Monday, January 6, 2020   
Mississippi State aerospace engineering instructor reflects on 35 years of designing airplanes
Rob Wolz is in his second year as a full-time aerospace engineering instructor at Mississippi State University. The smattering of classes he teaches range from a senior lab and engineering mechanics to spacecraft propulsion. A cursory observation of his office on the third floor of Walker Hall gleans a picture of his more focused passion -- Wolz is an airplane guy. Prominent atop tables and file cabinets are airplane models, mostly Gulfstream. On the walls are framed commemorations of different aircraft models' inaugural flights. Tucked away on a bookshelf behind his desk is a picture of an SR-71 jet signed by none other than Maj. Gen. Eldon Joersz, one of two pilots on a 1976 flight that still holds the world airspeed record of 2,193 mph. These are some of what Wolz calls the "tokens," the "bits and pieces" that remind him of his past and how he can maybe shape his students' futures.
FDA moves against flavored e-cig pods
The FDA will crack down on flavored e-cigarette cartridges that are favored by teens. Starting in February, the FDA will prioritize enforcement on certain unauthorized flavored e-cigarette products that appeal to kids, including fruit and mint. However, it exempts tobacco and menthol-flavored cartridges and the flavored liquids used in the larger tank-based e-cigarettes. It's good that the FDA is taking some steps to reduce e-cigarette products most enticing to teens, said Mississippi State University researcher Robert McMillen, who tracks teen tobacco use and other tobacco-related issues. "Unfortunately, they've left a lot of doors open," McMillen said. "It's really frustrating that they continued to allow menthol in particular."
Starkville Utilities to operate water and electric divisions under one roof
Starkville Utilities will consolidate most of its operations into one building, most likely within the next year, general manager Terry Kemp told the board of aldermen at its Friday work session. The department plans to add about 10,000 square feet to its current electric division building at the intersection of Highways 82 and 182, Kemp said. All personnel at the current water division building on North Washington Street, which was built in 1973, will move to the expanded facility, meaning that "utilities is now truly utilities in consideration of a location," Mayor Lynn Spruill said. The project will cost about $1.3 million, though the department budgeted $1.6 million just in case, and customers' utility rates will not increase, Kemp said. "For the next several years, (the) process of continuing to reinvest and put capital investment back into the infrastructure on electric, water and sewer is critical, and I think this kind of lays out a plan to make sure that the city can grow and provide the services that our customers expect," Kemp said.
Education, infrastructure debates to remain prominent in 2020 session
When the 2020 Mississippi Legislature convenes Tuesday in Jackson, the seven-member Golden Triangle contingent will feature some familiar faces -- and one new one. Political newcomer Dana McLean will be sworn in as House District 39 representative after unseating seven-term representative Jeff Smith in last summer's Republican primary. With no opposition in the general election, McClean has had plenty of time to reflect and prepare for the 2020 session. "I'm definitely excited to get to Jackson," McLean said. "I'm exciting about bringing a new perspective from our area." With Smith's departure, Gary Chism becomes the most tenured of the Golden Triangle delegation. This will be Chism's sixth term in office, but he said he hasn't given much thought to his senior status in the delegation. "I guess that must means I've been around a while," he said. "It's been six terms now, but the opening of a new session is always exciting."
Sen. Briggs Hopson believes education will continue to be major focus in upcoming session
The state of Mississippi is getting new leadership in Jackson, and the key figures, Gov. Tate Reeves and Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann, are familiar to state Sen. Briggs Hopson. "I know both of those gentlemen well and I've worked with Tate Reeves for the last eight years as he served as lieutenant governor," Hopson, R-Vicksburg, said. "I'm excited about working with Delbert Hosemann; I know him as a longtime friend and someone who I've been around for many, many years." Hopson, who is beginning his third term in the state Senate, believes Reeves will focus on some of the issues as former Gov. Phil Bryant -- economic development and workforce training. And education, he said, will continue to be a major topic. "We had teacher pay raises the last couple of years; several teacher pay raises over the last (four-year) term," he said. "I think we will try to focus some funding on teacher pay raises, and I think we'll continue to focus on educational accountability.
