Friday, October 31, 2014  SUBSCRIBE   
Mississippi State Homecoming Week Events Start Sunday
Mississippi State's Student Association is announcing a week of homecoming activities beginning Sunday. The varied events conclude the following Saturday [the 8th] with the non-Southeastern Conference football game with the University of Tennessee at Martin and halftime presentation of the 2014 homecoming queen and court. This year's theme is "In Maroon We Trust."
Mississippi State: Leave the drones at home
Mississippi State University is sending a reminder that flying drones over campus on football game days is prohibited. Federal Aviation Administration officials say stadiums are "national defense airspace" and prohibit air traffic within three miles of a stadium or lower than 3,000 feet above a playing field. The university sent out the reminder because of an increasing number of aircraft being used to record video of tailgating and game events across the country. School officials say commercial and non-commercial unmanned aircraft of any size must have been granted waivers to be flown over campus on game days.
Researchers: Trapping, not hunting, best way to control wild hogs
Many Mississippians enjoy the sport of hunting wild pigs, but trapping is a better way to control the rapidly growing population that is destroying forests, damaging agricultural resources and threatening native wildlife in the state. "Population studies by scientists show that hunting only removes about 25 percent of the population on average," said Bill Hamrick, a wildlife associate with the Mississippi State University Extension Service and the Forest and Wildlife Research Center. Traps can remove a greater number of pigs from an area at once, he said. Traps also require less time and effort than other removal methods, such as hunting or exclusion fencing. "Whether hunting or trapping, it's important to take proper precautions when working with wild pigs," Hamrick said.
Agencies address growing wild hog problem
From one community to another across Mississippi, people see the wild hog population either as posing a significant threat or presenting a good hunting opportunity. Mississippi State University has developed a website at to help landowners learn different methods of control. The university also is conducting a landowner survey, requesting landowners to fill out a survey form online or printed out and mailed in at http://wildpiginfo. Mississippi State also is underscoring the extent of the wild hog problem with its hiring of two specialists who will focus on wild hog damage mitigation, said Bronson Strickland, Extension Service wildlife specialist.
Special Olympics Mississippi to hold first-ever 'Unified Egg Bowl'
The Egg Bowl football game is the most divisive annual event in Mississippi households, and that sentiment will be stronger than ever as both Mississippi State and Ole Miss teams experience historically successful seasons in 2014. This year, Special Olympics Mississippi will unify the schools and the state with the first Special Olympics Unified Egg Bowl on Nov. 19 at 3 p.m. on the campus of MSU. Special Olympics athletes with intellectual disabilities will play flag football on teams alongside traditional college students from MSU and Ole Miss. Fans of both schools can also use this opportunity to donate funds that will be used to establish Special Olympics programs on the campuses of both Ole Miss and Mississippi State. The school that raises the most money will get a three-point advantage to start the game.
Mississippi State Hosts Safety Fair
Mississippi State University is sending a warning about drinking and driving. The Health Education and Wellness Department at MSU kicked off a series of programs Thursday to warn students and staff about the dangers of impaired driving. During a safety fair, local law enforcement agencies and organizations like Students Against Drunk Driving discussed and distributed safety information.
Impaired driving fair held at Mississippi State
Demonstrators at the Impaired Driving Safety Fair at Mississippi used goggles to let students see what it feels like to be impaired by alcohol. Their point was, if you can't stand up or walk straight while impaired, you certainly have no business driving. The goggles proved to be a big hit with the students which is just what organizers hoped for. "We want our MSU students to be healthy and to succeed in academics. And so this helps in developing the overall well-being of our students," said Joyce Yates of MSU, an organizer.
