Could there be a miracle Saturday night in Hattiesburg…

Can't tell you how many times lately I've been asked: “Does USM have a chance?” or “What's going to happen in Hattiesburg?” Well, it rained here in Fondren yesterday for the first time since July 4, so anything is possible. But back to the question: This is college football. Anything really is possible. Not always likely. But possible. Big underdogs win every week of the college football season. Mississippi football history is littered with upsets bigger than this one would be. It takes a combination of turnovers and big plays...

A nose for the football? Here’s hoping yours is hard

All right, college football starts this week. Everybody is undefeated. Excitement is at pitch, fever pitch, that is. And even if you don’t go to the games, you can turn on your TV at 11 Saturday morning and watch football non-stop till past midnight or until your spouse changes the channel and tosses the remote into the commode. Please remember: The season is not a sprint; no, it’s a marathon. You, the fan, need to prepare properly. You need to practice. You need to study. Practice makes what? Perfect. That’s...

It’s game week: My top five State-USM memories

Mississippi State and Southern Miss will play one another in football for the 29th time Saturday night in Hattiesburg. I've seen 27 of the 29. What follow are my top five most vivid memories from the series. • Nov. 7, 1981, USM 7, State 6. Both teams were nationally ranked and featured so much future NFL talent when they played before more than 64,000 on a gorgeous day at Mississippi Veterans Memorial Stadium. The late, great Orley Hood referred to this one as the "limp off" game because players from...

Remembering Katrina and reporting on two wheels

(Ten years ago, tens of thousands of Mississippians' lives changed forever. Katrina blew a vast hole in our souls. Two days after the storm, editors sent me to my old hometown, Hattiesburg for a report. Later, I saw first-hand the destruction of Bay St. Louis, Waveland and the rest of the Gulf Coast. I had never seen anything like it. I hope I never do again. This was my report from Hattiesburg.) HATTIESBURG - My assignment today: Paint a word picture of my old hometown — or what's left of...

Epic Little Brown Jug battle conjures memories

Hattiesburg and Laurel played the Battle for the Little Brown “Between the Bricks” in Laurel for the 94th time last Friday night. For pure drama, it may have been the most memorable. Down 32-6 with under four minutes remaining, Hattiesburg fired back and won 34-32. There was no Fat Lady to sing in Laurel last night. And, if she was, she wore Hattiesburg's purple and gold. Can't tell you how many of those Jug battles I've seen over the years. I can tell you my first memory of a football...

Prep All American Grae Kessinger has Hall of Fame genes

When lifelong Chicago Cubs fan Mary Beth Cannon was a teen, she wrote a letterto Don and Carolyn offering to baby sit their boys, Keith and Kevin. She got the job. That was more than four decades ago. Cannon, now 57 and living in South Bend, Ind., drove back to Chicago this past weekend to watch a baseball game at storied Wrigley Field. There was another Kessinger, Grae, playing in the Under Armour All American baseball game, and Mary Beth just had to see him. “Oh my gosh, in many...

Lots of progress, upgrades to report at your MSHOF

  File this one under: PLEASE, PARDON OUR PROGRESS. We have lots of it to report at your Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Museum. The coming week — specifically August 24-28 — the museum will be closed while we re-carpet the main arena. We will reopen for visitors on Saturday, August 29, a little brighter and cleaner. This comes on the heels of our most successful BancorpSouth Induction Weekend in the museum's history. We had more than 800 to dinner. There's much more to report. Our new outdoor banners,...

A treasured Mississippi tradition continues this week….

The ritual that is Mississippi high school football begins again this week. It begins in the heat and humidity of August and extends to the usually chilly, first weekend in December. It is a roller-coaster of passion and pageantry that unites communities and has produced an inordinate share of the game's greatest players. What makes Mississippi high school football so special? Glad you asked. It's the dimly lit, small-town field, carved and leveled from a cow pasture, a beanfield or a forest. It's those wooden bleachers that surround the field...

Book relives the legend of MSHoF’s Dobie Holden

By Chuck Abadie               POPLARVILLE – In reading “The Spirit of the Pearl: The Life, Legend and Legacy of T.D. ‘Dobie’ Holden,” one finds that it is possible for a football coach to win the respect of his players and lead them to eight state championships and one national championship without compromising faith and family.             An excerpt: “Dobie Holden knew that the winning spirit went far beyond the athletic field to the field of life, and that success in the former could help promote success in the latter. He...

A game worth remembering 35 years later: State 6 Bama 3

(On Sept. 23, your Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Museum will host a night to remember celebrating one of the most memorable football games in Magnolia State history. We will observe the 35th anniversary of State 6, Alabama 3. Why celebrate a football game 35 years later? Perhaps you had to be there. I was and will never forget. Emory Bellard and Kent Hull have passed away but many of the main characters remain: Johnie Cooks, John Bond, Glen Collins, Tyrone Keys and others. Those four will be part...