For two schools only separated by about 180 miles and in the same state, it has been a long time since the Mississippi State have traveled down to Hattiesburg to face Southern Miss. In fact, it was so long ago that Brett Favre was under center for the Golden Eagles and no current Bulldog was even born at the time.
The last time the two teams met in Hattiesburg, Mississippi State entered the game unranked, but they walked out victorious with a 26-23 win over the No. 18 Golden Eagles in 1989.
In all, Southern Miss officially leads the series with Mississippi State with a 14-13-1 record. The tie came back in 1973 when the teams played to a 10-10 draw in Starkville. In all, Hattiesburg has not been kind to the Golden Eagles in this series as Southern Miss only has a 2-2 record against Mississippi State at home. In fact, the Golden Eagles may have been better off trying to play this game in Jackson or at another neutral site. In such match ups, Southern Miss has a 6-2 edge on the Bulldogs.
Of course, the last matchup proved to be the most lopsided of the series with Mississippi State posting a 49-0 thrashing of the Golden Eagles. When this match up was announced back in 2009, most did not expect the state of the two teams to be what they are today. Southern Miss was coming off of yet another winning season, and Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen was only into his first weeks of his first season at Mississippi State. The Bulldogs were reeling from the end of the Sylvester Croom tenure in Starkville.
However, both teams would turn in solid performances over the next few seasons with Southern Miss winning 12 games and the Conference USA title while Mississippi State posted a nine-win season and a Gator Bowl victory. Fans started seeing this potentially being a matchup of two rising squads.
Unfortunately for Southern Miss fans, Larry Fedora left town and left the cupboards bare. Ellis Johnson slogged through a winless season in Hattiesburg, and Todd Monken has yet to produce much in terms of wins for the Golden Eagles either. Meanwhile in Starkville, the Bulldogs have had a Heisman Trophy candidate at quarterback and reached the No. 1 ranking in 2014.
Saturday will write the next chapter in the Mississippi State-Southern Miss rivalry. It will be one where Mississippi State evens up the series, most likely in brutal fashion. It will be interesting to see when the writing will resume after the weekend.