Mississippi State Engineering Students Recognized for Africa Project
Mississippi State's student chapter of Engineers Without Borders is capturing national attention as its parent organization earns an award for international humanitarian work. Engineers Without Borders-USA recently was honored with the Engineering and Construction Contracting Association's 2014 Spirit Award at a ceremony in Orlando, Florida. The recognition singled out the university chapter's water project in Zambia as an example of work with far-reaching effects but fraught with logistical challenges. Chapter adviser Dennis Truax said the project -- the MSU chapter's first of a kind -- "has the potential to improve the lives of thousands of people living in villages throughout Simwatachela," adding, "But installing wells in rural, sub-Saharan Africa is not as easy as drilling them in Mississippi."
Research on dogs could lead to better understanding of human cancer
A research team at Mississippi State University's College of Veterinary Medicine is working to better understand cancer in dogs, and the work also could advance knowledge of human cancer. Their investigation began with only a tiny blood platelet, but quickly they discovered opportunities for growth and expanding the breadth of the research. "We have a lot to gain by looking at platelets and how they influence cancer and healing," said Dr. Camillo Bulla.
Mississippi State Professor Earns State Honor
Pamela Scott-Bracey, a College of Education assistant professor at Mississippi State University, is the 2014 Mississippi Business Education Association's University Educator of the Year. In years prior to this award, when she was pursuing her undergraduate degree at the University of Southern Mississippi, she received the Future Business Teacher of the Year award from Future Business Leaders of America-Phi Beta Lambda. The award proved an accurate prediction. Scott-Bracey said she was recording winners' names as part of her role as MBEA's secretary when leaders announced she won the University Educator of the Year award. "When they called my name, I was still typing," she said.
Analysis: 2015 election pressure keeps Oktibbeha supervisors away from zoning issue
Besides an apparent lack of public desire, there's an even bigger reason Oktibbeha County supervisors are unlikely to enact zoning regulations suggested by a pending comprehensive plan: any such new rules could shift the electorate in 2015's election, thereby oust incumbents who are expected to have tight races. Supervisors have used every opportunity to downplay the potential for such rules in the past year as the Oxford-based firm Slaughter and Associates prepared a rough draft of Oktibbeha County's upcoming comprehensive plan. The document outlines basic land uses in terms of expected growth and development, and is the foundation for legal action to establish zoning conditions. But supervisors will fall well short of pushing for such legislation as few constituents have made public calls for a zoning ordinance.
Halloween just another lucrative holiday for retailers
Every holiday we celebrate has special meaning and unique roots. We celebrate Jesus' birth on Christmas, and his resurrection on Easter. We look back on the settling of this country and break bread with our families on Thanksgiving. On Memorial Day, we give thanks to the soldiers who have safeguarded our freedoms for centuries. And on those and all other holidays, we shop. A lot. Halloween is no different. The National Retail Federation predicts some $7.4 billion will be spent this year on Halloween items. It's an eye-popping figure, especially considering the more ambitious spending we do at Christmastime.
East Mississippi Business Development Corporation Seeks Input from Membership
Members of the East Mississippi Business Development Corporation will put their heads together next week at the MSU Riley Center to talk about the future of Meridian. The EMBDC will be seeking input from stakeholders in the community. The agency is in transition with the departure of former president Wade Jones. Board of directors president, Bob Luke, says the search for new leadership is only one reason the meeting is being held. "Open, candid input. Their thoughts, good bad or ugly," said Luke of what the organization wants to hear from its membership.
Mississippi teen traffic fatalities spike in 2014
In 2013, 56 people aged 15 to 20 were killed on Mississippi's roads and highways. So far in 2014, 61 have died. That's 15 more than at this time last year. October was a particularly fatal month for teens this year, with 11 dying in crashes. Six of those were in two separate wrecks in Lincoln County. Sheriff Steve Rushing said his job is always hard, but when people's children don't come home, it makes his job really tough to take. "It's been an unusually large amount of teenagers in fatalities lately," he said. "My heart goes out to these parents and to this whole community." With Halloween today, police are asking people to be mindful that one wrong move can have deadly consequences.