With legislative session to start this week, local lawmakers prepping
On Tuesday, the state Legislature convenes the first session of a new four-year term of office, with fresh faces occupying some key roles. Northeast Mississippi's legislative delegation also experienced some churn in elections last year, but veteran legislators expect to see a session dominated by issues relating to education, healthcare, spending and jobs. Education advocates and business interests have both called for the state to make public pre-K universally accessible. The state's current pre-K offerings are only sufficient to serve a small slice of the eligible population. Even if education initiatives could draw together potentially expansive coalitions, healthcare looms as a much more divisive issue.
New East Mississippi lawmakers to focus on economic development, infrastructure
In the weeks since Mississippi voters selected them for office, four Republicans have kept in close contact, talking nearly every day. "We've got the same goal. We've got to stick together and make things happen right here," said Troy Smith, who defeated Roy May, an Independent, in the general election. Jeff Tate will join Smith in Jackson as the state senator for District 33. The district, which includes parts of Lauderdale County and Clarke County, had been held by Videt Carmichael since 2000. Carmichael did not seek re-election. Attorney Tyler McCaughn defeated Democrat Mike Marlow in the race for Senate District 31. The seat had been held by Terry C. Burton since 1992. Burton did not seek re-election. The district encompasses Newton County, Scott County and Northwest Lauderdale County. Like Calvert, McCaughn sees a need for community involvement in economic development.
Mississippi Legislature 2020 session starts
Lawmakers -- many of them new to the job -- will arrive at the Capitol on Tuesday to kick off the 2020 legislative session, the first of a four-year term after an election year. As the first session of a new term, it's scheduled to last longer. The 2019 session lasted less than three months, ending on March 29. The 2020 session is scheduled to last until May 10. That means lawmakers will have more time to hash out a budget. The Senate and House have until April 1 to pass their own budget bills. They then have three more weeks to consider, tweak and pass budget bills from each other. Lawmakers will file thousands of bills, likely ranging from Medicaid expansion to changing the state flag to letting college athletes profit from their likeness. Most bills filed will never be discussed on the floor of either chamber, dying in committee.
Kathy Chism seeks to improve public education in Legislature
With members of the Mississippi Legislature set to take a new oath of office in a few days, incoming state Sen. Kathy Chism, a Republican from New Albany, hopes to spend the next four years advocating for improvements to the state's public education system. Chism, a native of Myrtle, is a business owner and Realtor and said she initially wanted to run because she cares "about the people of District 3" and believed she could bring a hard work ethic to the state's law making body. She also thinks state government could do more to bolster career and technical programs within public school systems to ensure that there are other employment opportunities available for people who do not wish to attend a four-year university after graduating from high school. "We need to bring (trade skills) back into the schools," she said. "Not everybody wants to sit behind a desk or be a doctor or a lawyer."
Mississippi Public Service Commissioners Sworn In
"I Brent Bailey... I Dane Maxwell... I Brandon Presley do solemnly swear that I will faithfully support the Constitution of the United States..." The three Commissioners were sworn in downtown Jackson to begin their 4-year term in office. Brent Bailey and Dane Maxwell are entering their first term, joining returning Commissioner Brandon Presley. Presley has served as the northern district Commissioner since 2008 and says his priority is to bring Internet access to homes and businesses in rural Mississippi. He says this will allow for better educational opportunities, more healthcare access, and economic development. Another issue the Commissioners want to address are robocalls. Brent Bailey is the new Commissioner for Central Mississippi. He says cracking down on robocalls will protect at-risk Mississippians from scams.
Governor-elect Tate Reeves announces board appointments
Former state Sen. Nancy Collins of Tupelo will serve on the state Board of Education. She replaces Charles McClelland, whose term expired. Collins served in the Senate from 2012 to 2016 where she was vice chairwoman of the Education Committee and chairwoman of the Accountability, Efficiency and Transparency Committee. She served as chairwoman of the Joint Legislative Committee on Performance, Evaluation and Expenditure Review. Central Mississippi businessman Bill Billingsley will serve on the Mississippi Charter School Authorizing Board. Billingsley, a Madison resident, is the owner of Home Health Care Affiliates. Jackson attorney Spencer Ritchie will serve on the state Ethics Commission. He is a partner at Forman Watkins & Krutz LLP. He previously served as executive director of the Mississippi Republican Party and as an associate at Watkins & Eager.
