"I'm excited where we are, we just have to finish it off," head coach Bobby Petrino said Monday at his media briefing.
"The next step is to continue to play one game at a time, stay mature and focus on the task at hand. That's all we are going to focus on."
Senior defensive end Jake Bequette was asked about the different scenarios. He had a similar take as his head coach.
"Don't count your chickens before they hatch," Bequette said. "All the things that can happen, it's all an if. If you win. You have to come to practice and focus on being physical."
Later in his time with the media, Bequette was asked about becoming nostalgic about playing his last game in Little Rock and the trimmings surrounding the game. There were also questions about being the first team in school history to have back-to-back winning records in SEC play.
"Coach Petrino, when he came here talked about winning all of our home games. He did that very well at Louisville. When you do that, you are a good team. I think he's proud of that mantra. We have three home stadiums and we have a chance to win all of our games in our stadiums.
"Getting a winning record in back-to-back seasons is great accomplishment, but our goals are bigger than that. Once the season is over we can look back on that. The way to do that is to beat Mississippi State and play games one week at a time."
That sort of thought came up again when BCS questions were asked.
"There are a lot of teams that are talking about that," he said. "You can't talk. You have to do it. We have to win one game at a time."
Petrino said the review of the video didn't change any of his thoughts about the 49-7 victory over Tennessee.
"I like the way we played," Petrino said. "I watched the video and we played fast, physical and we made plays in all three phases.
"Big plays helped us. It was great to get the running game going. The offensive line controlled the line. Now we have to play a very physical Mississippi State team. We have to maintain our focus in our preparations."
The Hogs made more yards in the run game than the pass for the first time this season. They rushed for 254 and passed for 245. Is it just a matter of improving the timing in the run game?
"I wish it didn't take that long to do this year," Petrino said. "We had a lot of new offensive linemen. Early Dennis (Johnson) was hurt. We also had others that came along later, like Broderick Green. The other night (against Tennessee) I felt like we could call running plays and get chunk plays. That really helps you."
The special teams were dominant in all areas Saturday night. Petrino noted a big edge in field position because of the punting game and not just because of the big punt return by Joe Adams, a 60-yarder that has run over and over on national highlights.
"Our special teams might have been the best they've been," he said. "We had a huge advantage in net punting the other night. Coach (John L.) Smith has done a great job of giving us a real advantage in all areas. It starts with our coverage teams. We've done a good job there all year."
The Adams punt return has gotten its share of attention.
"I've watched it quite a few times," Petrino said. "I saw it pretty good in the game and then in the highlights. It was pretty amazing. It reminded me of when I played basketball and I would move way out to shoot three pointers. The coach would say, 'No, no.' Then they go in and it's good shot. When I watched him, I was saying please don't run backwards. Then, when he turned back, I thought maybe he had a chance. Then it was pretty unbelievable. Then, it was oh, wow."
Petrino praised Smith's work in special teams.
"When I was Coach Smith's offensive coordinator, he handled all special teams as a head coach," Petrino said. "He was involved in all areas and we blocked a lot of punts. Because of the shield formation in punts, it's hard to block punts now."
All coaches are involved in all aspects of special teams. Petrino noted that wide receiver coach Kris Cinkovich is now in charge of the actual punt return specialist.
Petrino said Tenarius "Tank" Wright's first game back was impressive, but it wasn't perfect.
"He played well," Petrino said. "But he made a couple of mistakes. The reverse, he had contain rush. We had an inside stunt and he just was over aggressive. But he showed his speed and his physical play.
"Our defensive line is where it needs to be now. I like to see where our linebacker and secondary fits are in the run game now. That's what I enjoy, seeing the front, the secondary and the secondary come together where they can count on each other."
Bequette said the front may be back to where it wanted to be as far as alignment this week.
"I'm more natural on the left and he's more natural on the right," he said. "But it was hard for him to put that arm down. He said he can do it this week. So we'll probably go back to where we both like to play."
The Hogs got good play from their free safety in the last couple of weeks. Petrino revealed a little behind that improvement when he noted senior Tramain Thomas was bothered by an injury earlier in the season.
"I wouldn't say he lost his job," Petrino said. "He didn't start a couple of weeks when Elton Ford was playing well. The safeties and the linebackers are involved in a lot of collisions and sometimes they get a little beat up and injured."