Politics of paying for transportation: Hand wringing and a lot of talk
Giving further credence to the idea that to everything there is a season, a Mississippi legislator may find more job security driving a loaded-down tractor trailer over a crumbling bridge in the Delta than supporting a full fix for roads and bridges at the outset of the 2015 election season. Even beyond the 2015 elections, it's hardly guaranteed that Mississippi's elected leaders can find a politically safe way to embrace new fees and taxes to fund a backlog of road and bridge maintenance projected to be more than $2 billion, political scientists say. At the midpoint of the second decade of the new century, swearing allegiance to infrastructure upkeep can dangerously lower office holders' re-election chances, say University of Mississippi political science Chair John Bruce and Marty Wiseman, who retired last fall as director of Mississippi State University's Stennis Institute of Government after two decades in the post.
Leaders want one more year of study on comprehensive road, bridge upkeep
The chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee is hugely disappointed that Mississippi business leaders want to put off addressing a growing backlog of road and bridge upkeep until the 2016 session. Knowing that Republican legislative leaders likely will willingly go along with an extra year of delay, committee Chairman Willie Simmons, a Cleveland Democrat, will ask for bond money to cover repairs on bridges judged to be in the worst shape, many of which he says are in the Delta. "We have a tendency to kick the can down the road," he said in a recent interview. "The road is so bad it is tearing the can up as we kick it. We don't need to do that anymore."
Mike Moore: Prison killings need outside probe
Former Attorney General Mike Moore says an outside agency should investigate recent killings inside Mississippi prisons because of allegations some correctional officials may have played a role in events leading to the deaths. The Mississippi Department of Corrections' investigative arm, the Corrections Investigation Division, has investigated each of these killings. When he served as attorney general, that typically included his office, the state Department of Public Safety or "sometimes the FBI," he said. "That always happens." Doing so helps to avoid any conflict of interest, he said. "You don't want to be accused of being biased." When asked about Moore's comments, Corrections Commissioner Chris Epps replied, "We have no problem with an outside agency coming in. We have always been transparent."
Recovering Nunnelee seeks third term
U.S. Rep. Alan Nunnelee says he is still able to perform his duties representing Mississippi's 1st District, which includes most of Northeast Mississippi, despite suffering a stroke in June during brain surgery. Nunnelee faces three opponents as he seeks election to a third term Tuesday. "I'm real optimistic about my future and my recovery," the Tupelo Republican said in a phone interview Thursday. Nunnelee has been undergoing intensive rehabilitation. He has recovered his speech and spoke in-depth about a number of issues in the interview. He said rehab is ongoing, and he is just beginning to be able to walk, though he said he has been working on constituency services for some time.
Sojourner: Bryant statement 'dumbest I've ever heard'
Republican state Sen. Melanie Sojourner, campaign manager for erstwhile U.S. Senate candidate Chris McDaniel, appears set on cutting all ties with the state's current Republican leadership. On Facebook, Sojourner has posted one of Gov. Phil Bryant's statements sent out by the state GOP endorsing incumbent Republican U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran. Sojourner then adds: "Quite possibly the dumbest statement I have ever heard regarding the conservative movement."
Childers Contrasts His Record with Cochran's
Democrat Travis Childers, who served 3 years in the U.S. House, made a campaign stop in Meridian Thursday evening. He has criticized his Republican opponent, Sen. Thad Cochran, for being out-of-touch with Mississippians and voting to pass budget bills that contributed to the national debt. And Childers says a pro-Cochran ad aligning him with Washington liberals is also untrue. Childers says if he's elected, he would not vote for current majority leader, Harry Reid. He said Reid and others have been there too long and apparently forgotten why they were elected.
