Charleston Southern (Starkville Sept 2)
Series Record: 0-0
Last Meeting: First meeting
2016 Record: 7-4, 4-1 Big South
CSU’s Rivals Class Rankings 2013-17: NA
Mississippi State’s Rivals Class Rankings 2013-17: No. 25 (2013), No. 38 (2014), No. 16 (2015), No. 25 (2016), No. 27 (2017)
CSU finished the 2016 season with a 7-3 regular season record and won their second consecutive Big South Conference championship. The Buccaneers went on to lose in the first round of the NCAA FCS Playoffs to Wofford.
The Bucs finished seventh nationally in total defense.
Projected Starters Returning
Five offensive starters return and eight on defense. Also one specialist starter returns.
Top News From The Spring
2017 will see CSU being led by first-year head coach Mark Tucker. Tucker took the helm in January following four seasons as quarterbacks coach. He inherited a team that collected 35 wins over the last four seasons.
The Bucs lost three of their four starters in the secondary.
Tucker has put in place an entirely new defensive staff. However the staff felt the defense was well ahead of the offense throughout spring drills.
Coaches have said returning starting place-kicker Tyler Tekac had a strong spring.
The Buccaneer defense will again be a force lead by defensive end Anthony Ellis, the 2016 Big South Defensive Player of the Year.
On the offensive side of the ball quarterback Shane Bucenell, a former walk-on, returns after leading the Big South with 15 touchdown passes. The offensive line returns four starters from 2016.
Will Mississippi State Be Favored, The Underdog Or Is It A Toss-Up?
While Charleston Southern can certainly present problems for Mississippi State the Bulldogs should be a clear favorite going into the game.