Why The Bowl Experience Is Much More Than Just Playing In A Game

Managing Editor, Sports + DIME
Belk Dan Mullen NASCAR

Martin Rickman, UPROXX Sports

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Mississippi State is set to take a picture with a specially branded stock car at Charlotte Motor Speedway on the Sunday before the Belk Bowl. The entire team – players and coaches – is lined up in three rows behind the car, and the group just barely fits. There’s a tiny bit of chaos as guys get moved from one side to the other to try and balance the shot out and make the job easier on the photographer.

De’Runnya Wilson thinks he’s in the right spot, but that’s quickly proven not to be the case. Someone pulls him out from where he’s standing and indicates he needs to go to the opposite end. When he gets there, he is shoved out and starts making his way back where he started. Right as he gets to the middle again, coach Dan Mullen grabs Wilson, puts his arm around the wide receiver, and they both laugh. The shot gets taken, and the Bulldogs scatter to put on driving suits in anticipation of their experience driving around the track.

Wilson lingers a moment longer than everyone else, with a huge smile on his face, before sauntering to join his teammates.

“I’m just enjoying myself,” Wilson says at the track. “It’s a great experience, and you’ve got to cherish that. But we have a game to win first, and I’m going to do whatever it takes to do my job and get a win with my teammates. A lot of guys before our time set the foundation right now. They set the standard, and we’re just trying to reach it.”

On Dec. 30 at Bank of America Stadium, Wilson records five catches for 96 yards and a touchdown in Mississippi State’s dominating 51-28 win over N.C. State. Two days later, he announces on Instagram that he’s played his last game with the Bulldogs and is headed to the NFL Draft.

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