State to open 2011 home slate against LSU on Thursday night
Mississippi State will open its home schedule in the 2011 season against Louisiana State on September 15 with a Thursday Night Football contest on ESPN.
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The game, which will be a 6:30 p.m. CT kickoff, will be played the third week of the season.
State opens the 2011 slate with road games at Memphis (Sept. 3) and Auburn (Sept. 10).
It marks the second-straight season that Mississippi State will be featured on the national networkâ€™s Thursday night prime-time telecast. The Bulldogs opened their 2009 SEC campaign with a 17-14 loss at Davis Wade Stadium against an Auburn team that would eventually be in the Bowl Championship Series National Championship.
It was at that game the Starkville Daily News reported talks between both schools and ESPN executives had begun discussions to produce another Thursday night matchup for the 2011 season. At that time, no MSU official would confirm any details except to say the interest was mutual.
Mississippi State is 6-9 in 15 previous ESPN Thursday night games.
â€śWe appreciate our university administration working with us on this national television appearance,â€ť Mississippi State Athletics Director Scott Stricklin said. â€śIt is tremendous exposure not only for us, but for the university and its programs, and the state as well.
â€śDr. Keenum and his staff have been supportive of opportunities of this kind, and have put in place a committee to assure the primary pursuit of the university â€“ academic integrity â€“ will continue despite the unusual situation of playing a college football game on a weeknight. We look forward to assisting in that endeavor, as well as a great football game that night.â€ť
The Tigers, who beat MSU 29-7 in Baton Rouge this season, finished the 2010 regular season with a 10-2 record and 6-2 in the Southeastern Conference Western Division and will play Texas A&M in the 2011 Cotton Bowl on Jan. 7.
The last time the Tigers were in Davis Wade Stadium they left with a dramatic 30-26 victory when State had three plays inside the 1-yard-line for what wouldâ€™ve been the game-winning touchdown.
In 2007, LSU also played a Thursday night game at Mississippi State, starting its run to the BCS national championship with an emphatic 45-0 win over the Bulldogs.
LSU remains one of three Western Division teams in the SEC that Mississippi State head coach Dan Mullen has a 0-2 record against with Auburn and Alabama being the other two.
â€śWeâ€™re excited for the opportunity to again play in front of a national audience,â€ť Mullen said. â€śThursday night football on ESPN has become one of the most watched games each week, and weâ€™re happy to have the chance to showcase Mississippi State University, our fans and our players to the nation.â€ť