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Banks inches closer to MSU interception record

September 23, 2012

MSU defensive back and former East Webster player Johnthan Banks (13) returns an interception against South Alabama. (Photo by Kim Murrell, SDN)

Mississippi State senior defensive back Johnthan Banks inched one step closer to becoming the career interception leader at the school Saturday night.

The former East Webster High School player is within one pick of tying the all-time interception record of 16 held by Walt Harris.

"I wasn't surprised," Banks said about his interception. "That's what I do. I am not trying to be cocky, but that is what coach (Dan) Mullen, coach (Melvin) Smith and coach (Chris) Wilson expect me to do. I have to make plays, and the other team ought to know that if you throw it around me five or six times, I am going to get one of them."

Banks' theft and return of 47 yards was one of the plays that kept the South Alabama Jaguars from getting points in the later stages of the game as the Bulldogs won a 30-10 decision at Davis Wade Stadium.

With his fourth-quarter play, Banks is now the active FBS leader with 274 return interception yardage. He broke the school record of 241 yards which was previously held by Derek Pegues.

First career start

Dewayne Cherrington got his first career start at defensive tackle for Mississippi State.

Cherrington is a 6-3, 325-pound senior from Gwinnett, Ga.

Also freshman linebacker Benardrick McKinney made his first career start.

Jones still suspended

There has been no change in the status of defensive lineman P.J. Jones.
When asked about Jones after the game, MSU coach Dan Mullen said "he's still indefinitely suspended."

Jones has not played for the Bulldogs this season.

Gator Bowl scouts

Representatives from the Gator Bowl watched the Bulldogs play the Jaguars.

It hasn't been that long ago since MSU participated in the NCAA postseason bowl game in Jacksonville, Fla. The Bulldogs easily defeated the Michigan Wolverines 52-14 on Jan. 1, 2011.

Coach To Cure support

Mississippi State coaches wore green Coach to Cure MD patches on their shirt sleeves during Saturday's game.

Coach to Cure MD is a partnership between the American Football Coaches Association, a professional organization for over 10,000 college football coaches and staff, and Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy, the largest national charity devoted exclusively to Duchenne muscular dystrophy.

In 2008, the AFCA adopted PPMD's Coach To Cure MD program as one of its charity efforts. One reason the AFCA was drawn to Coach To Cure MD was because of the unique parallels between Duchenne, a disorder which robs young men of muscle strength and college football, a game where young men are at the peak of their muscle strength.

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