"I think we really played well the first half. We kept them off balance. The protection was great in the first half. We had some guys go up and get the ball that weren't easy catches. Kevin (Fant) was sharp. We were just the opposite of that in the fourth quarter. We just couldn't make a play in the fourth quarter. It wasn't that we were getting outnumbered on the blitzes. We were just getting beat. It looked like we wore down, but it is really hard to say until we see the film. We were matching up but they were just a little bit more aggressive than we were in the fourth quarter."
After you got the ball back from Memphis with 1:55 left to play in the game, you had a third down with about 1:39 left in the game and Memphis had no timeouts. On that play you called a pass. Was that your call or did Kevin check off?
"What we told him was we wanted the first down right there but we didn't want to turn the ball over to them. So, when we had him over on the sidelines, we told him we were going to have him sprint out trying to get him out of the pocket. They were playing man coverage and we were going to get Justin (Jenkins) one on one with the comeback route. We sprint him out and they got high on the rush and he turned back inside. Whether he gave it enough time, I'll have to see. He did one thing we told him to do. If you can't get the throw, don't force it, throw it away."
Do you think you surprised Coach Dunn with some things in the first half and he made some adjustments to stop those plays in the second half?
"He is a good coach and I know they made some adjustments. I'm sure it wasn't all us surprising him or all adjustments in the first half or second half. More than anything else, just looking at the fourth quarter, maybe I get a little conservative. I don't know. But we kind of lost our stinger, so to speak, to me in the fourth quarter. We weren't near as aggressive going out and trying to make something happen. That is the thing that bothers me. In games like that, where they start becoming shootout, then in the end, you have to take the ball and make a first down and shut the game down. We just didn't do things well in the fourth quarter. Right now, I don't have all the reasons but we will study it hard. To be a good football team, you have to play four quarters. In the fourth quarter, when the game is on the line, you have to contribute and we didn't."
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 http://mississippistate.theinsiders.com. You can contact him by emailing email@example.com.