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The Winner
Mississippi St. Fan
Member since Nov 2016
5298 posts

Remembering the Jackie Sherrill era at Mississippi State, the most important HC Hire
With Sherrills lawsuit reaching an end, I think it is a great time to remember the Jackie Sherrill era at MSU. Who is the most important HC in MSU FB history.

At the time of Sherrill's hire, SI wrote a smear piece in attempts to mock both Sherrill and MSU as both inferior pawns who desperately needed one another.

quote:

You can't imagine what that sort of talk means to Bulldog fans until you understand how much frustration they have endured over the years, and how much ridicule they have absorbed. Starkville (pop. 18,000) may be the most aptly named college town in America. It lies in flat, drab farmland in northeast Mississippi, far removed from an interstate highway and 18 miles from the nearest commercial airport. It has always been the Southeastern Conference's most forlorn outpost, everybody's least-favorite road trip

So Sherrill, who would have laughed at Mississippi State as recently as a couple of years ago, told Zacharias and Templeton what a "great opportunity" he saw in Starkville. They liked that, because they had probably never heard it before.


It is amazing to me reading these older articles how shitty these writers have always been. If you care to read more LINK

This hire was monumental. No coach at MSU had any success since Allyn McKeen(who coached in the 1940's). Not even Darrell Royal would stay long enough to do anything significant. Emory Bellard relied on Bob Tylers players. Tyler is arguably State's best coach in the pre modern era, but the NCAA shadow makes his record look worse than it appears due to BS violations. More on that later when we explore Sherrills time with the NCAA(I will not go into his trouble at Texas A&M in that regard).

1991: the beginning of the modern era for Mississippi State Football, and just 1 year before the 1st SEC Expansion. Jackie Sherrill is hired, and the Egg Bowl is moved back to campuses. Another interesting note is that the Southern Mississippi series ended this year. And this was the turning point of State never competing with Southern Mississippi in the sport again.

Sherrill would beat Cal State Fullerton in his first win as MSU's Football coach before taking on the Texas Longhorns in an intresting timing to say the least to face them. Odd the great mighty Texas Longhorns had no problem finding their way into Starkville, and they certainly wanted to find their way out quickly as the KANG defeated the #13 team 13-6 in a game that not only was State's biggest since 1980, but proved that Sherrill was going to show something State has not seen in 5 decades: a winner.

Sherrill would get his first SEC Win over Kentucky after dropping his first 2 SEC games to Tennessee and Florida. His first SEC road win over Auburn sparked a great late season run which inluded a TD loss at Alabama(a team that shutout State the previous year) and a win at LSU which stunningly would be the last win at Tiger Stadium for MSU until 23 years later(and State would only beat LSU one more time in this span). Finally Jackie gets a huge win over Mississippi(their first in Starkville vs the Rebels since 1942) who had won 7 of the last 8 games over the Bulldogs and this led a definitive final statement on the season that Mississippi State was not around to be pushed around in the SEC anymore. This is a new MSU and it was a battle to even get that perception(a battle that I still fight to this day).

1992: State would ultimately lose their bowl game in the 1991 season and that would not change in 1992. State was preseason ranked in 1992 and began the season in Austin Texas. Which is when the legendary story of how Jackie Sherill castrated a bull at a football practice. LINK

This was the first year of the SEC Divisons and Mississippi State was assigned to the SEC West with Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, LSU, and Ole Miss. They were assigned "permeant SEC Eastern Division Opponents" in South Carolina and Kentucky.

Sherrill began the SEC home slate with Florida in Starkville, MSU had been paid by FL in recent years to play their home games in Orlando and Jacksonville, so to be able to host Florida was big for State as Spurriers Gators were ranked #13. State would embarss Florida on Thursday Night ESPN television, but it came at a price. Sleepy Robinson, the starting QB, got injured. And this ultimately cost MSU a chance at the first ever SEC Championship Game.