Attorney General-Elect Lynn Fitch Announces Senior Staff
Attorney General-Elect Lynn Fitch is pleased to announce the following senior officials to help lead her team at the Attorney General's Office. Jesse Graham, Deputy for Administrative Operations. Jesse has over thirty-five years of professional experience in both the public and private sectors, including serving as Deputy Treasurer for the last eight years. He has a Bachelor's degree in Business Administration from Mississippi State University. Whitney Lipscomb, Deputy Attorney General. Whitney comes to the Attorney General's Office from Governor Phil Bryant's staff, where she served most recently as Deputy Chief of Staff and Counsel. Prior to that position, Whitney was in private practice with a firm in Gulfport. She received her Bachelor's degree, summa cum laude, from Mississippi State University and her J.D., also summa cum laude, from the University of Mississippi.
Gary Rikard to leave Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality post
The man who has been the head of the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality since 2014 will leave his position on Jan. 13. Gary C. Rikard, who was an environmental lawyer before his appointment as MDEQ Executive Director in September 2014 by Gov. Phil Bryant, made the announcement in a news release from the agency on Friday, Jan. 3. "It has been my great honor to serve as MDEQ's Executive Director during the past five years," Rikard, a native of Olive Branch, said. Rikard came to the position to replace Trudy Fisher, who led the agency for seven years. Fisher was an appointee of former Gov. Haley Barbour. When Rikard was named to the leadership post, he was a partner in the Butler Snow LLP law firm in Memphis. He went into private practice in 1998 after being an Environmental Engineer and a Senior Attorney in the 1990s for MDEQ.
Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith kicks off 2020 campaign with show of force
Cindy Hyde-Smith qualified to run for a full six-year term in the United States Senate Friday with a show of force at the state Republican Party headquarters. "I am so delighted to serve alongside Cindy Hyde-Smith," said Mississippi's senior U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker of Tupelo, who introduced the multiple state officials at the event ranging from most of Mississippi's statewide elected officials to former Gov. Haley Barbour. Speaking of Hyde-Smith, Wicker said, "We are teammates." The two most notable Republicans not at the event were outgoing Gov. Phil Bryant and Gov.-elect Tate Reeves, who is the current lieutenant governor. Wicker said Bryant, had taken his family "on a quick little trip out of state for a long weekend." But Wicker read a statement from Bryant. Democrat Mike Espy, the state's first African American U.S. House member since Reconstruction, who lost to Hyde-Smith in the 2018 special election, already has announced he will challenge Hyde-Smith again in 2020 for the full six-year term.
U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson to ask for AG investigation into Mississippi prisons
U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson said he will ask the U.S. attorney general to launch an investigation into Mississippi's prisons. Thompson, a Democrat from Bolton, said in a social media post that on Monday he will ask the attorney general to investigate the "ongoing failures in safety, security, health and environmental standards within the Mississippi Department of Corrections." Thompson said the conditions are unacceptable. Two inmates escaped from the Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman Saturday and four inmates were killed in fights in one week in the state's prisons, authorities said. Outgoing Corrections Commissioner Pelicia Hall said investigators believe gangs were involved in the fights, but MDOC officials have not determined what sparked the violence.
State lawmaker says the only way to fix Mississippi's prison crisis is with money
When the 2020 Legislative Session opens this week in Jackson, one of the very first topics lawmakers will tackle is the Mississippi's prison crisis. Senator Joel Carter serves on the Corrections Committee. He recognizes that there are longstanding issues with the Mississippi Department of Corrections, and not everything can be fixed at once. But to him, one of the most obvious solutions is better funding. "The only way to fix this is money, period," Carter told WLOX News. "Mississippi is in great financial shape right now, we just have to be responsible about it." Carter believes there will be an attempt to put money into the State Penitentiary at Parchman to make it safer, as well as an increase in guard pay. "The guards are underpaid, and the pay isn't worth it. They're only paid $25,000 and money is always an issue," Carter said. Governor-Elect Tate Reeves acknowledged Friday, "There is much work to be done in our correctional system." The legislative session begins Tuesday in Jackson.
