Monday, April 20, 2015  SUBSCRIBE   
Mississippi State Plans Online Giving Days
Mississippi State University's second annual online giving event will take place on Monday and Tuesday, April 20-21. Known as #HailStateDays, the event originated in 2014 with a goal of igniting more participation among contributors to MSU by encouraging a gift to any university area. Last year during #HailStateDays, MSU raised over $53,000 online for various campus programs. "The entire Bulldog family can help MSU make this year's event bigger, while one special individual can help us cap off the event and bring our total to 1,001 donors before the event closes," said Asya Cooley, annual giving director for the MSU Foundation.
Bully's bloodlines
Starkville's most prestigious office had a peaceful transition Saturday. In front of thousands of Mississippi State faithful at the Bulldog spring football game, Bully XXI "Jak" inherited the leather harness from his father, Bully XX "Champ," as well as the power and responsibility that comes with it. Jak, an English bulldog, will spend the next years attending MSU's home football games; getting his own seat on flights to the football team's bowl games; cheering on the MSU basketball team; supporting baseball and softball when the weather isn't too hot; cheering up children at local elementary schools; and being a companion for senior citizens. Champ is heading another direction: To his favorite recliner.
Higher ed briefs: Mississippi State's Pace scores national kudo
Dr. Lanny Pace, executive director of MSU's Veterinary Research and Diagnostic Laboratory System, has received the National Institute for Animal Agriculture's Advocate for Animal Agriculture Award. The institute cited him specifically for involving the organization in aquaculture. Because of Pace's efforts, NIAA has incorporated aquaculture as part of the regular agenda for its annual conferences and established a National Roundtable for Sustainable Aquaculture. This group brings animal scientists from around the country together to discuss and collaborate on aquacultural research, which ultimately improves the health and viability of this industry.
MSU Black Voices welcomes alums, guest choirs for 'Gospel Explosion'
Mississippi State's Black Voices Gospel Choir will present a concert on Saturday at historic Lee Hall. Titled "Gospel Explosion," the 4 p.m. Bettersworth Auditorium program will feature current and alumni members of the university student group that recently took major honors in national competition. Visiting choirs from Alcorn State University and Coahoma Community College also are scheduled to perform during the afternoon. Timothy Fair, assistant director of MSU's Richard Holmes Cultural Diversity Center, will serve as emcee. Admission is $5, with tickets available at the door.
Concert Pianist Comes to Mississippi State for Workshop and Concert
Mississippi State's Music Department welcomed a renowned concert piano player to campus this weekend. Roberto Plano held a concert at St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Starkville Sunday. Plano performed works by Italian composers and also held a workshop on campus Saturday. The class focused on music technique and interpretation and was also open to the public.
Photo essay: 'Wizard of Pawz' at Mississippi State's College of Veterinary Medicine
Animal lovers from far and near converged on the Mississippi State University College of Veterinary Medicine campus April 10-11 for the "Wizard of Pawz There's No Place Like Home" open house where they enjoyed informative tours, fun activities and animal demonstrations. Veterinary students and staff, serving as hosts, greeted guests young and old -- from prospective ​​students pondering career choices to youngsters whose main goal was to spend the day petting llamas, snuggling with Mr. T (a very large and friendly English Mastiff) or attending any of the other kid-friendly events where they learned about veterinary medicine and general animal behavior, health and welfare.
MSU Extension Service Conducting Tomato Battles
In nine north Mississippi counties, residents are testing their gardening skills while learning about new disease resistant tomato varieties this spring. Mississippi growers are engaged in battle against diseases affecting tomatoes. It could be a bigger battle trying to get growers to plant new varieties. Mississippi State University Extension Service agents are conducting a competition to see who grows the largest disease resistant tomato during a weigh-in period in July.
Two dilapidated structures up for demolition in Starkville - The Dispatch
Aldermen are expected to authorize two Starkville structures for demolition Tuesday after city inspectors deemed the buildings unfit and unsafe for human habitation. Two buildings -- one located at 113 Curtis Circle and another located at an unspecified address near the intersection of Austin Lane and Dr. Martin Luther King Drive Jr. -- are up for demolition after staff declared the dilapidated buildings a health and safety hazard. Liens are expected to be placed upon property owners to recuperate the The Curtis Circle location, according to city documents, which has been abandoned for years. The case was reopened after previous attempts to rectify the situation stemming from 2007 failed. The property near the Austin Lane-MLK Jr. Drive intersection was left to the trustees of Whitworth College, a former women's college in Brookhaven that no longer exists, city documents state.
