Mississippi State University

1978 Bulldogs
(Authentic Reproduction)




The slight change in the Mississippi State helmet appearance which remained as a maroon shell with the diagonally placed white “MS” on each side and white player identification numerals on the rear of the helmet was due to the addition of a white mask. The helmet’s appearance may have been improved but little else about public perception of the MSU program was. As athletic director, Tyler had made the choice to more or less ignore the NCAA sanction and two year probation that made Larry Gillard ineligible to play. Gillard did not miss a game between 1975 and the end of the 1977 season instead of being held out as Tyler got a friendly local county court to issue an injunction which allowed him to play. In every case in the past, this type of action against the NCAA had failed and by the time the case reached the State Of Mississippi Supreme Court, it was obvious that Tyler’s favorable decision would be overturned. True to form it was after the ’77 season on December 7, and what should have been expected happened; all of the State victories from the time of Gillard’s mandated suspension, were forfeited. This left all of MSU athletics with a black eye and the belief of many that the program cheated to win at any cost, definitely sullying the great 1976 season. Tyler took to sparring with the media and developed a contentious relationship with much of the Mississippi press corps. Against this backdrop, the 1978 squad was summed up as the “most exciting team in football but perhaps the most confusing.” The Bulldogs opened up strongly with three straight wins and then sputtered and started again the remainder of the season. Quarterback Dave Marler who later spent five seasons in the CFL, threw for 427 yards against Alabama, and 2422 for the season, a long standing Bulldogs record, but the team lost. They were explosive one game and then muted, with the results ending in a 6-5 record and only two SEC victories. The “M&M Offense” of Marler to receiver Mardye McDole gave the end a conference leading forty-eight receptions for 1035 yards and both Robert Chatman and the coach’s son Breck Tyler benefitted from Marler’s passing. James Jones led the run game with 687 yards and was seventh in the nation in scoring. Sophomore linebacker Johnie Cooks blossomed as the team leader with 115 tackles and had secondary help from Kenny Johnson and Richard Blackmore, who played with the Eagles 1979-’82 and with the Forty Niners in ‘83. Unheralded DB Henry Monroe split the ’79 season between the Eagles and Packers while Gerald Jackson, one of the Moss Point athletes, made the Chiefs roster for ’79. Defensive end Bobby Molden, another Moss Point product, spent ’79 with the CFL Winnipeg squad. There were problems off the field as well as on, with players and coaches. What was termed “a lack of proper sideline organization” led to an ill-advised fifty yard into-the-wind field goal attempt that sealed the loss to Southern Miss and although a surprise late season and last minute switch to the Shotgun Formation from their usual Pro Set resulted in lots of yards, there were continuing losses and a 27-7 beat down from Ole Miss. Assistants were fired at the end of the season and Tyler’s behavior threw the faithful into different camps of detractors and supporters.

If interested in any of these Mississippi State helmets please click on the photos below.