Before playing their arch-rival in the Battle for the Golden Egg on Saturday, the Mississippi State Bulldogs will take a little bit of a break from preparation today to enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday with family and teammates.
The Bulldogs have a morning practice scheduled today, but coach Dan Mullen plans to turn the players loose at noon. The 70 members of the travel squad get back together at 2:45 p.m. on Friday.
Mississippi State plays at Ole Miss in Oxford on Saturday with kickoff set for 6 p.m.
Mullen said it's important to allow the players a little free time at this point of the week, especially with the holiday mixed in.
"We've done that every year," Mullen said Wednesday during the Southeastern Conference coaches teleconference. "We always say we are a pretty tight family around here, so it's important for me to let them go home if they have the opportunity to go home and have dinner with their families on Thanksgiving, or go to a teammates house or coaches house and have a little bit of a family day on Thanksgiving."
For example, Mullen said some of the receivers that live a great distance from Starkville might visit Chad Bumphis' house.
"That just shows how close knit our team is," Mullen said.
Mullen not one
to compare scores
Mullen said it doesn't matter what has happened in the past when it comes to playing Ole Miss.
Even though the Bulldogs and the Rebels have several common opponents on their schedules, Mullen said it's something that's not worth taking under consideration.
"With anybody you play, I don't think any of that has any relevance," Mullen said. "It's how you are going to perform this week."
The most recent opponent for both schools was when Ole Miss lost a 41-35 decision to LSU on Nov. 17, while MSU lost to the Tigers 37-17 at Tiger Stadium just one week earlier.
The Rebels had a 10-point lead against Texas A&M during a game on Oct. 6, but ended up losing 30-27. The Bulldogs fell to the Aggies 38-13 on Nov. 3.
Even though Ole Miss has lost three-straight games, Mullen has been impressed with the effort the Rebels have given in those matchups.
"They play hard against every team I've seen," Mullen said. "They played hard against Vanderbilt, (and) played hard against Arkansas. If you play hard, you give yourself an opportunity to win."