JACKSON, Miss. (AP) -Coach Sylvester Croom spliced together Mississippi State's greatest hits of 2007 to inspire his team this week.
The Bulldogs' eight-win breakthrough was a thumbs-up performance, full of big plays and poignant moments. Croom hopes the film inspires more than nostalgia as Mississippi State prepares to host No. 13 Vanderbilt in a game he thinks could turn around the Bulldogs' dismal season.
``We just watched the way that we ran around to the ball on defense and stopped the run,'' linebacker K.J. Wright said. ``We just want to get that swagger back that we had.''
The struggling Bulldogs don't have to look far to find that lost mojo. Vanderbilt has clearly stolen it, using interceptions, goal-line stands and grit to go 5-0.
id since 1982 with a win in Starkville.
Those themes sound awfully familiar to Croom.
``They just know how to win,'' Croom said. ``They've done a very good job of selling their players on it. I've got to do a better job of selling ours on it.''
Off to a disheartening 1-4 start, the Bulldogs (0-2 SEC) seem to be buying in finally. Croom said the team's slow start can be attributed to many things, including a lack of leadership, injuries and offseason incidents that robbed the team of a pair of key starters.
The team showed signs of renewed vigor in a 34-24 loss to LSU and an off week has players feeling frisky. Nope, these Bulldogs aren't ready to roll over just yet.
``It's a shock-the-world type attitude we've got over here, you know what I'm saying,'' tailback Anthony Dixon said. ``We're just going to take care of business. We're at home, they're coming to our home. We feel like they're in trouble.''
Vanderbilt players have heard this all before, of course. Long the conference's easy win, the Commodores say they don't need to be given respect when they can now go out and earn it.
``Everybody can say what they want to say and that's OK,'' wide receiver George Smith said. ``Let them think what they want to think. I think we're proving what kind of team we are on Saturday.''
the SEC in team offense, 10th in team defense and are 116th out of 119 teams nationally with an average of 96 yards passing per game. Only the option-oriented service academies pass for less.
Yet Vanderbilt has been unbeatable so far because they are tops in a few categories that count more than the others. The Commodores are No. 1 in the nation in turnover margin (plus 9) and No. 2 in interceptions (11). They're also tops in the conference in sacks (16) and penalties with 16 - 12 fewer than any other team.
More importantly, they've given up one second-half touchdown and are outscoring opponents 58-10 in the final two quarters.
``Those are the stats that are important,'' Croom said. ``That's what they do. They don't beat themselves. They play for 60 minutes. They don't ever quit on themselves and I think they just keep coming and keep coming and keep coming. And they win games.''
---
AP sports writer Teresa Walker in Nashville contributed to this report.

Recent NCAAF Discussions

2017 Heisman Odds on Wed, Mar 2017 by Blade
College / NBA today on Sun, Mar 2017 by TtomBoBadly
SNOW on Tue, Mar 2017 by Michael Cash
EARLY COLL PLAYS FOR WED. on Wed, Mar 2017 by Timmy1961

NCAAF Headlines

NCAAF Top Stories

Thumbnail Updated National Championship Odds With over five months before kickoff of the new season, is Alabama still favored to win it all in 2018?
Thumbnail VA Tech opens as favorites vs WVU Some of the Week 1 lines have been released for college football and Virginia Tech has opened as a small favorite versus West Virginia.
Thumbnail Stanford QB on track for camp Stanford head coach David Shaw said that quarterback Keller Chryst is "right on schedule" for training camp.
Thumbnail Clemson has big challenge this spring The biggest question the defending national champion Clemson Tigers face this spring is who will replace leader Deshaun Watson at...

NCAAF Team Pages