The very real scenario of a protracted, 'bizarro world' Democratic primary
Democrats are now beginning to confront a very real scenario where the nomination -- and the winnowing -- will not be decided in states where campaigns have been plowing ground for more than a year, but in places and calendar dates so deep into primary season that until recently they've received almost no attention at all. The Iowa field is bunched together with little daylight between a handful of well-funded candidates. Each of the four early voting states continues to present the prospect of a different winner. And, at the end of that gauntlet on Super Tuesday, a free-spending billionaire -- Michael Bloomberg, the former New York City mayor -- is waiting to challenge whichever candidate or candidates emerge. It's a unique set of circumstances that has the campaigns -- and party officials -- scrambling to make sense of the reconfigured landscape.
United Methodist Church Announces Proposal to Split Over Gay Marriage
The United Methodist Church announced a proposal Friday to split the denomination over what it called "fundamental differences" regarding its beliefs on same-sex marriage and LGBTQ clergy. The proposal, signed by 16 church leaders from around the world, will be voted on at the church's 2020 general conference in May. If passed, it would allow for a "traditionalist" denomination to separate from the United Methodist Church, the second largest Protestant denomination in the U.S., with more than 12 million members worldwide. The new traditionalist denomination, once separate, would open the door for the existing United Methodist Church to repeal the church's ban on same-sex marriages and LGBTQ clergy. The conflict came to a head last February at a special session of the church's general conference, when 53% of church leaders in attendance voted to uphold the ban on same-sex marriage and clergy.
Technology is changing election polling by colleges
First, there was door-to-door polling. A pollster, clipboard in hand, might knock on doors and ask, "Who are you going to vote for?" Today, many of the top colleges that do public opinion polling for elections instead connect with voters over the phone. Student workers call cellphones and landlines, ask questions from a script and record answers. The four institutions -- Marist College, Monmouth University, Siena College and Muhlenberg College -- that receive an A-plus pollster rating from FiveThirtyEight, a popular analysis website, all currently use live calling. Poll center officials from several of those universities typically said live calling makes the process accurate and student centered. But the live-calling system is being squeezed, and some polling centers are looking to transition to different methodologies, like online surveys or automated calling.
Auburn University holds active shooter training
Employees and students at Auburn University have several opportunities throughout the year to participate in active-shooter training hosted by Auburn's Campus Safety and Security department. Chance Corbett, associate director in the department of campus safety and security, developed the course and said the university has continued teaching what to do in an active-shooter situation since 2009. "We realized quickly that we needed something for our students and employees as well," he said. When people have thought through what they will do, they are more likely to react, he said. The employee class is two hours long and includes an aspect that the student class does not: the responsibility of protecting students.
U. of South Carolina hires President Caslen's former West Point chief of staff for same role in Columbia
West Point's former chief of staff has won the same job at the University of South Carolina, working for his former boss, an adviser said Monday. Mark Bieger, West Point's chief of staff for the past three years, was unanimously chosen to be the chief of staff for USC President Bob Caslen, West Point's former superintendent, said Caslen adviser Rob Godfrey. "Mark shares my priorities of high character, academic and research excellence, diversity and inclusion," Caslen said in a statement. "He is the perfect choice to lead my team, and he is a leader whom I have worked closely with before and whom I have the upmost trust and confidence in." Bieger was selected among 37 candidates who applied for $220,000-a-year job and among four interviewed over the holidays. The candidates included a woman and an African American male, Godfrey said. The job was posted for five days. Caslen, West Point superintendent from 2013 to 2018, was hired by a divided USC board on a 11-8 vote in July.
