By DANNY P. SMITH
Let the construction begin.
While Mississippi State head football coach Dan Mullen remains busy building the program, his efforts will be helped along with the addition of the Leo seal Jr. Football Complex.
The Bulldogs broke ground Thursday at the site where the complex will stand, near the Palmeiro Center, and the timetable for completion of the $25 million football training and office facility will be 2013. "The Leo Seal Jr. Football Complex is going to be a great addition and it's going to be a home to our football program," MSU athletic director Scott Stricklin said. "It's all going to be under one roof and will be an indoor practice facility. It's great to see the people come together, make this happen and make it a reality."
When completed, the complex will take up 80,000 square feet and will include a weight room, locker room, training room and coaches' offices.
Twin brothers Lee and Leo Seal initiated fund-raising for the project with a $12 million gift from the Seal Foundation of Gulfport. The gift is the largest in MSU athletics history.
The facility will be named in honor of their father Leo Seal Jr. The late Mr. Seal was a former MSU football player, long-time Bulldog Club member and president of Hancock Bank.
"The Seals obviously made the lead gift and they've been trend setters for a long time," Stricklin said. "They've led the way and showed people how to give. We're just fortunate to have them as a part of our Mississippi State Bulldog family."
On Wednesday, MSU awarded the general construction contract for the complex to JESCO, Inc., a Fulton-based industrial engineering and design contractor.
JESCO employs nearly 1,000 Mississippians in full-time and seasonal positions with annual sales approaching $200 million.
Thursday marked the 105th time Mississippi State and LSU met on the football field.
It was only the 20th time the Bulldogs and the Tigers have played in Starkville. The two teams did not meet on the MSU campus from 1923 to 1982.
LSU stretched its winning streak to 12 games in the series and have won 19 of the last 20 outings. The Bulldogs won back-to-back games in 1990 and 1991.
Former MSU tailback Lewis Grubbs was the honorary captain for the LSU game.
Lewis wore the maroon and white from 1969-72 and rushed for 1,580 yards during his career. He ranks 17th among all-time rushers in Bulldogs history.
During a special halftime ceremony, Jack Cristil, the Voice of the Bulldogs for six decades, became the first of four individuals to be inducted into MSU's Ring of Honor.
Cristil's name was revealed on the stadium and he was awarded a framed photo with his name on the stadium.
Former East Webster player Johnthan Banks got his ninth-career interception for the Bulldogs in the fourth quarter, tying him for ninth all-time in school history. ... MSU junior kicker Derek DePasquale is now tied for sixth in MSU history with 25 field goals with a 42-yarder with 5:28 left in third quarter. ... With his second reception in the first quarter, Bulldog junior wide receiver Chad Bumphis became tied for 10th on the career receptions list with 81. ... MSU redshirt freshman Kaleb Eulls recorded his first career sack in the third quarter. ... Senior captain Charles Mitchell had a career-high 16 tackles, which is the most by a Bulldog since Dominic Douglas also had 16 at Ole Miss on Nov. 28, 2008.