LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Bob Shoop’s Mississippi State defense ranks first in the Southeastern Conference in 11 defensive categories. On Wednesday, the first-year Bulldog defensive coordinator was recognized for his efforts as one of 53 nominees for the 2018 Broyles Award, which honors college football’s top assistant coach.

The Broyles Award selection process includes the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA), a college football hall-of-fame selection committee and current college head coaches. Seven nominees are from the SEC.

Shoop’s defensive unit has allowed the fewest touchdowns in the nation (9), and they rank second in the FBS in scoring defense (12.3 ppg) behind only UAB (12.1). The Bulldogs have issued just two touchdowns in opponents’ last 51 possessions dating back to the third quarter of the Sept. 29 Florida game. One of those scores came on a three-yard drive following an MSU turnover.

The Bulldogs lead the SEC and rank sixth nationally in total defense, surrendering 278.7 yards per game. Offenses are averaging just 4.3 yards per play against MSU, which is tops in the SEC and fifth in the FBS. In addition, no defensive unit in the nation has been better at preventing touchdowns in the redzone. The Bulldogs have allowed only five touchdowns on 23 redzone attempts for a 21.7 percentage that is the best in college football.

From a historical perspective, Shoop’s defense is one of the greatest in the 119-year history of the program. The 12.3 points per game allowed is the best at MSU since the 1963 squad issued 8.2, while the total defense figure is the best in Starkville since the 1999 team issued 222.5 yards per game.

Shoop’s squad has achieved it against outstanding competition. Five out of MSU’s last six opponents have either been ranked at the time of the meeting or they are currently ranked. The Bulldogs continue their challenging slate at 2:30 p.m. Saturday when they travel to top-ranked Alabama in a game that will be televised by CBS.

Shoop, an Oakmont, Pennsylvania, native is in his 16th season as a defensive coordinator and sixth in the SEC. He has coordinated units to Top 25 national rankings in total defense in six out of the last eight years.

A 19-member selection committee of distinguished former head coaches, along with a committee representing the FWAA will select 15 semifinalists and five finalists from the list of nominees and an overall winner. Those finalists will be invited to travel to Little Rock where the 2018 Broyles Award winner will be announced on Tuesday, Dec. 4 at the Marriott Hotel.