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Football starters say goodbye to the grid iron

November 20, 2000

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. - Walking off the field after a 42-23 loss isn’t the way several seniors on MSU’s football team envisioned their college careers ending.

The loss means no post-season bowl, a major difference from last year’s 10-2 season and Florida Citrus Bowl victory.

Senior defensive lineman Jace Sayler, considered the consummate team player, said he’s going to look at the positive side of the situation.

“There’s a side of me where I want to be selfish and say, ‘I wanted to get to a bowl game or I this and I that,’” Sayler said. “But there’s another part of me that sits back and smiles.”

Senior tight end Ivory McCoy, who was academically ineligible his freshman year, isn’t quite ready to give up his collegiate playing days.

“I have all my classes in place to graduate in the spring,” McCoy said. “Then I’m going to petition the NCAA for a sixth year. I could use a little more development at this stage before going on the next level if possible.”

While McCoy is hoping the NCAA lets him play another year, junior tight end Chris Baker doesn’t know if he wants his final year of eligibility. He is seriously considering entering the 2001 NFL Draft.

“I have to speak to my family and coaches and then analyze the situation,” said Baker, who finished his injury-riddled season with 33 catches for 461 yards and two touchdowns. “One day I want to do one thing and the next day the other.”

Another player who’s unsure of where he’ll be next year is senior cornerback Renaldo Hill. A Detroit Chadsey High School graduate, Hill was ineligible during his freshman year. He has said he hasn’t made up his mind if he wants to petition the NCAA for another year.

MSU head coach Bobby Williams said he’s proud of this year’s team despite its disappointing record.

“These guys gave us great effort all year,” Williams said. “No one likes having a losing season and everyone is pointing towards turning this thing around next year.”

Sophomore running back T.J. Duckett is definitely returning next season, and he’s excited about the chance to redeem himself.

“It’s going to be a long off-season,” Duckett said. “We have to make sure this same thing doesn’t happen again next season. Personally, it’s another opportunity to come back and play. I’m excited about working harder to get ready for next year.”

Sayler said he’s excited about the current state of the program.

“As I look down the road, I hope the young guys learned the character of the seniors and the heart we played with and how hard we played,” he said. “I hope it carries over because with the amount of talent in this program, there’s going to be some special things that happen.”

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