DMR heads 'ran it like they owned it' former employee told judge
He did not name names, but when Kerwin Cuevas pleaded guilty Thursday morning to embezzlement in state court, he said the people in charge at the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources "ran it like they owned it." Cuevas was the seventh and final DMR employee to plead guilty after lengthy federal and state investigations of corruption within the DMR under former director Bill Walker. Walker is serving five years in federal prison for conspiring to defraud the government. Circuit Court Judge Roger T. Clark sentenced Cuevas to three years' probation and fined him $2,000 for using a state card to embezzle boat fuel so he could fish in an Orange Beach, Ala., tournament. Cuevas, who headed the department's artificial reef program, also must pay back the money, a total of $1,367.75.
Mississippi mom pushes for regulation of caffeine pills after son dies from overdose
Noah DeWayne Smith was a typical 17-year-old. On Sept. 26, he was feeling the effects of his busy schedule. He complained about being tired and purchased a box of caffeine pills from the store where he worked. He took a "few," he told his friends and family members. And when they didn't work, he took a few more. After collapsing at home, Smith was taken to Baptist Memorial Hospital-North Mississippi in cardiac arrest. He was pronounced dead shortly after arrival. His has started a petition to ban the sale of caffeine pills to minors under 18 years old. Each time she walks into a store and sees the pills sitting on a shelf, her pain is relived and so is her determination to fight to get Noah's Law passed by the state Legislature in the 2015 session. State Rep. Tommy Reynolds, D-Yalobusha, is helping Westmoreland with her fight.
Congressional candidate: Arrest stemmed from family dispute
A domestic violence charge filed against a candidate in Mississippi's 4th District seat stemmed from a family dispute. Eli "Sarge" Jackson, the Reform Party candidate for the seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, said Thursday the arrest was the result of a May 19 altercation between his daughter, Colesha Jackson, and him. Eli Jackson, 57, was arrested Monday on a simple domestic violence charge. He was released from Forrest County Jail Thursday morning on a $1,000 bond. "This entire incident involved my daughter, Colesha, who suffers from mental illness," Jackson said. "She has been diagnosed as bipolar and is on medication." He said he is back on the campaign trail. "I've been in jail three days, that kinda has hindered me from getting out and campaigning," he said.
Democrats Lose Their Grip on Voters With Keys to the House
Democrats have long been losing their hold on districts that are largely white and rural, where incomes lag the national average and college graduates are relatively sparse. This year, Republicans may take more. Seven of the 39 House races rated most competitive by the nonpartisan Cook Political Report are in districts with large numbers of white, working-class voters; six of those districts are held by Democrats. In addition, one other such Democratic district is seen as likely to flip Republican. Reclaiming white, working-class voters is a tall order for Democrats, who have won the popular vote in five of the past six presidential elections with broad support from minorities, single women and younger voters. Democrats have won national elections with the message that government should help people through such programs as subsidized student loans, food stamps and the Affordable Care Act.
Rainbow revolution: U.S. welcoming gay marriage, changing politics
It would have been unimaginable even a couple of years ago. The most powerful Republican in Washington flew to San Diego this month to help raise money for an openly gay candidate for the House of Representatives. House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, wasn't just trying to help elect a Republican. He was trying to help his party build a new image, and reach out to voters it had spent the last decade shunning. His decision to campaign for gay candidates was met with surprisingly nominal opposition, which he was able to brush aside quickly. Little-noticed and making barely a stir, Boehner's trip was a potent sign of a fundamental shift in the country and its politics.
New Russian Boldness Revives a Cold War Tradition: Testing the Other Side
When the White House discovered in recent weeks that its unclassified computer systems had been breached, intelligence officials examined the digital evidence and focused on a prime suspect: Russia, which they believe is using its highly sophisticated cyber capabilities to test American defenses. But its tracks were well covered, and officials say they may never know for sure. They have no doubt, however, about what happened this week on the edges of NATO territory in Europe. More than two dozen Russian aircraft, including four Tu-95 strategic bombers, flew through the Baltic and Black Seas, along the coast of Norway and all the way to Portugal, staying over international waters but prompting NATO forces to send up intercepting aircraft. Taken together, they represent the old and the updated techniques of Cold War signal-sending.
