Fant might be Bulldogs’ answer

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 17, 2003

Obviously my prediction that Mississippi State would upset Alabama was wrong. Nonetheless, the Bulldogs played a good game against an Alabama team that had to be at its best to win. The Crimson Tide is now 4-5 overall and 3-4 in the SEC, only the toughest college football conference in the land, in my opinion.

Backup sophomore quarterback Kevin Fant pulled the Bulldogs together well enough that I thought he might rally them to victory. But ‘Bama wasn’t gonna let that happen! The 24-17 battle was a great one to watch, even if State couldn’t pull it out.

Fant was equal to the task of at least waking State up. In fact, Mississippi State just might have found its quarterback of the future in Fant, who noticeably rallied State just prior to halftime when the Dawgs marched 50 yards in just six plays and their first touchdown.

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Fant is the real thing, I would say, although he couldn’t rally the Bulldogs all the way back to victory over Alabama. After his first touchdown quarterbacking, he led State 81 yards to another score. The sad part is that neither Fant nor Wayne Madkin could ignite the Bulldogs further.

It was gut-check time and Alabama “stepped up,” as coaches say, slamming the door in State’s face. Just one first down in four possessions with the game winding down won’t get it. State’s three-and-out effort at the Alabama 44-yard line was the sign of what was to come the rest of the game.

Still, though, Mississippi State is tough enough not to be anybody’s patsy. Thus far, they’ve been rugged enough to play the good ones close, and they’ve lost a couple of heartbreakers.

Can the Bullies rally against Arkansas, Ole Miss and Brigham Young? Now’s obviously the time for this good team to make its move! Alabama, meantime, continues to be unranked. State is 2-6, 1-5 in the SEC, Arkansas 6-3, 3-3 on the season.

LSU fans in the Miss-Lou have to be concerned as the Tigers ready for Arkansas in Baton Rouge a week from Saturday (Nov. 24). The Razorbacks pose just the kind of team others must respect. They have won five in a row since falling to a good Georgia team Sept. 29. That included the memorable seven-overtime victory over Ole Miss Nov. 3.

Ole Miss and Georgia promises to be quite a game Saturday, if you want to look ahead a day or two in another direction. I don’t think Ole Miss, State or LSU will be contending for No. 1 in the polls, but they’re this area’s teams so to speak, and readers are always checking’ them out.

HURRIED HASH…John “Happy” Robertson, first from Columbia then a Brookhaven resident many years, is now a Natchezian. He’s also big on sports, football in particular…We talked recently about the fact that Brookhaven High football stars of the past Lance Alworth, Ralph Smith and Don “Red” Estes (no relation) had great college careers at Arkansas, Ole Miss and LSU, respectively.

I remember all of them well. They were the nucleus of Brookhaven’s 1957 team. I wish I could remember the Panthers’ record that year; I think they maybe lost just once, if at all… “Happy,” who only recently moved to our town with his wife Princess, reminded me that Smith played professionally with the Eagles and Broncos, Estes with San Diego, and I’ve forgot Alworth’s pro team…All three made it tough for Natchez High – I’ll always remember that.

Glenvall Estes is a long-time columnist for The Natchez Democrat. &160;