Super Bowl LIII is set with the Los Angeles Rams and the New England Patriots facing off on Sunday, February 3, in Atlanta. Both teams won overtime thrillers as the Patriots won a thrilling 37-31 contest over the K.C. Chiefs, while the Rams stole one from the New Orleans Saints, 26-23. It is the first time in pro football history that both conference championship games were decided in overtime.
The big news in Mississippi this past week was the Sanderson Farms Golf Championship being named a full-fledged PGA Tour event. The 2019 event will be September 16-22 at the Jackson Country Club. The purse has increased to $6.6 million, up from $4.4 million. The most important aspect of the change is that now the winner of the event will earn an invite to the Masters the following April.
A record number of college football players are passing up their remaining year of eligibility to enter the NFL draft. There are 103 underclassmen eligible for the April 25-27 draft in Nashville. Another 32 players have graduated but still have eligibility left. Three Ole Miss players are expected to be high draft choices: tackle Greg Little and wide outs A.J. Brown and D.K. Metcalf. MSU’s Jeffery Simmons will also be near the top choices.
Mississippi State defensive back coach Terrell Buckley and former Ole Miss linebacker Patrick Willis will be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame. Buckley, a Pascagoula native and former Florida State All-American, played 14 years in the NFL. Willis was an All-American at Ole Miss and played eight seasons in the NFL.
The Senior Bowl will be played this Saturday in Mobile. Mississippi State has three players in the game with Ole Miss having one player. State players in the game are Jonathan Abram, Montez Sweat and Elgton Jenkins. MSU has had a least one player in the game for 24 of the last 25 years. Petal native Javon Patterson is the lone Rebel in the game. Patterson will be moved to center for the game.
The Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame will host “Hot Stove Evening” this Thursday night beginning at 5:30 p.m. There will be a Q&A with former Major League players Paul Maholm, Jay Powell and Roy Oswalt. Also San Diego Padre Hunter Renfroe and Mississippi Braves manager Chris Maloney will also field questions from the audience.
College baseball coach Hill Denson has announced that he will retire after 33 years. The Bay Springs native has led the Belhaven Blazers program the last 19 years and was the head coach at USM from 1984-1997. USM's field at Pete Taylor Park is named Hill Denson Field. The former Jones County Junior College player is in six halls of fame including the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and the American Baseball Coaches Hall of Fame.
Odds & Ends
*Laurel native Bobby Dickerson was named infield coach of the Philadelphia Phillies this past week. He was the third base coach for the Baltimore Orioles for the past six years.
*The Mississippi State Lady Bulldogs won their 21st consecutive SEC regular season game last week, 89-74, over South Carolina before over 10,000 fans.
*Quarterback Jalen Hurts is moving on after three years at the University of Alabama. He has decided to transfer to Oklahoma.
*The State of Mississippi gained revenue of $15 million on sports betting in the state from August-December.
*Mississippi State University President Mark Keenum, the chairman of the College Playoff board of managers, said in a statement that the College Football *Playoffs are not close to expanding from the present four teams.
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