Hughes Leads Off Secondary's Big Day

Mississippi State starting safety Jay Hughes knew a big play when he saw it. Just after his team punted, Hughes saw a Nick Marshall pace fluttering in the air after getting tipped by a Bulldog defensive line paw. Hughes reeled in the pick and set the Bulldogs up deep in Auburn territory. From there the Bulldogs would lead throughout the game and knock off #2 Auburn 38-23.

"It was exciting," said Hughes of the play. "The only reason I got my interception is because of the guys up front.

"The guys up front played a hell of a game. I think we have the best front seven in the country and I tip my cap to those guys."

The Bulldogs are now 6-0 and expected to garner a strong push from AP voters who may be on the verge of ranking the Bulldogs #1 nationally.

"It feels great," said Hughes. "It's crazy, because it's not by chance that this happened.

"We have worked for everything we've got.

"I have been here for five years and my class the guys behind me like Taveze (Calhoun) have worked so hard day in and day out in the off season conditioning program.

"It's definitely paying off for us."

The Bulldog secondary made some huge plays with defensive backs playing a part in all four Auburn turnovers.

When the game was on the line, once again the Bulldogs' defensive backfield stood tall.

Some national pundits continue to suggest that the back half of the Bulldog defense is a liability.

"I don't really understand it," said Hughes. "It really doesn't matter. We don't pay attention to all of that.

"It really puts a chip on our shoulder, when people mentioned the 'beleaguered' secondary or whatever the guy said.

"We just work hard and we're trying to stay consistent.

"We have a long way to go."

Nick Marshall found some success in the first half, especially in the second quarter. The Bulldog defense would clamp down in the second half forcing a few misfires.

"We just had to focus more on playing with our eyes and reading our keys," said Hughes. "They really tell you what they're going to do every play and our linebacker did a good job of telling us run or pass the entire game."

Much of the talk about the Bulldogs nationally has centered around the play of Dak Prescott. Perhaps it's time for the Mississippi State defense to get some credit for their play.

"We get enough recognition. We're just the pyschos, man," said Hughes. "We just hold it down on the back end."


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