Jordan Jefferson’s night in Nashville last Saturday was not his best, and he knows it.
The junior quarterback missed on 12 of his 20 pass attempts including a costly interception in the end zone, and by the second half offensive coordinator Gary Crowton settled on running the ball to put Vanderbilt away.
Three days into preparation for Saturday night’s Tiger Stadium bout with Mississippi State, Jefferson feels that his mistakes are fixable.
“All my reads were correct,” he said. “If I get the ball up a couple of inches, it’s a totally different game. It was frustrating, but it’s something that I have to overcome, let it all go and get ready for next week.”
Jefferson is now 22-of-41 for 247 yards with two scores and two interceptions – one in each contest - through games against North Carolina and Vanderbilt.
Senior wide receiver Terrance Toliver started the 2009 season in a hurry, pulling in two touchdowns grabs behind a 117-yard night in the season opener against Washington in Seattle. Headed into week three of his 2010 campaign, Toliver has six catches for just 46 yards.
The top three receiver options of Toliver, Rueben Randle and Russell Shepard have combined for 16 catches in two games, and only Randle is over 100 yards – thanks in large part to a 51-yard touchdown strike against the Tar Heels.
With numbers down, Toliver hopes that Crowton and Miles turn to the air game even more.
“I think it’s getting (Jefferson) into the rhythm of throwing the ball,” he said. “We just need to pass the ball a little more to get him into that rhythm.
“We need to correct it.”
When asked which quarterback he would ride against the Bulldogs, Miles stuck behind Jefferson. Without the intention of playing backup Jarrett Lee, getting No. 9 on track is the next step.
“We know (Jefferson) can run the team,” Miles said. “We know he has leadership abilities.”
Jefferson is the second winningest active quarterback in the SEC, trailing only Alabama’s Greg McElroy - who is 16-0 as a starter for the Crimson Tide.
Despite recent missteps, Jefferson called his confidence through the roof, and he thinks Saturday’s off-night was more of an aberration.
“I’ve made those throws since high school,” he said. “It just wasn’t falling for me, and that happens.”
The Tiger Stadium crowd hasn’t been receptive to poor quarterback play in recent years, meaning that coming home with bad results could translate into hostile territory.
Days away from the home opener, Jefferson does not anticipate a negative reaction.
“What? One game. Eight for twenty,” he said. “Even the best quarterbacks in the world have bad games. That’s just reality. I would hope that the fans will really be realistic. I’m a college player. I’m still working. I’m still learning.
“I’m doing everything that I need to do every week in practice to improve us. I would just hope that (the fans) would keep faith in me.”
Jefferson set a career high last season against the Bulldogs with 233 yards passing, two touchdowns and no interceptions.
The two teams will kickoff at 6 p.m. CST in Baton Rouge.