STARKVILLE — According to multiple reports, a season opening football matchup between Mississippi State University and Oklahoma State University is being considered by both schools.
FOX 26 Sports out of Houston via unnamed sources Tuesday that a game to be played at Reliant Stadium in Houston on Aug. 31, 2013 between the two schools has been agreed on in principle. The Fox affiliate out of Houston reports Lone Star Sports & Entertainment, a third-party event marketing company based in Houston and closely affiliated with the Houston Texans of the National Football League, have brokered the deal between the two schools and a television partner.
LSSE, in conjunction with ESPN, annually hosts the Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas at Reliant Stadium.
The Bulldogs have had a vacancy in its 2013 slate since MSU Director of Athletics Scott Stricklin confirmed to The Dispatch in June with the cancellation of its contract with Mississippi Valley State University.
Stricklin said the game against MVSU, scheduled for Aug. 31, 2013 at Davis Wade Stadium, was called off because of a rule prohibiting Football Bowl Subdivision, previously called Division I-A, teams from counting a win against an Football Championship Subdivision, previously called Division I-AA, team that does not meet the NCAA’s financial aid requirements.
MSU is scheduled to play home games against Troy University and Bowling Green State University next season and is under contract to visit the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
Stricklin declined to comment on the reports of the game against OSU when reached by The Dispatch Tuesday.
The last time MSU had a non-conference season opener on ESPN was a 28-10 victory at the University of Texas on Sept. 5, 1992. The Bulldogs have not played a non-conference opponent at a neutral site since defeating Tulane University 21-14 on Sept. 17, 2005 in Shreveport, La.
MSU and OSU have played four times, splitting the all-time series. The Cowboys, who just fell out of the Associated Press and USA Today Coaches’ poll, defeated MSU 42-23 in Stillwater in 1998 but the Bulldogs got a 29-11 victory in the return game in Starkville during the following season.
Mullen hasn’t played a Bowl Championship Series school in his non-conference play since 2009, his first season in Starkville in a schedule he inherited from the previous coach Sylvester Croom, and this potential game in Houston would deviate from the program’s previously consistent scheduling philosophy.
Over the past three seasons, MSU has had a non-conference schedule of four mid-major opponents and has made sure three of them are at Davis Wade Stadium. During this stretch of scheduling, Mullen has been able to win 12 straight non-conference games.
“My hope is we play a really good high-profile non-conference opponent every December or January,” Stricklin said in May 2010. “I want to schedule in a way that allows us the opportunity to do that.”
n Dogs defense stealing calls from line of scrimmage: Members of the MSU football defense said they had the Auburn University offensive signals and calls stolen by the start of the game Saturday.
Senior defensive back Corey Broomfield and senior linebacker Cam Lawrence have said after MSU’s 28-10 victory over Auburn University Saturday that they were sure what the Tigers offense was calling from the line of scrimmage before the ball was snapped.
“We do a great job of preparing and we knew what the play was before they ever ran them,” Broomfield said. “That’s not a joke. We knew what they were doing, where the ball was going and who was getting it before the ball was snapped.”
Lawrence had a team-high 10 tackles Saturday with 1.5 tackles for a loss and a sack of Auburn quarterback Kiehl Frazier. The Bulldogs middle linebacker said after the game he saw in Frazier’s early demeanor that their pressure had gotten to him.
“It makes our job as coaches so much easier when Cam Lawrence is signaling over his head every time they were calling a pass,” MSU co-defensive coordinator/linebackers coach Geoff Collins said Monday.
Frazier, who had just 18 yards passing through the first three quarters in Starkville, was completely taken out of comfort zone from behind center was what the MSU coaching staff called the ‘trickle down effect.’ The effect is similar to when a baseball team steals the signs of the opposing team but the obvious difference being the speed of the reaction time and physical nature of what happens in football after the play begins.
“My teammates and I got into his head and that’s one thing I’m going to do every game if you’re on offense against me,” Lawrence said Saturday. “He would call out the signals and I’d tell everybody what the play was and he’d get that confused look in his face.”
Lawrence was seen during Saturday’s win waving his hand over his helmet back and forth if Auburn was getting ready to run a pass play.
“If you listen to Cam, he’s is like a good traffic director,” Broomfield said. “He’ll get you going in the right direction so you have to just pay attention and trust it.”