Mississippi State started the 2019 football season without seven players who were suspended for a violation of team rules on Saturday.

Redshirt freshman offensive tackle Kwatrivous Johnson of Greenwood was one of the players who didn’t make the trip to New Orleans. His friends and teammates call him by his nickname, “Dolla Bill.”

Othes were wide receiver Devonta Jason, offensive lineman Michael Story, defensive tackle Lee Autry, linebacker Willie Gay Jr., safety Marcus Murphy and kicker Jace Christmann. Autry, Gay and Christmann were listed as starters or co-starters on the depth chart.

Johnson is listed as the Dogs’ second-team left tackle. He saw limited action in 2018 as a true freshman but is expected to see more time this year.

MSU is not permitted to identify which players are involved in the academic misconduct involving a former part-time tutor.

It was also a tough game for injuries for the Bulldogs, who had several players go down on Saturday.

Greenwood’s Marquiss Spencer, a redshirt junior defensive end, left late in the fourth quarter with a lower leg injury and didn’t return. The former Greenwood High School standout had three solo tackles and a forced fumble.

Spencer wasn’t the only former GHS player on the field Saturday at the Superdome. Bennie Higgins, a senior defensive end, had two solo stops for Louisiana.

Higgins missed spring drills while spending the offseason recovering from surgery.

Plenty is expected from Higgins, a senior who had 7.5 tackles for loss in 2018, including 4.5 sacks — second-most among all Cajuns in both categories — while starting in all 14 games last season.

He transferred to UL after one season at Mississippi Delta Community College.

On Monday, MSU coach Joe Moorhead announced that Keytaon Thompson has rejoined the football team. Thompson had entered the NCAA transfer portal last month after losing a quarterback competition to Tommy Stevens.

Moorhead named Stevens the starter on Aug. 22, and Thompson entered the transfer portal the next day.

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