LINK eyeing Oktibbeha sites for development
Plans to develop the proposed Innovation District's 326 acres of rolling countryside for advanced manufacturing were moving along perfectly -- governing bodies were days away from issuing bonds for infrastructure improvements and the park's first tenant had been assured a lot -- until the Golden Triangle Development LINK announced it would walk away from the site because of mounting concerns produced from due diligence studies. LINK CEO Joe Max Higgins said his organization is evaluating potential properties for a new industrial park, but he wouldn't disclose which specific parcels are under review. However, he said, the LINK is likely to look for a 250-350-acre site in northern or eastern Oktibbeha County that can be easily serviced by connecting infrastructure.
Mississippi making splash in innovation: Bomgar, FNC, Smartsynch, Camgian help put Magnolia State on tech map
Mississippi isn't widely known as a source of homegrown, innovative technological companies. But that could be because people aren't looking hard enough. While the kinds of tech firms that draw in billions in annual revenue and employ thousands of people are clustered in places like the San Francisco Bay Area, Seattle, Washington, and Austin, Texas, Mississippi companies have used the freedom that comes with scant technological tradition and low-to-no expectations from those outside the state to carve a distinctive path in the technology sector, arguably as competitive an industry as any in the world. And new companies are hatching, hoping to further the legacy. One of the most notable is Starkville's Camgian Microsystems, founded in 2006 and specializing in cloud-based technology solutions.
Mississippi leading industries make fast start for 2015
The first few months of 2015 have been good ones for Mississippi's bell cow industries. Nissan's U.S. division just completed its best fiscal year ever. Sanderson Farms did, too. Toyota's U.S. sales are still increasing, and Huntington Ingalls' annual revenue is up. Nissan finished its record-breaking fiscal year 2014 in March. For the year, the auto manufacturer with a facility in Canton sold nearly 1.4 million units in the U.S., an increase of 8.9 percent over fiscal year 2013. Sanderson Farms, the Laurel-based company that is the third-largest chicken processor and marketer in the U.S., recorded net sales of $2.775 billion in fiscal year 2014, compared with $2.683 billion in fiscal year 2013. "The fourth quarter of fiscal 2014 marked a strong finish to a successful year for Sanderson Farms," Joe F. Sanderson Jr., chairman and CEO of Sanderson Farms, said in an earnings release.
Mississippi economic index shows first rise since fall
Components of the Mississippi Leading Index, or MLI, collectively rose 0.6 percent in February, the first increase since October, state economists report. The value of the index increased 3.9 percent from the previous February, according to the April issue of Mississippi's Business, an economic monitoring newsletter published by the University Research Center, an arm of the Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning. Nationally, economists reported a 2.2 percent increase in the U.S. Gross Domestic Product for the fourth quarter of last year. With a stronger dollar and weaker demand for U.S. products internationally, most economists expect a weaker first quarter for the GDP, said Corey Miller, University Research Center economic analyst and author of the newsletter.
Coast still waiting for oil spill recovery money
Five years after the massive BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill, Gulf Coast communities are still waiting for the billions promised to help them recover from the nation's worst environmental disaster. Local officials and environmentalists from the five affected states -- Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas -- have taken steps to identify which projects would be financed with fine money paid by BP. But those funds are on hold until a federal court in New Orleans decides exactly what the company should pay. "It's just (been) a waiting game" for communities, said Republican Rep. Steven Palazzo of Mississippi, a co-sponsor of the bill, whose 4th district includes coastal communities. "I don't think they can wait much longer."
Tourism taxes, other projects OK'd
That shrimp po' boy in Pascagoula or that hotel room in Houston will cost a bit extra because of local tourism taxes that legislators approved for those cities -- as they did for many other communities around the state. Tourism taxes were among the many issues that legislators approved as "local and private" bills during the 2015 session. Unlike general bills that affect the entire state, local and private bills give legislators a chance to authorize taxes, donations or other issues that affect only one community. State law requires local governments to seek approval from the state for certain financial matters, and legislators typically pass dozens of local and private bills a year, usually without controversy.
