn't make the trip with an undisclosed injury. Senior Ashton Shumpert earned his second-consecutive start, but sophomore Aeris Williams received the majority of the carries finished with career highs of 82 yards and 21 carries in a 28-21 loss to BYU in double overtime at LaVell Edwards Stadium.
Taking a vacation wasn't in Quinndary Weatherspoon's summer plans. Spending time away from the court also wasn't an option following a standout freshman season with the Mississippi State men's basketball team. So while friends relaxed and took time to get away from the daily rigors of college life, Weatherspoon attacked his "offseason" and took to the court. Training with his brother, Nick, in his hometown of Canton, Quinndary filled his days in May by making 400 shots from all over the court and hitting the weight room hard.
There is no time for a letdown for the East Mississippi Community College football team. After dropping the season opener, the Lions have faced an uphill battle to put themselves back in position to compete for a third National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) national championship in four seasons.
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Alabama dropped 49 points on a nationally ranked team and Southeastern Conference challenger, then went out and did it again. Now the Crimson Tide wants to keep rolling through another huge game. Alabama (7-0, 4-0 SEC) will play host to No. 6 Texas A&M (6-0, 4-0) at 2:30 p.m. Saturday (WCBI) in its second-straight top-10 matchup. The coaches and team leaders harp on staying grounded even after a 49-10 thrashing of then-No. 9 Tennessee, which followed another road win over No. 17 Arkansas (49-30).
STARKVILLE -- After a late kickoff Friday night in Provo, Utah, the Mississippi State football team didn't arrive back in Starkville until early Saturday morning. A 9:15 p.m. kickoff that resulted in a 28-21 double overtime loss to BYU at LaVell Edwards Stadium led to MSU returning to the Leo Seal Jr. Football Complex at 6:30 a.m. MSU coach Dan Mullen and his staff used Saturday to break down the BYU film and start preparing for Kentucky. The players had the weekend off.
After seeing a near-fatal blow to its Southeastern Conference championship hopes, the Ole Miss football team doesn't have time to wallow in pity. Instead, another rival and big opportunity in the Southeastern Conference awaits at 8 p.m. Saturday (ESPN), when No. 23 Ole Miss (3-3, 1-2 SEC) will face No. 25 LSU (4-2, 2-1) at Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, in the Magnolia Bowl.
SCOOBA -- The Lions are back. The East Mississippi Community College football team slipped from the nation's subconscious a year ago. A season-ending brawl, a postseason ban, and a loss in this season's opener left the Lions a forgotten team.
STARKVILLE -- Chinwe Okorie looked like a machine. It was less than an hour into the Mississippi State women's basketball team's first practice of the 2016-17 and the 6-foot-5 senior center was moving well and keeping up with the Bulldogs' guards and forwards in a drill designed to have the players finish at the rim off fast breaks.
STARKVILLE -- "Slow down." Teaira McCowan isn't sure how many times she heard those words in her first season with the Mississippi State women's basketball time. If she had to guess, she probably would say she heard them more from MSU coach Vic Schaefer, associate head coach Johnnie Harris, who coaches the post players, and the rest of the coaching staff more than any other Bulldog. "Last year, I was really nervous about messing up and not doing well," McCowan said.
Challenges don't scare Roxanne Hernandez. Ever since she can remember, Hernandez has welcomed the feeling of having to perform at the highest level when faced with a deadline. Like most people, Hernandez acknowledges she has the worries, butterflies, and doubts she will be able to complete her work. When those thoughts bounce around in her head, all she has to do is come back to the words of her mother, Linda, and she is fine.
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- The top-ranked Alabama football team wouldn't allow Tennessee to produce another comeback. Jalen Hurts and Bo Scarbrough each rushed for more than 100 yards Saturday and No. 1 Alabama again got points from its defense and special teams in a 49-10 blowout of No. 9 Tennessee. It was the most lopsided victory by either team in this rivalry since a 51-0 Alabama victory in 1906.
SCOOBA -- Ti'Morrius Conner had a big smile on his face as he removed his jersey and pads. As he prepared to meet friends and family and celebrate a victory, the East Mississippi Community College freshman reveled in the fact he had bragging rights over a former teammate. Conner, a former standout quarterback at Noxubee County High School, held those bragging rights over former Noxubee County High teammate Wesley Bush on Saturday after No. 4 EMCC beat No. 1 Northwest Mississippi C.C 51-32 in a Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges (MACJC) game Saturday at Sullivan-Windham Field.
PROVO, UTAH -- Taysom Hill threw for three touchdowns, including the game-winner in double overtime Friday night to give the BYU football team a 28-21 victory against Mississippi State at LaVell Edwards Stadium. Fans stormed the field after BYU linebacker Fred Warner broke up a fourth-down pass in the end zone by quarterback Nick Fitzgerald to end the game. It was the first time Hill has thrown for three touchdowns since the 2014 season opener.
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. -- Jared Cornelius scored on a 6-yard touchdown run late in the fourth quarter to lift the No. 22 Arkansas football team to a 34-30 victory against No. 12 Ole Miss on Saturday night. The win is the third in a row for the Razorbacks (5-2, 1-2 Southeastern Conference) against the Rebels, who have lost three of their first six games a season after winning the Sugar Bowl.
1. Noxubee County isn't looking past Caledonia HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
2. Seniors Richardson, Chapel poised to play key roles COLLEGE SPORTS
3. Leadership will be key for MSU women LOCAL COLUMNS
4. Playoff fates will be on line in Week 10 LOCAL COLUMNS
5. Bulldogs want to build on defensive effort vs. Cougars COLLEGE SPORTS