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The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

James: A quick look back at MSU football in 1998

1998+football+season+collage
Joshua Britt | The Reflector
1998 football season collage

It is homecoming week in Starkville, and the Bulldogs are set to take on the Kentucky Wildcats in Davis-Wade Stadium while wearing a new set of threads designed to honor the Mississippi State Bulldogs from the late ’90s.
With the university honoring its legacy from the ’90s, let us take a look back at the 1998 Mississippi State University football team  a team that earned the school its first division title as well as a success in both the SEC Championship game and in a New Year’s Six bowl.
The 1998 Bulldogs squad, led by head coach Jackie Sherrill, featured quarterback Wayne Madkin under center, along with running back James Johnson, tight end Reggie Kelly and guard Randy Thomas — the latter three of which were named to All-SEC honors that season.
The best wins of the Bulldogs’ season included a 38-0 shutout of South Carolina at Columbia, as well as a 22-21 home victory against No. 9 Arkansas, which resulted in dozens, if not hundreds, of fans rushing the field and taking down the goal post with the help of some players too. The Bulldogs would also crush arch rivals Ole Miss at Oxford, 28-6, in the 1998 Egg Bowl.
Finishing with a 6-2 record in SEC play, the 1998 season remains the only season in which the Bulldogs have won an SEC division title. That one title is still more than Ole Miss, Kentucky, Texas A&M and Vanderbilt have won combined, and it will likely stay that way with the elimination of divisions next season.
With the SEC West title in hand, the Bulldogs traveled to Atlanta to take on No. 1 Tennessee in the SEC Championship game. After the Bulldogs took a 14-10 lead in the fourth quarter, Volunteers quarterback Tee Martin threw two touchdown passes within 32 seconds, ending in a 14-24 Bulldog defeat.
Following their loss in the SEC Championship, the Bulldogs would earn a New Year’s Six berth in the 1999 Cotton Bowl, where they lost 11-38 to the Texas Longhorns on New Year’s Day.
The Bulldogs finished the 1998 season with an 8-5 overall record. Although it did not end the way fans hoped it would, that season still yielded a winning record and the program’s first division title in school history. It also helped build the foundation for the following season, where the Bulldogs went 10-2 in 1999.
Despite its rough ending, the 1998 season remains one of the more memorable seasons in Mississippi State football lore.

About the Contributor
Colin James, Staff Writer
Colin James is a senior communication major. Colin is currently a staff writer for The Reflector.
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The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University
James: A quick look back at MSU football in 1998