Group plans term limit initiative push in Mississippi
One political group is making a push to let voters decide the issue of term limits for elected officials. The United Conservatives Fund announced Monday it has filed the paperwork with the Mississippi Secretary of State's office. The initiative proposal will go through statutory processes and a review by the Mississippi Attorney General. If approved, UCF will begin collecting signatures from registered voters to put the initiative on the ballot. Chairman Chris McDaniel says the language would limit state legislators and statewide elected officials to two consecutive terms in the same office.
House to Take Up Cybersecurity Bills in Condensed Week
With a scheduled work week that even a college senior could endorse, House lawmakers return to the Capitol Tuesday for just three days to deal with cybersecurity bills and to put the finishing touches on a budget and trade legislation. The House will deal with two cybersecurity bills this week: the Protecting Cyber Networks Act and the National Cybersecurity Protection Advancement Act of 2015. The first bill, which the Intelligence Committee agreed to on a noncontroversial voice vote, is intended to promote information sharing about cybersecurity threats and would provide liability protections for companies that share that information with other companies and the government. There is, however, some controversy surrounding the bill.
Leaders defend single College Board, strong commissioner
For Aubrey Patterson, it's legacy time. His picture has already been taken down off the wall of the room where the College Board meets, and his announcement Friday that the board has chosen Glenn Boyce as the state's next higher education commissioner could be Patterson's last official act as a member of the College Board. The term of the retired Tupelo banker ends next month. And one of the biggest legacies that Patterson and three other departing board members has been the increasing primacy of the commissioner over the individual presidents. "The advantage of having a system with a strong chief executive lets the board focus on strategic issues, policy and oversight," Patterson the outgoing board president, said Friday. "Mississippi cannot afford a loose confederation of separately governed institutions." Incoming Board President Alan Perry of Jackson also defending the wisdom of the current setup Thursday as he saluted the departing trustees.
IHL leaders: System change would be a mistake
When assuming the role of College Board president last week, Alan Perry of Jackson recalled an earlier description of the state's higher education system by then-University of Mississippi Chancellor Robert Khayat as "a loose confederation of institutions." But Perry said in recent years the Board of Trustees of state Institutions of Higher Learning "has created a system and a staff." In recent weeks, some have argued that the system created by College Board members needs to be changed in light of their decision last month not to renew University of Mississippi Chancellor Dan Jones' contract, which expires in September.
MUW donation callers make deep connection with alumnae
In a narrow room at Welty Hall, on the campus of The Mississippi University for Women, there is a small telemarketing station. Like most universities, MUW calls its alumni and asks for donations and gifts. Unlike most people who call and ask for donations, the telefund callers at MUW feel a real connection with the person at the other end of the line. "The biggest misconception we get is people thinking we're telemarketers," Macy Robertson said. Robertson and Jitoria Jones are telefund ambassadors on the behalf of MUW, and both 21-year-old seniors say they have the best job on campus. They are two of 11 telefund ambassadors at MUW who work under director of annual giving Brandy Williams. They raise money, check up on alums, share memories, tell how campus has changed, make friends and heed advice.
MUW celebrates Earth Day Wednesday
Mississippi University for Women is organizing activities in conjunction with Earth Day to support the university's sustainability initiatives and promote green living. Earth Day is an annual event. It is being celebrated Wednesday across the country. "Earth Day will benefit the campus by teaching everyone, students, faculty and staff, more about energy-saving efforts at MUW. It also will provide participants an opportunity to learn more about what they, as individuals, can do on campus and at home to save energy," said Dr. Nicole Welch, professor of biology in the Department of Sciences & Mathematics.
Science uncovering truths, piecing together puzzle of BP oil spill
Vernon Asper is a scientist who works in the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico, looking for oil. It's still out there, five years after the nation's worst oil spill -- the Deepwater Horizon blowout in April 2010 that killed 11 rig workers and spewed what was estimated at the time to be 205 million gallons into the Gulf over three months. Asper, a professor of marine sciences for the University of Southern Mississippi, studies mud and the clouds of material in the water called marine snow. Science works methodically. It's a process, said Jessica Kastler, a geologist and education-program coordinator with USM's Gulf Coast Research Lab. "That's the way science works. It's time-intensive." There's a disconnect right now between what science can provide and what people expect from scientists, she said. People want answers, she said. "But sometimes the answer is, 'I don't know.'"