1,000 Flavors of Banana: the New Science of Food Additives
Lately, the technological advances that spawned multicolored breakfast cereals like Froot Loops and fat-free yogurt in flavors like red-velvet cupcake are colliding with burgeoning demand for more-natural food with simpler ingredients, which many consumers regard as healthier. Balancing these overlapping trends is proving tricky for the food industry, which is under pressure to find reliable, inexpensive natural sources of ingredients long synthesized in laboratories. People have relied for millennia on salt and spices to flavor and preserve their food. But the use of modern chemistry to enhance food really took off during World War II, as the government sought to make meals tastier, less perishable and more nutritious for fighting men overseas.
MUW Plays Host to Trick or Treaters
Some little kiddies got a little early Halloween fun on Thursday courtesy of MUW. Children from the Child Parent Development Center went trick-or-treating around MUW's campus. The happy little campers wore Halloween masks and carried jack-o-lantern candy buckets. Faculty and staff eagerly handed out tasty treats.
Auburn nursing students learn to prevent spread of infectious disease
All it takes is a slight touch for an infectious disease to spread. Students in the Auburn University School of Nursing learned this Thursday morning during an infectious-disease simulation through which they saw just how easy it is for hospital workers to contract a spreadable disease from a patient they are caring for. "When people are providing care, they wind up leaning up against things," said Teresa Gore, simulation coordinator at the Auburn University School of Nursing. "They touch (the patient), and then they touch their face. That's what we're trying to teach them. They have to be aware of wherever they are and what they're touching."
Auburn University senior and recent graduate named Rhodes Scholarship finalists
Auburn University senior Tofey Leon and 2014 graduate Azeem Ahmed have been selected as finalists for the prestigious Rhodes Scholarship. If awarded, they will be among 32 U.S. students to receive the honor for an opportunity to study at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom. Both Leon and Ahmed will interview in Birmingham in late November. Leon and Ahmed's selection marks the fifth consecutive year that Auburn University students have been named as finalists. "These two Auburn students have excelled throughout their academic careers," said Melissa Bauman, Auburn University assistant provost and director of the Honors College.
Tech Park Has $522M Impact, U. of Arkansas Study Finds
The Arkansas Research & Technology Park has had an economic impact of more than a half-billion dollars since it opened 10 years ago, according to a new economic impact analysis released Thursday by the Center for Business and Economic Research at the University of Arkansas. UA officials unveiled the report at a special event commemorating the 126-acre park's 10th anniversary. Construction on the research park began in 2003 and its first building, the Innovation Center, was dedicated on Oct. 15, 2004. "From the vantage of 10 years, it's clear that the Arkansas Research & Technology Park has been an unqualified success, and its anniversary is well worth taking some time to celebrate," said UA Chancellor G. David Gearhart told a crowd that gathered in the Innovation Center atrium.
Phillips 66 donates $1 million for Texas A&M's new College of Engineering building
Texas A&M University's Dwight Look College of Engineering announced Thursday that it has accepted a $1 million gift from Phillips 66 that will support the university's new Engineering Education Complex. The 533,000-square-foot facility will provide learning spaces, tutoring services, collaborative work spaces and design and fabrication laboratories. The company's donation will be used to create the "Phillips 66 Experiential Learning Laboratory" within the EEC and will help meet Look College's 25 by 25 Initiative by preparing students to meet the need of an evolving workplace. Phillips 66 Chairman and CEO Greg C. Garland, a Texas A&M chemical engineering graduate, said in a press release the company is committed to investing in education.
Researchers build ties at Texas A&M
A delegation of young researchers from Swansea University in Wales visited Texas A&M's Bush School of Government and Public Service to give guest lectures Thursday as part of their tour to strengthen cross-Atlantic ties with Texas schools. The Texas Research Showcase made a stop at the University of Houston earlier this week and will conclude its tour at the University of Texas at Austin on Friday. Lecturers representing a number of disciplines took the opportunity to take part in an exchange of research ideas and teaching methods with Texas A&M instructors in the same fields to find potential collaborative partners.
