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The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

    Dawgs to face tragedy-stricken Green Wave

    “We are going into a hornet’s nest.”
    That is Croom’s attitude going into tomorrow’s matchup with the Tulane Green Wave, a team and a school that has been devastated in the last few weeks by the effects of Hurricane Katrina.
    This game was originally scheduled to be played in New Orleans, one of the cities that has absorbed the brunt of Katrina’s coastal fury. As a result the Louisiana Superdome, where the Green Wave hosts their home games, has been rendered unusable, forcing the two schools to move the game to Shreveport, La., at Independence Bowl Stadium, and will be televised on the College Sports Television network. This will be the first game for the Green Wave since the disaster.
    “This is the first step and a significant event in the healing process for our Tulane athletics community, our university, our city and all those affected throughout the Gulf South,” Tulane athletic director Rick Dickson said.
    The Wave have become a great human interest story, practicing and running football operations from Dallas, Texas, and now Ruston, La., trying to maintain some form of normalcy in their schedule. Many on the MSU squad are sympathetic to their plight.
    Some have even lost homes or had injuries to family members. Mississippi State athletic director Larry Templeton has even forgone the school’s guaranteed $200,000 in ticket sales for the game.
    However, when the pads go on for Saturday’s contest, the Bulldogs must act like it’s business as usual.
    “We’re the bad guys in this game,” Croom said. “The whole country is going to be rooting for them, but we’ve just got to deal with it. We struggled to beat them last year, and they’ve got everyone coming back. They’ve got a good quarterback, a veteran defense and they are going to be full of emotion.”
    Football has become a rallying cry for both schools. Both are from affected states, and both have players whose lives have been directly affected. Football has become a necessary distraction from the tragedy and chaos that surrounds them.
    “Coach Croom has been preparing us for what kind of emotional state it’s going to be for the other team with everything that’s been going on,” said Derek Ambrose, an MSU senior running back who is a native of New Orleans.
    The Bulldogs are just as hungry for a victory as their vagabond foes. The team lost its opening SEC contest last weekend on the road in a 28-0 defeat at the hands of the Auburn Tigers.
    The Dawgs shot themselves in the collective foot all afternoon with mental miscues, fumbles and penalties, all of which have Croom hoping for a better showing this weekend.
    “We’re going to try to stay onsides, not fumble the football, and try to block and catch a little better,” he said. “The system’s not going to change, because I know it works. We’ve just got to execute better.”
    The loss has moved the Dawgs to 1-1 on the year, looking to make up ground fast in an extremely competitive SEC Western Division. Tulane will not be the only team with a desire to win on Saturday.
    “It’s going to be a big game,” said junior Deljuan Robinson. “We’ve been working on our blitzing, and trying to put pressure on the quarterback. We’re just trying to come out and build up some confidence for the season and that starts with the next ballgame.”
    The game has been picked up by College Sports Television network, in conjunction with a telethon for hurricane victims. The event, sponsored by Paxton Communications, and the Boys and Girls Clubs of America, is being called, “Big Game for the Big Easy,” and will begin at 7 p.m. on
    “We are proud to participate in this effort with CSTV and their partner, the Boys and Girls Clubs of America, to honor the courageous student-athletes during this difficult transition, while helping raise needed funds for the communities affected by the storm,” said Paxton president and COO, Dean Goodman.

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    Dawgs to face tragedy-stricken Green Wave