U. of Arkansas researchers, others add to climate-science studies
A report on climate-related science at public universities in the U.S. found that emerging topics include the effects of drought and extreme heat. The report by the National Council for Science and the Environment used statistical methods to examine the research output of 80 public universities in the U.S., including the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville. Researchers with the nonprofit, nonpartisan organization identified 51 climate-related papers from UA researchers during the five-year period under study. No other Arkansas university was included in the study. "It shows our universities across the nation are fully engaged in this. It's not something that's a sideline for a few people," Marty Matlock, executive director of the UA Resiliency Center, said of the report. The council's report, published in November, lists as a key finding that "climate science research increasingly focuses on impacts."
From classics to business, here's how majors at U. of Tennessee have changed in 225 years
When the University of Tennessee was Blount College, students studied the classics -- subjects like Latin, English and chemistry. As the school grew into a university, the subjects and majors offered began expanding. UT currently has more than 360 undergraduate degrees. While the university does not have records before 1996 in a centralized database, the popular majors can be tracked by when colleges were created, said Karen Dunlap, UT spokeswoman. In 2019, supply chain management was the most popular major for graduates. Over 400 students graduated with that degree, which manages the flow of goods that create a final product. Psychology and nursing were the second- and third-most popular majors this year. Psychology had 277 graduates, and nursing had 227. Psychology has remained a popular major over the past several decades. It was the most popular major for the classes of 1996 and 2000 and the second-most popular major in 2019.
Annual Grapevine survey finds modest continued increases in public higher education funding
An annual survey of state funding for higher education released today documents modest continued increases in funding across most states. Initially approved state appropriations grew by 5 percent in fiscal 2020 compared to the year before, representing the eighth straight year of annual increases and the largest annual percentage increase since fiscal year 2015, according to the annual Grapevine survey, a joint project of the Center for the Study of Education Policy at Illinois State University and the State Higher Education Executive Officers Association. While state funding has been steadily increasing over each of the past six years, a report released last April by SHEEO found that state funding had only halfway recovered from the deep cuts it sustained following the 2008 financial crisis. In essence, "the increases haven't been as big as the decreases during the recession," said Sophia Laderman, a senior policy analyst at SHEEO.
US 'cluster hiring' failing to meet promise, says study
University leaders often pitch cluster hiring as a way to quickly gain strength in a research area requiring collaborative expertise. More often than not, according to a new study, the effort may be ending in disappointment. The analysis by sociologists at the University of California, Riverside, covering almost 200 cluster hires across 20 research universities, found that most of the scientists end up trapped in the very disciplinary barriers the posts were intended to transcend. Cluster hiring programmes, as currently implemented, might not be "the most effective means for ensuring the level of interdisciplinary collaboration that can lead to important breakthroughs", write Quinn Bloom, Michaela Curran and Steve Brint in the Journal of Higher Education. The cluster hiring concept, which has gained popularity over the past couple of decades, means hiring a number of scholars across one or more departments of a university based on shared interests in a research topic to which they can contribute.
Mental-health apps: Colleges want students to use them, but there are privacy risks
As director of the University of Florida's Counseling and Wellness Center, Sherry Benton could never keep up with the student demand for services. Adding three new positions bought the center only two waitlist-free weeks. Knowing the school could never hire its way out of the resource shortage, she and Bob Clark, a seasoned software developer and veteran health-care executive, created a wellness and mental health app for students. TAO Connect is just one of dozens of mental health apps permeating college campuses in recent years. In addition to increasing the bandwidth of college counseling centers, the apps offer information and resources on mental health issues and wellness. But as student demand for mental health services grows, and more colleges turn to digital platforms, experts say universities must begin to consider their role as stewards of sensitive student information and the consequences of encouraging or mandating these technologies.
The mental health crisis on campus and how colleges can fix it
When college students seek help for a mental health issue on campus -- something they are doing more often -- the place they usually go is the college counseling center. But while the stigma of seeking mental health support has gone down, it has created a new problem: College counseling centers are now struggling to meet the increased demand. As a researcher who examines problems faced by college students in distress, I see a way to better support students' mental health. In addition to offering individual counseling, colleges should also focus on what we in the mental health field refer to as population health and prevention. These efforts can range from creating more shared spaces to increase social connections to stave off feelings of isolation, to reducing things on campus that threaten student well-being, such as discrimination and violence.