U. of Missouri forms search committee for Title IX administrator
A committee has been formed to recruit and interview candidates for the job of the Univerity of Missouri's Title IX administrator, according to an email from the office of Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin. Gary Ward, vice chancellor for operations and chief operating officer, will chair the committee. The Title IX administrator's job is to ensure that the campus community "responds to incidents of harassment and sexual misconduct in accordance with current best practices and guidelines issued by the U.S. Department of Education," the email said. The committee will begin meeting immediately and hopes to interview candidates at MU in December.
Federal Court Protects an Adjunct's Complaints About Working Conditions
A federal appeals court has ruled that the First Amendment protected an adjunct instructor's public complaints about how her employer, an Illinois community college, deals with people in her position. In a decision handed down on Thursday, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit unanimously held that the First Amendment precluded Moraine Valley Community College from firing Robin Meade, a part-time business instructor and adjunct-union head, for telling an international organization that her college mistreats adjuncts in ways that hurt students' education. The sort of retaliation alleged in Ms. Meade's lawsuit is a common fear among adjunct instructors, who lack tenure and, at most colleges, can be removed simply by being denied work in the future.
Higher ed, especially tuition, an issue in governors races
Battles over funding and college costs are being fought in races for governor across the country. These state races are likelier to have a more immediate effect than much of what Congress or the Obama administration may do. States, after all, are spending about $72 billion a year on higher education. Often enough -- perhaps because it's easiest to talk about in sound bites and gets the attention of key voting blocs -- tuition prices are the main higher education-related topic. Other candidates get further into the weeds with talk of accountability and performance funding, though that's mostly in their written campaign platforms and white papers, or when higher education comes up in debates.
Education Startups Get Money, Advice From Federal Program
Education technology entrepreneurs trying to make it in the often insular and opaque school market have an unusual ally---one found not in the world of venture capital, but in a competitive federal program charged with guiding small companies to prosperity. The Small Business Innovation Research program, located within the research arm of the U.S. Department of Education, has seen applications for its grants jump recently, as the number of companies in the market has surged, and as the companies receiving financing through the program have gained traction in schools. Applications for the program's initial funding phase jumped over the past year from 180 to more than 250 for 12 grants awarded, and department officials say the quality of the companies seeking money has risen, too.
HARRINGTON (OPINION): Good for-profit colleges can help veterans succeed
U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Larry Harrington (ret.), who led Task Force Engineer, which facilitated recovery and stability efforts in South Mississippi after Hurricane Katrina, writes for The Hill: "Having spent over thirty years in the United States military, and retiring from the Army with the rank of brigadier general, I entered civilian life with good opportunities to both continue my service to the country and find ways to provide for my family. However, most men and women leaving the military do not have as many options as I had. I currently volunteer with the University of Southern Mississippi -- my alma mater -- to help identify educational opportunities for recent veterans. Therefore, I understand the challenges associated with helping military personnel prepare for life after their service. In the military, the role of for-profit colleges is a real hot button issue."

Arkansas gives different look for Mississippi State
It didn't take long for Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen to mention Arkansas' offensive line. After all, it's hard to miss the unit that averages 328 pounds per lineman. "They've got the biggest offensive line in the United States, including pro football," Mullen said. "So they're a big, big physical outfit." The Buffalo Bills have the largest line in the NFL, weighing, on average, four pounds less than Arkansas. Behind that line, Arkansas has rushed the ball 60 percent of its snaps. It's led to the nation's 15th best rushing attack, averaging 258 yards per game. "It's them and LSU that have been the predominantly I-back, downhill run game," MSU defensive coordinator Geoff Collins said. "They do a great job with it."