Southern Miss maintains vigorous research five years after BP oil spill
The Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion that occurred on April 20, 2010 not only triggered an unprecedented contamination of the northern Gulf of Mexico, but also yielded an unparalleled research effort to gauge the effects of the massive oil spill. Five years after the largest environmental disaster in U.S. history, scientists at The University of Southern Mississippi continue to lead the way in mapping and analyzing the oil spill's effects on the Gulf waters' fragile ecosystem. "I don't think anyone involved in the aftermath of this disaster really understood the magnitude of what took place. It wasn't the sort of thing you could imagine happening," said Dr. Monty Graham, chair of the Department of Marine Science at Southern Miss.
Gulf Coast Research Lab scientists instrumental in assessing BP oil spill damages
Five years after the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, scientists at the Gulf Coast Research Laboratory in Ocean Springs continue to play an important role in assessing the damage from the spill. Those scientists and their students at the University of Southern Mississippi have spent thousands of hours patrolling the waters of the Gulf looking for signs of oil. They have taken hundreds of samples of sea life to conduct studies on the impact of the spill.
Jackson State starts study abroad crowdfunding campaign
Jackson State University plans to send 140 students abroad with the help of a crowdfunding campaign. JSU Passport to the World features study abroad opportunities in China, Brazil, the Dominican Republic, France and Spain. With a price tag of about $2,000, many students are relying on financial aid to cover the cost, according to Pricilla Slade, special assistant to the provost for JSU-Global and Community College Relations. "It's just like paying tuition," Slade said. However, because students have varying amounts of financial aid, with some having none at all, the university decided to start a tax-deductible crowdsourcing campaign.
Alcorn State president speaker at annual alumni scholarship banquet
The president of one of the nation's oldest public land-grant Historic Black Colleges and Universities will be keynote speaker at a scholarship banquet sponsored by a local alumni chapter of the university. Dr. Alfred Rankins Jr., the 19th president of Alcorn State University, will be the honored speaker at the annual Purple and Gold Scholarship Banquet sponsored by the Meridian/Lauderdale County Alumni Chapter of ASU. The banquet is the alumni's primary fundraiser for its scholarship fund. A native of Greenville, Rankins received a bachelor of science degree from Alcorn State University, and both master of science and doctor of philosophy degrees from Mississippi State University.
Mississippi schools add gateways to health care jobs
The metro Jackson area has long been a stronghold for medical education in the Magnolia State. The University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson is nationally recognized for its care, training and research, but it is no longer the only destination for those looking to enter the medical field. Most Mississippi colleges and universities offer gateways to medical disciplines, but there has been expansion by both established and burgeoning programs in just the last few years. Here are some other medical programs...
Search for next U. of Alabama president on track
The search to find a replacement for outgoing University of Alabama President Judy Bonner remains on track, according to the president pro tem of the system's board of trustees. "The Presidential Search Advisory Committee has been hard at work. As you would imagine, the task of identifying top-quality candidates with the skills and expertise to lead and manage a large, complex and rapidly advancing institution like the University of Alabama is an exciting and challenging process," said Karen Brooks, the trustees' president pro tem. Brooks is part of a 24-person committee formed after Bonner announced plans last winter to step down by the end of September and return to teaching after a yearlong sabbatical. The University of Alabama System hopes to find a replacement for Bonner by the fall.
Auburn kicks off $1 billion campaign, announces largest gift ever
Auburn University announced the public kickoff of an ambitious $1 billion comprehensive campaign Saturday -- including the announcement of the largest single gift in school history. Auburn also announced it has raised more than $775 million to date in support of the "Because This is Auburn" campaign, the largest in Auburn's history and one of the largest fundraising campaigns to date in the state. "Today, we show the world why we believe in Auburn University," said Auburn President Jay Gogue. "This effort is unprecedented in Auburn's 160-year history. This campaign will add new chapters to Auburn's story and will make Auburn stronger for all the generations that follow."
U. of Florida journalism school joins Yik Yak in Swamp Juice
Should a pre-eminent journalism school team up with a social media platform that's become a scourge of college and university administrators as a gateway to anonymous cyber-bullying and abusive comments? That is a question for the University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications as it becomes the first to embark on an experiment with Yik Yak, the Atlanta-based app that's become the most downloaded app among colleges students across the nation. Together, they've created a customized feed called Swamp Juice, which soft-launched about three weeks ago. "Our mission is to experiment, try new tools and be the guinea pig," said Matt Sheehan, director of the Innovation News Center at the College of Journalism and Communication.