In a Homecoming Video Meant to Unite Campus, Almost Everyone Was White
The video was just two minutes long: a sunny montage of life at the University of Wisconsin's flagship campus in Madison. Here were hundreds of young men and women cheering at a football game, dancing in unison, riding bicycles in a sleek line, "throwing the W" for the camera, singing a cappella, leaping into a lake. "Home is where we grow together," a voice-over said. "It's where the hills are. It's eating our favorite foods. It's where we can all harmonize as one. Home is Wisconsin cheese curds. It's welcoming everyone into our home." Days before Homecoming Week, the student homecoming committee, tasked with producing the video, posted it online. The outrage was almost instantaneous. Virtually every student in the video was white. Black students in particular say the homecoming video crystallized a daily fact of life: They feel they are not wanted at the University of Wisconsin, where there are significantly fewer African-Americans per capita than in the state, which is mostly white.
Are historians increasingly driven to weigh in on contemporary policy debates?
A retired historian in the audience stood up and thanked her peers for keeping things topical, following a panel discussion at this weekend's meeting of the American Historical Association. Sandi Cooper, professor emerita at the College of Staten Island and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, said she'd joined the AHA in 1957 and found that annual meeting discussions rarely tackle anything that happened after the 1940s. This panel -- on the Nazi legacy in the Trump era -- was different, and welcome, she said. Nodding heads and murmurs of agreement followed her statement, even if it wasn't technically accurate. The AHA seeks to make its meetings relevant, such as with late-breaking sessions related to current events and plenaries open to the public. Yet Cooper's comment wasn't wholly inaccurate, either: AHA meetings aren't known for rousing policy debates. At this year's gathering, however, there was a sense that historians' perspectives are sorely needed in current policy discussions -- and that historians are increasingly willing to step up.
Can civic education save democracy from social media?
Syndicated columnist Bill Crawford of Meridian writes: As two of the three branches of government become more and more politicized, the posture of the third will play a crucial role in how our federal government works. The two politicized branches, of course, are the executive and legislative. The third, and supposed to always rise above politics, is the judicial branch. Last week, U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts spoke on behalf of the judicial branch. "We have come to take democracy for granted," he wrote in his year-end report, "and civic education has fallen by the wayside. "In our age, when social media can instantly spread rumor and false information on a grand scale, the public's need to understand our government, and the protections it provides, is ever more vital." Many among the highly politicized deemed Roberts' comments a swipe at President Donald Trump and other highly visible politicians and blatantly biased media. Maybe, but what Roberts appeared to truly mean is we as a nation are not preparing citizens with the proper knowledge and orientation to decipher truth from political propaganda.
Pomp and circumstances of Mississippi democracy about to begin
Bobby Harrison writes for Mississippi Today: The intricacies of democracy -- Mississippi style -- will be on full display in the coming two weeks as a new four-year term of state government begins. Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann will convene the Mississippi House to order for the new four-year term at noon Tuesday, officiate over the swearing-in of the 122 House members elected in November and begin the process of electing a speaker. On Thursday, Hosemann will begin his new duties presiding over the Senate as lieutenant governor. Over in the Senate, Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves will convene the Senate at noon Tuesday and swear in the 52 senators elected in November. Reeves will continue presiding over the Senate until Thursday when Hosemann, along with the other six statewide officials elected in November, will be sworn in during a ceremony in the House chamber.

Jordan Danberry Fuels State to 73-66 Win at Georgia
An 11-point fourth quarter for Jordan Danberry fueled No. 15 Mississippi State to a 73-66 victory at Georgia on Sunday afternoon at Stegeman Coliseum. Holding a one-point lead going into the fourth quarter, State (14-2, 2-0 SEC) knocked down its first five shots of the period and went 8-of-11 from the charity stripe to prevent UGA (10-5, 1-1 SEC) from making a comeback. "Not our best day but give Georgia a ton of credit," said head coach Vic Schaefer. "My young team, we grew up a little bit today, I hope." Despite Georgia shooting 51 percent from the floor, Mississippi State was able to force UGA into 23 turnovers and convert that into 19 points. MSU held a slight 35-34 edge on the glass, but State only allowed three offensive rebounds compared to its 14. The win marked State's 13th-consecutive victory on the road, the nation's longest active streak. The Bulldogs will look to extend that streak on Thursday, as MSU heads to Missouri for a 6 p.m. tip at Mizzou Arena.
