In its first week of scouting, the Chick-fil-A Bowl was at Davis-Wade Stadium to see Saturday’s 24-17 win by the Bulldogs over Kentucky.
The bowl committee sent representative Larry Terry to interview and essentially let State officials know that the bowl formerly known as the Peach Bowl, but always located in the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, could be interested in Mississippi State representing the Southeastern Conference.
“What we like to do is take a weekend at check out the campus, the fan bases because it helps us make our selection,” Terry said. “I can tell you that everybody at MSU seems very excited to be a part of our game in Atlanta.”
Terry went to dinner Friday night at Harvey’s Restaurant in Starkville with select MSU officials including athletic director Scott Stricklin to discuss specific items about the Bulldogs program.
“For a school that hasn’t been to our bowl game since 1999 –we have been told by numerous people that from a travel prospective some State fans would rather go to Atlanta than some of the New Year’s Day games in Florida," Terry said.
The Chick-fil-A Bowl, which is the eighth-oldest bowl game in college football history, is again on New Year’s Eve and will involve a selected SEC school and the second-best Atlantic Coast Conference program.
The last time State was selected for the then-called Peach Bowl was 1999 and the result was a 17-7 Bulldogs win.
Bost, Bryant and Lewis shine in scrimmage
Mississippi State's junior guard Dee Bost shined Saturday afternoon along with his newcomer backcourt mate in junior-college transfer Brian Bryant in the team's only open scrimmage at Humphrey Coliseum before the Bulldogs exhibition game this coming Saturday.
Bost, who will be forced to sit out until the Southeastern Conference opener against Alabama, totaled 40 points on just 26 shots and 13 assists in a 52-minute scrimmage. The fast break off misses with Bost or Bryant, a transfer from Northwest Florida State College worked well as the 6-foot-3 newcomer ended the day with nine assists and just four turnovers.
"We don't have to talk about Dee - that's well documented you can see the improvement he's made," Mississippi State head coach Rick Stansbury said. "I like Brian Bryant. He's a guy that does a lot of little things. One of those guys that helps your team win because he can do multiple things out there."
Stansbury mentioned to the selected media after the scrimmage that he noticed the tired legs of his players in the final 12-minute session but anticipated that after the first full week of two-a-day practices.
“It’s very obvious we got very, very tired before that scrimmage was over,” Stansbury said. “We've got to have a couple of guys in that lineup step up without Dee because they ain’t going to cancel no games now.”
The surprise of the day was sophomore forward Wendell Lewis as he totaled 13 points, seven rebounds and two blocks and held star sophomore Renardo Sidney in check defensively when the duo was matched up.
Lewis and Bost worked for a pair of pick ‘n roll dunks from the sophomore big man, who Stansbury admitted was supposed to be redshirted last year but couldn’t be because of lack of depth.
"Wendell is better for us now," Stansbury said. "I thought he was better for us in our first two scrimmages than he was today."
Sidney, who fans were getting their first look at since last year's open scrimmage, struggled to finish with 10 points and half of the shots from the 6-foot-10 forward were from beyond the three-point arc.
Sidney, who was on the floor according to the MSU statistics for a combined 33 minutes, finished the scrimmage on the bench after he appeared to be suffer some severe cramping in his left leg.
"Work in progress - better than he was but got a long way to go," Stansbury said.
Last year's leading scorer for most of the 2009-10 season Ravern Johnson showed his shooting touch early by nailing 7-of-15 for 17 points in the first 20 minute half.
Mississippi State will face Lindsey Wilson Saturday in its only exhibition game before the start of the 2010-11 season when they host Tennessee State at Humphrey Coliseum on Nov. 12.