MSU Road Dawgs Tour makes stop in Biloxi

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - The 2014 version of the Mississippi State Road Dawgs Tour made a stop at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Monday evening.

Football head coach Dan Mullen and men's basketball coach Rick Ray spent time meeting with Bulldogs fans on the coast after stopping in Hattiesburg earlier in the day.

MSU football will begin the 2014 season at home Sat., August 30, against Southern Miss. That game will be televised on the SEC Network.

"We love doing things that are great for the state of Mississippi," Mullen said.  When I got hired, (school officials) looked and said, 'hey, what's your thought about playing Southern Miss?' They said it used to be a great rivalry in the state. We're excited to play it. I think the excitement that all summer is going to build into that game and having the state of Mississippi having two universities here play each other is going to be pretty special. It should be a fun game."

The men's basketball team has had two straight seasons in which they've lost 13 straight games. Ray signed former St. Stanislaus Rock-a-Chaw Johnny Zuppardo to the team and says he'll make an immediate impact with the Bulldogs.

"Johnny gives us size, which is something we've been lacking the past two seasons," Ray said. "But the most important thing he brings to this program is that he's a winner. Any time you lead your team to a national championship at any level, you get excited about that."

The 6-foot-9 Zuppardo helped lead Jones County JC to the school's first-ever NJCAA men's basketball championship during the 2013-14 season.