2009's record of 5-7 wasn't the greatest in recent memory for Mississippi State, but it certainly was a step up from many of the records from the Croom era. Also, 2009 produced what I believe to be the greatest MSU sports highlight, at least in games that I've attended/watched during my lifetime.
On a cool evening on October 24, 2009, MSU and Dan Mullen welcomed to Starkville Dan's former team, the Florida Gators. The Gators, #1 at the time and the eventual 13-1 Sugar Bowl Champions that year, were led by Tim Tebow, and were pretty heavy favorites heading into the game.Sitting in the student section, you could feel the buzz in the air and the atmosphere was electric. As the game started and progressed through the first half, MSU held in strong, holding the high flying Gator offense to just 3 FG's and 1 TD despite several trips to the redzone. Then, as the first half dwindled down and came to a close, we watched as Florida drove the ball into our redzone, threatening to score again before the half and pull the game most likely out of reach.
On 3rd and Goal from the MSU 7 yard line, Tebow snapped the ball in the shotgun formation and immediately looked left. he let a pass fly that was intended for (I believe, correct me if I'm wrong) Deonte Thompson, but was tipped by Corey Broomfield.
And who grabbed that tipped ball? Why none other than Fr. Safety Johnthan Banks of Maben (not Maden), Mississippi.
Jonathon Banks 102 yard pick six of Tim Tebow (via sfslickdawg)
Banks went racing out of the endzone and then all of a sudden found a seem!
another block, then another, could he really go all the way!
We watched on in amazement as that wide-eyed freshman went 100+ yards on a pick 6 off of arguably the greatest QB in the country that season.
I basked in my whiskey-drenched shower and hugged everyone in sight. The game was then 13-10, and State actually had a fighting chance against the mighty, 'unbeatable' Florida squad.
Although we did end up going on to lose that game, that moment, that highlight, will forever stay with me as one of the greatest moments in Bulldog history.
What is your favorite highlight from MSU's sports history (football, baseball, basketball)? It can be any sport, really.
Others that were close for me were:
- Kevin Prentiss' punt return for a TD against UT in the SEC Championship in '98
-Timmy Bowers layup underneath the rim as time expired to beat Bama in '04
Tell us your favorites in the comments below.