State would drop a game in SC but they would take ALabama down to the wire before losing to them in Starkville, and ended the season with a brutual Egg Bowl loss before dropping a bowl game to UNC.

1993: not much memorable about this season, State would tie Arkansas in Little Rock, which was their only non loss to Arkansas on the road until 2013. But ultimately a 4-5-2 season was highlighted by another Egg Bowl victory, and an ALabama forfeited win.

1994: The best record in the Sherrill era thus far was this 8-4 season which included States first win in Oxford since 1970. And a win vs the great Peyton Manning in Starkville. and yet another Peach Bowl loss. Which was a talking point now being 0-3 in bowl games.

1995: 3-8 Yuck

1996: State started out the season 3-5 heading into a battle with number 8 Alabama in Starkville. Arguably one of the best wins in school history, the bulldogs get their first(on the field) win over Alabama since 1980 and would begin a stretch of winning over Alabama that State has not seen even to this day. One of the many highlights of the Sherrill, beating Alabama ultimately pushed Stallings out, and made Alabama realize that another SEC program was here to compete. State would end the season with a shutout win in Oxford and this would build some momentum for years to come.

This post was edited on 7/19 at 2:29 am


The Winner
Mississippi St. Fan
Member since Nov 2016
5298 posts

re: Remembering the Jackie Sherrill era at Mississippi State, the most important HC Hire
1997: Probably the most frustrating season for a MSU fan as a 7-4 team with wins over Alabama and Auburn were excluded from a bowl game. While everyone can point to the Mississippi game, performances like losing 47-0 to Georgia are really what cost this team at the end. But maybe just maybe this season was not all bad. After all 1997 only meant that 1998 was here.

1998: The greatest MSU season in the modern era: 1998. No MSU team since the 1940's have won anything as significant as this squad did: a SEC Division title. And while you can argue how "weak" the division was, MSU was still the best team out of 6 teams I mentioned earlier. Let me just say looking back, this season truly is bizzare in the SEC West race. State starts out the season 5-3 and Arkansas started out the season 8-0. If there were odds back then, there would most likely be an 80+% chance Arkansas wins the West. Instead Arkansas trips up against a tough Tennessee team in Knoxville, and Mississippi State gets their 3rd straight victory over Alabama(the most in row since 1912-1914). Which setup a defacto SEC West Title game vs Arkansas in Starkville: LINK. With the field goal, and with the win over Ole Miss in Oxford, State wins their only division title and gets a chance to knock off #1 Tennessee, in which they ultimately blow a double digit 4q lead... State would end the season vs Texas in the Cotton Bowl and that is all that is needed to be said about that game.

1999: Many MSU fans regard this season as being better overall than 1998, which I disagree with and I will come up with that in a second. MSU started off 8-0, had the #1 defense, and Jackie finally got his first victory over LSU since his first season. This setup a game vs #11 Alabama on the road. Before I go any further I think it is important to note that MSU had not defeated any ranked team up to this point, however this wasn't a 2012 situation as I will show you shortly.

Anyways this 1999 Alabama game ultimately defined the 1999 MSU season. Mississippi State loses on a BS called Punt return that cost MSU not only their undefeated season, but back to back trips to Atlanta. State would then lose at #22 Arkansas. 2 games vs ranked opponents, 2 losses. What would this MSU teams legacy be?

The Tip, the Kick. and the Pick

LINK

Need I say anymore? That is just a glorious win period. And a win over a ranked Ole Miss team that ultimately gave State a much needed signature win.

State would get their first Bowl win in the SHerrill era with a win over Clemson which would give State their first 10 win season since 1940.