Scholarship fund to honor slain U. of Kentucky student surpasses its goal
In less than 24 hours, a scholarship fund named for a University of Kentucky student killed early Friday has surpassed its fundraising goal of $10,000. As of Sunday night, the fundraising site, showed that more than $13,000 had been pledged to start a photojournalism scholarship in honor of Jonathan Krueger. Krueger, the photo editor of the UK student newspaper the Kentucky Kernel, died after being shot on Maxwell Street in an apparent robbery. Krueger, 22, was a junior from Perrysburg, Ohio. Lexington police have arrested two men and charged them with murder. The Kernel started the fundraising effort shortly after Krueger's death. An annual scholarship will be awarded to a promising Kernel photographer every year.
McCaskill talks sexual assault education, prevention at U. of Missouri summit
Claire McCaskill does not miss an opportunity to return to her alma mater, especially when it's to discuss an issue the University of Missouri has dealt with publicly and that she personally has taken before the Senate. Missouri's Democratic U.S. senator visited MU on Saturday to talk about sexual assaults on college campuses. Her speech and the question-and-answer session that followed were part of a summit led by MU student government. The summit was organized by the Missouri Student Association and was part of the group's ongoing "It's On Us" campaign to educate the community and prevent sexual assaults on campus.
University officials working to improve mental health services in Missouri
Two important issues came to light as part of the ESPN "Outside the Lines" story involving now-deceased University of Missouri swimmer Sasha Menu Courey: MU and the UM System needed to increase resources for sexual assault victims, and the two also were lacking in mental health services. Fifteen months later, mental health services have not been on the forefront of the public discussion -- unlike the slew of Title IX policies and millions of dollars committed to the sex discrimination issue. But university and UM System officials have taken action, with more changes planned. At MU, the priority is to enhance education and prevention by developing an outreach plan for the counseling center. David Wallace, director of the MU Counseling Center, said there is still work to be done, but the center and other campus mental health resources have made great strides during the past year.
Education Department signs $4 million college ratings contract, eyes a ratings appeals process
The U.S. Department of Education has set aside more than $4 million to develop the Obama administration's college ratings system, newly released federal documents show. The department has hired a nonprofit research company to analyze data about colleges, test different ratings models and build a website for the ratings. It has so far paid at least $1.8 million for the firm, Research Triangle Institute, to get started on that work. Inside Higher Ed obtained a copy of the department's agreement with Research Triangle Institute (also called RTI International) last week after making a Freedom of Information Act request in January. The agreement, signed Dec. 31, expands an existing contract the department had with the firm for other data-related projects.
U. of Wisconsin Flagship Will Cut 400 Positions in Response to Budget Cuts
The University of Wisconsin at Madison will cut 400 positions, merge or close academic programs, and reduce support programs in response to anticipated state budget cuts, The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports. The announcement, from the flagship's chancellor, Rebecca M. Blank, is the latest development in a battle over funds between the university system and the state government. "I want to emphasize that these changes, as difficult as they are, cannot and will not stop with this year's budget," Ms. Blank wrote on her blog on Friday. "We will continue a thorough review of university operations, guided by our new strategic framework, to invest in our strengths and reduce or eliminate underperforming programs." Ms. Blank identified programs in information technology, agriculture, and the arts as ones that would be ended or restructured. The Journal Sentinel notes that most of the 400 positions to be eliminated are vacant.
New research on which groups are more likely to be hired and receive tenure in STEM
Last week a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences stunned many with its conclusion that women are more likely than men to be hired for faculty positions in science, mathematics and technology. To many who are familiar with the widespread reports of bias against women in STEM, the findings just didn't make sense. This weekend another study was released at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association -- and this new study also found that men (and specifically white men) do not have the advantage that many assume they do in being hired in STEM fields. Women and black and Latino researchers instead have an advantage, the study found. It also found an apparent disadvantage for Asian researchers starting their careers. The research suggests mixed patterns for those who are not white men when it comes to winning tenure.
ROBERT HESTER (OPINION): UMMC is incubator for research and development
Robert Hester, a professor of physiology at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, writes in The Clarion-Ledger: "Here at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, the role of education in job creation and innovation is exemplified by the research performed daily in faculty and student laboratories. The medical center has a well-documented research legacy, including the efforts of internationally renowned physiologist Dr. Arthur Guyton and Dr. Tom Coleman, then a graduate student, in the late 1960s. They developed simulations in human physiology. I took over the continuing development of this about eight years ago in collaboration with Dr. Coleman, Dr. Richard Summers, Dr. William Pruett, Mississippi State University, and with a grant from the National Science Foundation."
