CATEGORY: FOC College Football

AUTHOR: PHELPS

HED:Independence Bowl looking at Bulldogs

By Gene Phelps

OXFORD - The Sanford Independence Bowl would love to have Mississippi State in its Dec. 31 game in Shreveport, said bowl chairman Richard Caldwell.

"If Mississippi State wins tonight (Thursday) and then loses in the SEC Championship game, that would throw Mississippi State back into our consideration process," Caldwell said.

Caldwell thinks the Cotton Bowl will invite Arkansas despite its late-season losses to Tennessee and Mississippi State.

"I think even if they lose to LSU (today) it would be hard for the Cotton Bowl to pass on Arkansas because of its history with the Cotton Bowl," he said.

The Independence Bowl's Big 12 candidates are Missouri, Colorado, Texas and Texas Tech.

Other than the Independence and Cotton bowls, the SEC has postseason ties with the Citrus, Outback, Peach and Music City.

Kramer in the house: SEC commissioner Roy Kramer watched State's 28-6 win over Ole Miss to clinch the Western Division championship.

"This gives you an idea of the depth we have in our conference," Kramer said. "This is a first for Mississippi State. It's good for our conference. We're going to have an exciting championship game."

All-America man: Ole Miss tight end Rufus French has been named to the Walter Camp All-America team announced Wednesday.

French, an all-state selection during his high school playing days in Amory, is the third Rebel tight end to be named to an All-America team. The other two were Pontotoc's Wesley Walls, who plays now for the NFL's Carolina Panthers, and Magee's Kris Mangum.

French, 6-foot-4, 250 pounds, is the SEC's leading receiver for tight ends with 34 receptions for 382 yards and two touchdowns.

The Walter Camp team is the nation's oldest All-America team - first named in 1889.

French, a junior, was 11 catches behind Jim Poole (1969-71) on the school's all-time tight end reception list heading into Thursday's game against State. Poole had 94 catches during his playing career.

Egg-tra stuff: MSU's 98-yard scoring drive in the second quarter was its longest of the season. ... MSU running back Chris Rainey, a former high school quarterback at Amory, rushed for a season-high 64 yards against the Rebels. ... Ole Miss had never lost a night game at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium before Thursday. The loss broke a 17-game winning streak under the lights. ... The road team in the Egg Bowl has now won five consecutive seasons. The attendance, 50,412, was the second largest to see a game in the state.

-- Compiled by Gene Phelps

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