Mississippi State women down Georgia in Athens
The Bulldogs continue to roll. After a home loss to West Virginia Dec. 8, the Mississippi State women's basketball team earned its sixth-straight victory with a 73-66 win over Georgia Sunday in Athens. "Not our best day but give Georgia a ton of credit," MSU coach Vic Schaefer said in a news release. "My young team, we grew up a little bit today, I hope. I don't know how many games I have ever won in my career where in the second half my opponent shot 54 percent in the third quarter and 60 in the fourth, 51 for the game and 75 from the line." Just days after opening Southeastern Conference play with a 93-47 demolition of Florida, freshman forward Rickea Jackson and senior guard Jordan Danberry each notched 17 points apiece to lead all scorers. With the win, Schaefer's bunch now sit at 2-0 in SEC play heading into Thursday's game at Missouri.
Too many issues, not enough wins: Cohen, fans, others sound off on Moorhead firing
At a bar top in the middle of StaggerIn Grill off Maxwell Street, Marilyn Johnson and Brian and Regina Bishop all sat with a few beers in front of them. As the varying televisions behind them brought official news of Mississippi State football coach Joe Moorhead's firing Friday following a two-year stint in charge of the Bulldogs, the trio offered their thoughts on the news. "We heard a bunch last night it was going to happen," Brian Bishop said. "I was kind of surprised but everybody wanted him gone so I guess I'm glad it happened," Johnson chimed in. "Not necessarily that I wanted it to happen, but I think the majority of the fanbase did." Sharon Spikes, a 1981 MSU graduate, sat in the stands at Nissan Stadium as the Bulldogs closed their season with Monday's Music City Bowl loss. While admittedly "true maroon" to her core, there was a sense in the seats the foundation of the Moorhead era had cracked. "Just watching the players coming out, running on and off the field, there didn't seem to be any enthusiasm and that just hurts my heart," she told The Dispatch.
Mississippi State's Willie Gay Jr. entering NFL Draft early
Whoever Mississippi State hires as its next coach, his linebackers room will have already taken a hit. Starkville native Willie Gay Jr. announced his intentions to enter the NFL Draft early on Monday morning. "Playing for your hometown team is a feeling words cannot describe and so few are blessed to experience," Gay tweeted. "This city and university will always hold a special place in my heart as the only home I've ever known. I'm so thankful for all I have, while I pursue all I've ever dreamed of. After much thought and prayer I have decided to declare for the 2020 NFL Draft." The 6-foot-2, 240-pound junior played in 31 games during his three seasons at MSU totaling 99 tackles, 11 tackles for loss, six sacks, two forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries and three interceptions -- one of which he returned for a touchdown.
Surreal? For past five weeks Mississippi college football is in the 'Twilight Zone'
Mississippi sports columnist Rick Cleveland writes: This is surreal. Mississippi college football, that is. Little more than a month ago, Matt Luke was the Ole Miss head football coach, trying to win the Egg Bowl with a fresh vote of confidence from the university's administration. Thirty-three days ago, Joe Moorhead was the Mississippi State head coach, having just defeated Ole Miss for the second year in a row to go to a second bowl in a row. Good heavens, how things have changed.
Unbeaten Auburn overcomes Hump jinx
Mississippi State's Humphrey Coliseum had been a house of horrors historically for No. 8 Auburn, having won only twice in its last 17 trips there. On Saturday, though, the Tigers were able to leave with their heads held high and their undefeated record intact after an 80-68 victory over the Bulldogs in front of 8,447 in the SEC opener for both. In the beginning, it was MSU that carried momentum on its side. The Bulldogs went on a 9-2 run coming out of the first media timeout to go up by 10 but then hit a lull, making just 1 of 16 from the field at one point. That cold spell allowed Auburn to close on a 20-6 run in the final 8:50 of the half and take a 29-24 halftime advantage. The Bulldogs are back in action at Alabama on Wednesday at 6 p.m. on the SEC Network.
