Published October 6, 2010 - 6:05am
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The Mississippi State Bulldogs (3-2) travel to Houston (3-1) this weekend. The Bulldogs are coming off a two-game winning streak against Georgia and Alcorn State. Here are five things you need to know about Mississippi State vs Houston:
1. Mississippi State has found its playmakers. Running back Vick Ballard and wide receiver Chad Bumphis are bright spots in the Bulldogs’ offense. Ballard has scored eight touchdowns on the young year and has run for 288 yards on the season. He currently leads the SEC in scoring per game, at 10.8 points. Bumphis has had 25 receptions for 352 yards and four touchdowns. He also leads the team in all-purpose yardage. Dan Mullen needs to feed the football to these playmakers.
2. Houston’s low on quarterbacks. Starting quarterback and Heisman hopeful Case Keenum is out for the year with a torn ACL suffered in the UCLA game when he tried to make a tackle on an interception. Keenum is currently 5th overall in NCAA career passing yardage. Back-up quarterback Cotton Turner is also out for the year with a broken collarbone. Who does that leave? Well, head coach Kevin Sumlin is not quite sure. The Cougars will likely go with freshman Terrance Broadway as the starter on Saturday.
3. Houston has a decent running game. Starting running back Bryce Beall is the starter for the Cougars, and he has scored nine rushing touchdowns and averages over 104 yards per game. Michael Hayes is the back up to Beall. Hayes has scored five touchdowns as well. These guys know how to get into the end zone.
4. A Mississippi State quarterback has shown consistency. Quarterback Chris Relf has settled in nicely as of late to give the Bulldogs a passing attack. Relf has split time with backup quarterback Tyler Russell. In his last two games, Relf has thrown for 357 yards and four touchdowns. He also adds a legitimate running attack to his passing game that can get things going on the ground if the offense is at a standstill.
5. Houston suspended its top receiver. James Cleveland was suspended by head coach Kevin Sumlin for violation of team rules. Last year, Cleveland caught 11 passes for 131 yards and two touchdowns against the Bulldogs. He currently leads the team in receiving this season with 324 yards and three touchdowns – a big loss for the Cougars.