MSU starting middle linebacker T. J. Mawhinney talked about Mississippi State's 30-21 win over Vanderbilt."> MSU starting middle linebacker T. J. Mawhinney talked about Mississippi State's 30-21 win over Vanderbilt.">

Mawhinney Talked About MSU's Win Over Vanderbilt

<img src="" align="left" width="120" height="159"> MSU starting middle linebacker T. J. Mawhinney talked about Mississippi State's 30-21 win over Vanderbilt.

Middle Linebacker T. J. Mawhinney

What was the difference in the game?
"The biggest thing was our defensive line dominated today. They got pressure all day. They kept the (offensive) linemen off the linebackers. We got into the flow early. We went into nickel packets late in the game and they started running on us. Other than that, I was really proud of the way our defensive line played today. They got the game ball from a defensive side. The offense kept us off the field a good bit in the first half, so we were pretty fresh throughout the entire game."

Why do you feel the defensive line is playing better?
"They are all playing better from end to end. Even the subs come in and play good. It makes it so much easier as a linebacker to roam around and tackle when your defensive line is making plays. When you have your defensive line hitting somebody and make it second and nine or third and eight, you've got to have those things and we had them today."

What do you think about senior defensive end Tommy Kelly's play today?
"He played good today. He played good in the LSU game. He has played pretty good all year. He has gotten better as the year has gone on. We need a playmaker on the defensive line. If he is the one that is going to emerge, I would love to see it."

Talk about some of the big plays that you guys made today.
"Justin (Jenkins) had his usual game. The interception by Odell (Bradley) was the biggest play in the game. That was the turning point. They had a little momentum. As soon as he got that pick, we scored again. I won't say they quit, but the wind kind of went out of their sails."

Cornerback Eric Fuller made a diving knockdown of Cutler's pass that stopped their final drive of the game.
"That was a great play. He took a chance and made the play. He hasn't been starting but he has been playing good when they put him in there. "

Vanderbilt runs the option but the one time they ran it today you stopped them when they ran it on fourth and short.
"We thought they were going to run a lot of speed options, but they didn't. Instead, they tried to come after us early. Our defensive line was making most of the plays against the run. They tried to spread us out where we had most of our linebackers on the outside, but that didn't work. I'm not sure how many yards we gave up, but we played a pretty sound defensive game except for those two mental busts in the secondary."

Do you feel that there are less busts on the defense each game?
"Yeah, there were less busts, but there were still busts. We are going to play a whole lot better teams than Vanderbilt. When you start playing Auburn and Kentucky who are loaded with speed and talent on both sides of the ball, you can't make mistakes like that or they will burn you all day."

Does it feel good to finally have that first win of the season?
"It feels good. It is kind of like a monkey off your back thing. It seems, even when we thought we had the game locked, we have a fumble. It seems like we have to bite and scratch to get everything."

Gene Swindoll is the owner of Gene's Page, the unofficial source for Mississippi State sports on the internet. The URL for Gene's Page is You can contact him by emailing

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