Progression of '1B' defense key for Bulldogs
Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen noticed it. So did Bulldogs' defensive coordinator Geoff Collins. When No. 1 MSU survived a 45-31 road win at Kentucky last Saturday, the Bulldogs did so in spite of struggles from MSU's second-team defense, dubbed the team's "1B" defense by Collins. At Kentucky, the 1B group gave up a pair of long touchdown passes, the first a 67-yarder from Kentucky quarterback Patrick Towles to wide receiver Demarco Robinson, the second a 58-yarder from Towles to Javess Blue. Asked about the performance of the 1B group, which includes 11 second-string players that are substituted frequently for MSU's starters in an effort to keep the MSU defense fresh for the fourth quarter, Mullen minced no words.
Gabe Myles living 'dream' with Mississippi State's No. 1 ranking
Gabe Myles wore maroon and white as a fan before he put on the colors as a player. The Mississippi State wide receiver grew up in Starkville. His father, Eddie, played football for the Bulldogs. Like most MSU fans he endured more than a few losing seasons. He always hoped Mississippi State would climb to No. 1. Deep down though, he wasn't sure if he'd ever see it. "I play NCAA (Football video game) all the time. That is the only hope I gave Mississippi State of being No. 1," Myles said. "So it's really nice. I always dreamed of it. But it was always a dream."
Film study helps Mississippi State's Brown shine
It's easy to notice Beniquez Brown before the ball is snapped. Watch any defensive possession for the No. 1 Mississippi State football team and you'll see Brown, a redshirt sophomore linebacker from Florence, Alabama, clapping, yelling, and/or pointing before the offense snaps the ball. Brown isn't trying to distract the quarterback or get the crowd into the game. Instead, he is letting his teammates know what's coming. Those habits have helped Brown carve a niche as the brains behind MSU's defensive brawn, the defensive doctor who diagnoses what opposing offenses are thinking. "It's fun watching film and carrying that into the game," said Brown, who is second on the team with 38 tackles. "The offense comes to the line and they don't think you know what's coming. But you know you do, and that's a great feeling."
Tom 'Shorty'' McWilliams joins Mississippi State's Ring of Honor
Tom "Shorty" McWilliams, a four-time All-Southeastern Conference selection and one of the greatest backs in Mississippi State football history, will become the newest member of the MSU Ring of Honor inside Davis Wade Stadium at Scott Field in a halftime ceremony Saturday. Mississippi State hosts Arkansas on Saturday. McWilliams will become the sixth Bulldog legend to join the Ring of Honor, joining Johnie Cooks, Jack Cristil, Kent Hull, D.D. Lewis and Jackie Parker. McWilliams played for the Bulldogs in 1944 and from 1946-48, earning All-SEC honors all four years. The Newton, Miss., native was voted a second-team All-America selection in 1944.
Tupelo, Pontotoc natives rival coaches at SEC cross country
Since the sport was sanctioned at the high school level in 1978, cross country in Mississippi has built a solid level of success. This corner of the state has seen its share of championships, with standard-bearers Pontotoc and head coach Mike Bain with 35 state titles, and the Tupelo boys with 18. But has that effort translated upwards to the Division I level of college? Indirectly, as evidenced by the presence of Houston Franks and Brian O'Neal today at the Southeastern Conference Cross Country Championships in Tuscaloosa, Ala. Franks, from Tupelo, is the head cross country coach at Mississippi State. O'Neal, from Pontotoc, is the head track and cross country coach at Ole Miss. "One thing that has changed since I ran at Tupelo is the dynamic of the team, and the following each team has," said Franks, a 1993 Tupelo graduate who was part of three state titles at Tupelo before going on to run at MSU. "You see all the tents at meets, and it is almost like Junction tailgating. But the race is still about beating people."
Mississippi State hopes new talent, depth lead to improvement on court
Mississippi State has been hampered by injuries and attrition during Rick Ray's first two years as coach. Now the Bulldogs finally hope they have a full roster that can compete in the Southeastern Conference. A nucleus of three juniors -- Craig Sword, Gavin Ware and Fred Thomas -- will be the foundation of this year's Mississippi State team. Sword's 13.7 points per game last season led the Bulldogs, but the 6-foot-3 guard is battling a back injury and might not be ready for the beginning of the schedule. That's where Ray hopes a little added depth could help.