Sluggish offensive output dooms Mississippi State men against No. 8 Auburn
For nearly two decades, Mississippi State men's basketball has owned Auburn in Starkville. Entering its Southeastern Conference opener against the No. 8 Tigers, MSU was 15-2 against Auburn at Humphrey Coliseum since 2001. That trend stopped Saturday. J'Von McCormick delivered a career-high 28 points, and Auburn found its shooting stroke in the second half en route to a 80-68 win over the Bulldogs in front of 8,447 fans in Starkville. "We've got a bus ride back home, but it's going to feel like we're flying," Auburn coach Bruce Pearl said. MSU (9-4, 0-1) is back in action at 6 p.m. Wednesday against Alabama in Tuscaloosa.
NOTEBOOK: Bulldog big men productive in loss
Mississippi State's big men enjoyed a big day despite an 80-68 loss to No. 8 Auburn on Saturday. Both Reggie Perry and Robert Woodard recorded double-doubles while Abdul Ado flirted with a triple-double. Perry had 21 points and 12 rebounds for his seventh double-double of the season and 16th of his career, leading active SEC players in both categories. Woodard had 12 points and 12 boards in his third career double-double. Although Ado didn't quite reach a double-double in an unconventional way, his nine blocks were a career-high. He also shot 1 of 1 from the field and 4 of 4 from the free throw line. "I thought he was great, especially on the defensive end blocking shots," said MSU coach Ben Howland.
Tulane rallies and defeats Southern Miss in Armed Forces Bowl
Justin McMillan won two Texas state championships playing for a high school only about 35 miles away from where he played his last game for Tulane. Both of his parents served in the Army. The Armed Forces Bowl provided a storybook finish for his college career. McMillan, who started for the Green Wave for two seasons after transferring from LSU, threw three touchdown passes in the third quarter as Tulane rallied for a 30-13 win while renewing a rivalry against Southern Mississippi on Saturday. "It is a home game. I live right down the road," said McMillan, who went to Cedar Hill High School. "It feels good to, one, play a game down here, two, to have two parents in the military. It's literally a Cinderella story for me." Southern Miss will open Golden Eagles coach Jay Hopson's fifth season, after four consecutive winning seasons, on Sept. 5 at home against South Alabama.
Ole Miss names new deputy athletics director
Tom Kleinlein is the new deputy athletics director at Ole Miss. Ole Miss athletic director Keith Carter made the announcement on Friday. Kleinlein will oversee the external affairs and day-to-day football activities for Rebel Athletics. Kleinlein arrives in Oxford after seven years as Georgia Southern's Director of Athletics. A former college football player at Wake Forest, Kleinlein joined the Eagles following two years at Kent State, where he served as the deputy athletics director, and five years at Arizona State, where he served as the associate athletics director for football. Kleinlein accepted his assignment at Georgia Southern after serving in executive roles with the Kent State, Arizona State and Rutgers athletics departments. He earned his bachelor's degree in history from Wake Forest (1992) and a master's of education in curriculum and instruction from Arizona State (2008). Kleinlein started his career in athletics administration as an academic counselor at his alma mater.
President Donald Trump expected to attend College Football Playoff championship game in New Orleans
President Donald Trump is expected to attend the College Football Playoff championship game in New Orleans on Jan. 13, according to a source familiar with preparations underway but not authorized to discuss them publicly. The White House hasn't confirmed the president's plans, which could change if tensions escalate with Iran following the American airstrike in Baghdad this week that killed Iranian Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani. But preparations for Trump's attendance at the championship game don't come as a surprise. Trump, who has taken to attending college football events as he's feuded with the NFL over kneeling players, attended the LSU vs. Alabama game in Tuscaloosa in November, and he's attended previous college national championships. Trump's trip to New Orleans, if it happens, would be his seventh trip to Louisiana since taking office in January 2017, including three visits during the 2019 gubernatorial race.

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