RICK GILBRECH (OPINION): Stennis center powering nation's space dreams
Rick Gilbrech, director of NASA's Stennis Space Center in Hancock County and a Mississippi State alumnus, writes in The Clarion-Ledger: "Time and time again, this nation has entrusted its space dreams to NASA. Time and again, NASA has designated Stennis Space Center to play a major role in realizing those dreams because of the work performed by the center. Tomorrow will be no different. ...Stennis works in close partnership with the state of Mississippi to support economic and community initiatives. We are a major contributor to Gulf Coast and state economies. A recent Mississippi State University study shows Stennis spends almost three-fourths (74 cents) of every dollar within a four-county/parish, 50-mile-radius area. Our direct economic impact in 2014 totaled $678 million; and our global economic impact reached $917 million. Stennis is powering the nation's space dreams right here in the great state of Mississippi."
BILL CRAWFORD (OPINION): Boyce takes hot spot as IHL chief
Syndicated columnist and former IHL board member Bill Crawford of Meridian writes: "Ready or not, Dr. Glenn Boyce has been named IHL Commissioner. He steps into the hot spot abandoned by MUW president Dr. Jim Borsig and recently vacated by now University of Nebraska system president Dr. Hank Bounds. A high performer for nine years as president of Holmes Community College, Dr. Boyce came into the IHL system just last summer as associate commissioner for academic affairs. ...In the best case scenario, people will work together, the Ole Miss search will go well, and legislators will calm down. So, ready or not, Dr. Boyce gets the job to manage the complex IHL system..."
GEOFF PENDER (OPINION): Is incumbent Treasurer Lynn Fitch vulnerable?
The Clarion-Ledger's Geoff Pender writes: "Is Republican State Treasurer Lynn Fitch vulnerable this year even as most statewide incumbents appear to have re-election cakewalks? There is much talk to that effect these days, and oddly it's coming from some of her (former) staunchest political supporters and staff. Notably, her primary opponent is among that relatively large number. Republican challenger David McRae, a Ridgeland attorney, was formerly a Fitch majordomo. He served as an adviser and even worked in her office providing pro bono counsel. Now he's gunning to oust her. At least half a dozen of Fitch's top treasury staff have bailed or been run off during her first term. Also notably, two of her top campaign gurus have jumped ship to support McRae."
SID SALTER (OPINION): 2016 campaign expected to engage the debate about income equality
Syndicated columnist Sid Salter writes: "If you aren't accustomed to hearing the term 'income inequality' as part of your political lexicon, then perhaps you should begin to get used to the phrase because you're going to hear a lot more about it. ...So with Democrats and Republicans talking about income inequality, what does that phrase mean? ...Can government really 'fix' income inequality? Should government do that? Or is that a function of the markets in a capitalistic system in which there are winners and losers? Voters can expect to hear a lot of debate on those questions and others like them between now and the time they go into the voting booth to choose President Barack Obama's successor."

QBs shine for Mississippi State in spring game
Quarterback Dak Prescott was disappointed Saturday following the Mississippi State football team's spring game. His backup, freshman Nick Fitzgerald, was all smiles. The reason for Prescott's disappointment and Fitzgerald's happiness was simple. The stakes of the game stated that the losing team in the matchup between Prescott's Maroon squad and Fitzgerald's White unit would have to show up at Davis Wade Stadium early this morning and perform cleaning duty. So when Fitzgerald's team earned a 28-24 win and saved the freshman the trouble, he was understandably excited. "I'm ready to sleep in tomorrow," Fitzgerald said, "but I might wake up around 9:30 just to call Dak and see how they're doing at the stadium." Prescott will have to perform janitorial duties even though he sat out all but the first drive of the second half.
Dak Prescott sharp in Mississippi State spring game
Dak Prescott is doing nothing to temper the massive expectations for his final college season. The Mississippi State quarterback completed 20 of 29 passes for 231 yards and three touchdowns Saturday during the Bulldogs' spring game, spreading the ball around the field with the poise expected from a senior who's already among the school's leaders in just about every passing category. Now Mississippi State is trying to make sure the rest of the roster is capable of supporting him. The early returns look promising.