Vivians shines in Maroon-White scrimmage
Victoria Vivians gathered in the pass, took a deep breath and let a shot fly from the corner in the first half of Mississippi State's women's basketball maroon-white scrimmage Thursday night. The shot found nothing but the bottom of the net for Vivians' first career three-pointer in a live game at MSU's Humphrey Coliseum. Fans of MSU's women's basketball team should get used to seeing that. Vivians, a highly touted true freshman who broke the all-time Mississippi high-school scoring record at Scott Central, was the top scorer at Thursday night's scrimmage, an intra-squad game that feature the MSU women's team separated into two squads for a half before uniting to play against The Guys, the group of male MSU students that often scrimmages against the Bulldogs.
Mississippi State's Dillingham trying to build consistent shooting stroke
"Inconsistent at best." That's how Mississippi State women's basketball Vic Schaefer described the shooting form of Dominique Dillingham in the 2013-14 season. Dillingham hopes to improve that shooting stroke this year to build on an otherwise solid freshman campaign. "I have to get in the gym and being more consistent and taking that extra 30 minutes a day (working on her shot)," Dillingham said. "It is difficult because we have school, study hall, we have to eat, and you have to study on your own. You also have to balance your personal life with it. If I am hustling or rebounding, (her shooting) will come. I don't have to rush it. It will come to me."
USM baseball, softball host Trick or Treat at The Pete
The Southern Miss baseball and softball teams partnered Thursday evening to host Trick or Treat at The Pete. "We're having a lot of fun, baseball and softball. We joined effort to bring this together along with Brent Jones, Kyle George and their staff with marketing and we're just proud everybody is coming out," said baseball head coach Scott Berry. For the second consecutive year, kids, fans of the program and those wanting to showcase their costumes, participated in games and other Halloween-themed activities with the assistance of Golden Eagle players and coaches.
Fans took 'big chunks' from Tiger Stadium field after LSU beat Ole Miss
The thousands of fans who rushed out of their seats after LSU's win over Ole Miss last Saturday didn't just stomp on the field at Tiger Stadium. They took some of it with them. Grounds crew members had to replace at least nine patches of sod that had been dug up by fans following the Tigers' 10-7 win over then-No. 3 Ole Miss. Five of the patches -- as large as nine inches long and four inches deep -- were located on LSU's midfield tiger eye logo. "People took big hunks out," said Eric Fasbender, assistant director of athletic facilities and grounds at LSU. "They wanted a souvenir."
NCAA doesn't reduce Gurley suspension on Georgia appeal
Three weeks after Todd Gurley was first suspended by Georgia, there is finally closure. An NCAA reinstatement committee on Thursday night denied the school's appeal to have the star running back's four-game suspension reduced, according to the NCAA. So Gurley won't return until the Nov. 15 game against Auburn. He will miss Saturday's game against Florida in Jacksonville and next week's game at Kentucky. The six-person committee made up mostly of athletic administrators heard Georgia's appeal. The NCAA issued a one-sentence statement that simply said the committee "upheld the eligibility decision," and Gurley will be eligible to play on Nov. 15.
At U. of Tennessee, Vols' most popular major is undecided
Tennessee athletes who represent the school's three most popular sports -- football, men's basketball and women's basketball -- study 30 different majors, but the most popular choice among the 138 students was "undecided." Approximately 19 percent of athletes in those three sports, many of them freshmen, were listed as undecided. Data was compiled by The Tennessean from the official website of the school's athletic department. Athletes' studies have been a hot topic since a report released by the University of North Carolina last week found that thousands of students had been receiving A's and B's in classes that didn't exist. The report said that 47.6 percent of the students in the fake classes were athletes.

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