2000: The last great year of the Sherrill era. And boy is it absoloutely heartbreaking. State lost a disappointing game to SOuth Carolina for their first loss, and they would not beat SC again until 2016 as State would stop playing SC yearly in 2002. State hosts #3 Florida and #15 Auburn in back to back weeks and ultimately gets the Kang his last two big signature wins. Both iconic and legendary in their own ways, State was in the drivers seat for not only the division, but the SEC Title. State would then go on the road to play LSU, a team coached by first year head coach Nick Saban. State would lose in OT on a BS non TD that would be defining as State wouldn't even get close to beating them there for 14 years. Still, even with 2 SEC losses, State with their 4th win over Alabama in 5 years still controlled their own destiny for the SEC. All they needed to do was beat Arkansas at home and Mississippi on the road. Just like 1998. Well.... State would lost their 2nd OT game when they lost to Arkansas, and they would fall to Mississippi 45-30. State was once again at 7-4, and had ended their season exactly like 1997. But this time, State gets a bowl invite to the Independence Bowl. Here is the kicker, State is set to play Texas A&M. Sherrills old team coached by his former assistant. A&M actually ended their season similarly to State, they too controlled their Big 12 destiny, but fell in their last 2 games. The Snow Bowl is arguably the most Iconic game in MSU history and that led MSU to their last great win in the Sherill era.

I plan to go on at some point to the endings of this. And I hope maybe to even make a video. Sherrill holds a special place in my heart as well as many State fans I am sure. As brutal as the end was(which is partly the NCAA's fault), the great times cannot be ignored. Which is why Sherrill was truly the first coach to show that MSU can win and win big with the right pieces.


The Winner
Mississippi St. Fan
Member since Nov 2016
5298 posts

re: Remembering the Jackie Sherrill era at Mississippi State, the most important HC Hire
reserved


The Winner
Mississippi St. Fan
Member since Nov 2016
5298 posts

re: Remembering the Jackie Sherrill era at Mississippi State, the most important HC Hire
reserved


MaroonNation
Mississippi St. Fan
StarkVegas, Mississippi, Bitch!
Member since Nov 2010
20432 posts

re: Remembering the Jackie Sherrill era at Mississippi State, the most important HC Hire
Awesome history. I remember that UNc loss. Natron Means was their running back. And God knows I remember the Ricky Williams beatdown by Texas. I also remember us going into Provo Utah and demolishing BYU, beating Oklahoma State when they had a black HC and losing badly to Oregon and West Virginia. It seemed there for a stretch of about 5 years that every non-conference P5 opponent we played automatically was ranked Top5 that season. I also remember losing to Air Force in a bowl game when Drew Bledsoe was their QB. Jackie never paid bowl games much attention


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Godawgs4
Mississippi St. Fan
Member since Aug 2016
1361 posts

re: Remembering the Jackie Sherrill era at Mississippi State, the most important HC Hire
I still maintain that 911 affected State more than any other school in the nation. We defeated Memphis in the first game and then we were set to play BYU on September 15th. Had 911 not happened I think we beat BYU soundly and defeat USCe the following Thursday on ESPN. Now we got drilled by Florida and LSU that year but we lost a two point game to Auburn, 3 point game to Arky , 7 point game to Bama. We led all three of those games in the 4th Quarter. Then you have the inexplicable loss to Troy (still smh on that one), and then absolute thievery of the BYU game. Other than the 1981 Egg Bowl, that is only game that I have said that referees rob us of. The BYU OL bear hugged our defense all night long and finally in the fourth quarter they got one holding penalty called on them. It was the loudest booing I have ever heard at Scott Field. Even my wife was booing and she really does not understand football that well but even she was calling out the holding on their OL.
We lost 41-38.

The record was 3-8 but could have easily have been 9-2. Six of our losses could have easily have been wins and I think 5/6 of them would have been if not for 911.

We had been off 17 days when we played USCe on September 20th. We were flat and just did not play well that night and lost 16-14. It was the first game played after 911 and the game just seemed to be not important after what had happened.

After that, the season just seemed to spiral downward and though we did win the Egg Bowl, that was about the only highlight of the season.

2002-2003 saw the end of Sherrill in a decidedly disappointing manner. But I am still grateful to him for what he did for our football program. He established that we could win at State and though end was not good , it eventually made possible what CDM did more recently.


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