Kings of spring: Fitzgerald guides White team to four scoring drives
Mississippi State's spring game came right down to the wire. With 20 seconds remaining, linebacker Kelan Chairs picked off walk-on quarterback Hampton Howard at the goal line to seal a 28-24 victory for the White team on Saturday. "That is what is so important to us in the spring game is putting players in a game-feeling situation," said coach Dan Mullen. "We'll come and scrimmage in the stadium. But all of a sudden you put a lot of people in the stadium, people and cheering and all that, it's a different type of pressure. It's good to have those guys those guys experience that."
Five things Mississippi State learned in the Maroon and White Game
Old meshed with new Saturday inside Davis Wade Stadium for the Maroon and White spring football game. The clash helped Mississippi State attempt to move on from a historic 2014 and start anew in 2015. New basketball men's basketball coach stood on the White sideline as guest coach. Women's basketball coach Vic Schaefer helped Maroon, after finishing his fourth year in Starkville. Redshirt freshman Nick Fitzgerald tossed a 24-yard touchdown to Donald Gray, who is in his first year with the Bulldogs. The quarterback also connected with former MSU great Anthony Dixon for a 59-yards score.
Mississippi State tailbacks step into spotlight in spring game
J.T. Gray never had a chance. Gray, a rising sophomore who was named to the Southeastern Conference's All-Freshman Team in 2014, found himself between the goal line and a charging Dontavian Lee on Saturday at MSU spring game. Lee, a 6-foot-2, 225-pound freshman running back from Forrest County AHS, took a handoff from quarterback Nick Fitzgerald at the 5-yard line and turned his sights to Gray, who waiting to prevent the touchdown. Lee lowered his shoulder and barreled through Gray to give the White team a 14-7 lead. "He runs hard, really hard," MSU coach Dan Mullen said of Lee. Lee's run was just part of a breakthrough performance for a pair of young running backs.
HUGH KELLENBERGER ((OPINION): Bulldogs set to fall? Not likely
The Clarion-Ledger's Hugh Kellenberger writes: "Mississippi State is only bringing back eight starters from 2014. Its defensive coordinator left for Florida in mid-December, and the Bulldogs did lose three of their last four games. So if you wanted to say that Mississippi State was primed for a drop-off this fall, you could. But I think you'd be wrong, partly because quarterback Dak Prescott is the kind of talent that can will teams to better records than they otherwise deserve. And also because Dan Mullen just has this thing rolling to a point where the Bulldogs are going to only drop so far."
Citrus Bowl trip cost U. of Missouri $2.18 million
Missouri spent a total of $2.18 million on its trip to the Citrus Bowl at the end of last season, according to an expense report obtained by the Tribune through an open-records request. The Tigers' Cotton Bowl trip cost a total of $1.83 million after the 2013 season. Executive associate athletic director for operations Tim Hickman said the Southeastern Conference provided a $1.64 million participation allowance to the university, leaving about $540,000 to cover. Missouri reported 445 people in its Citrus Bowl traveling party, including 300 on the team and staff who stayed 11 days, 125 from the band and cheerleaders who stayed four and 20 in an "official party" of faculty and athletic department officials that also stayed four.
Cornell's Chocolate Milk Fills Refueling Gap
Throughout the school year, Cornell's strength and conditioning center is filled with a chorus of clanging weights and thumping rock music. Posters in the entrance to the center instruct athletes -- from nearly 300-pound offensive linemen to 5-foot-tall field hockey players -- to refuel their bodies after sweat-inducing workouts. At Cornell, the benefits of having an on-campus dairy extend beyond a diverse dining hall menu with pumpkin cheesecake and Bavarian raspberry fudge ice cream flavors. Since January 2014, Cornell's athletic department has teamed with the college of agriculture and life sciences in an effort to systematically change workout recovery habits. "The composition of low-fat chocolate milk is probably the gold standard for a recovery beverage," said Clint Wattenberg, Cornell's coordinator of sports nutrition. "We don't have to second-guess where this supplement is coming from."

The Office of Public Affairs provides the Daily News Digest as a general information resource for Mississippi State University stakeholders.
Web links are subject to change. Submit news, questions or comments to Jim Laird.
Mississippi State University  •  Mississippi State, MS 39762  •  Main Telephone: (662) 325-2323  •   Contact: The Editor  |  The Webmaster  •   Updated: April 20, 2015Facebook Twitter