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Mississippi State eyes jump in SEC standings

Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen speaks to media at the Southeastern Conference NCAA college football media days, Tuesday, July 15, 2014, in Hoover, Ala. (AP Photo/Butch Dill) Photo:

Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen speaks to media at the Southeastern Conference NCAA college football media days, Tuesday, July 15, 2014, in Hoover, Ala. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)

HOOVER, Ala. (AP) Mississippi State has been a reasonably successful program during coach Dan Mullen's five-year tenure, advancing to four straight bowl games.

Now the Bulldogs have a roster that looks as if it can attain even more.

Mississippi State returns a veteran defense and one of the league's few experienced quarterbacks. Dak Prescott threw for 1,940 yards and 10 touchdowns - and also rushed for 13 touchdowns - after becoming the starter early last season. The charismatic junior is now the unquestioned leader of the Bulldogs' offense.

The defense has nine starters returning, including junior linebacker Benardrick McKinney.

Mullen said on Tuesday at SEC Media Days that his team isn't backing away from expectations and the goal is ''to find a way to get to Atlanta'' and compete for an SEC championship.

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