MISSISSIPPI STATE COACH JACKIE SHERRILL QUOTES:
"We could have been coming in here (to the press room) 8-2 or 7-3. I am really proud of the players and coaches. We are getting better and better. We just haven't been able to hold on to the last minute games. The players kept playing. This game was a character game, a pride game. This was for all the marbles, for 365 days if you live in this state."
Who played well for MSU?
"Number 2 (Korey Banks) played very well tonight. Number 33 Darnell (Jones) played every (offensive) snap. He did a great job of blocking their linebackers on the sweeps and on isolation on the lead play. Certainly 12 (Dicenzo Miller) and 3 (Dontae Walker) played very well. They were determined not to come down. There is no question that Kevin (Fant) put everybody in the right place and made the right checks. He played very, very steady. You really saw two good quarterbacks. Fortunately, Kevin came out and made the big plays. The offensive line did a good job. Defensively, our guys up front played well. I didn't think Mississippi could beat us running the football. Because of that, I thought they would have to throw the ball. I thought our front guys started to put some pressure on them, but they have the tools to do a lot of things if they can protect (their quarterback)."
What does this do for your team?
"It heals a lot of things. But we would have liked to have played like this all the way back to the beginning."
Were you surprised by Kevin's performance?
"No. Kevin is a young man who has a lot of stuff to him. He has a lot of toughness. He is a young man who doesn't care who gets the credit. He is going to go out and do whatever you ask him to do. There is no question that he played very, very well."
Eli came into this game having thrown just three interceptions. He threw three in the second half. Was there something special you were doing to cause that?
"No, we put some pressure on him. But you have to give Korey Banks credit because he made some big plays. I thought we were going to have two more, especially when we sacked him and he threw a dying duck in the air. They went and got it and we didn't."
"He has a lot of talent. Mechanically, he is very good. This is the first time that he has played against Kevin and Kevin is one-up on him."
Did it look like you had him rattled in the second half?
"We were getting some pressure on him. Anytime you put some pressure on a quarterback, sometimes they are going to get the ball out of their hands quick. I would say this is the most he has been hit the entire year."
About injured players:
"We had a lot of players who were injured. We had three guys in the secondary who didn't play. We had a linebacker who didn't play. We also had Dorsett Davis who didn't play." [Dorsett Davis played a couple of plays. - Gene]
Talk about Justin Jenkins play.
"I was really happy for Justin Jenkins. He is a class young man. A lot of times when things go like they did for him early in the year, a lot of players would have mentally shut it down. He didn't. He fought back and made some plays for us."
Does beating Ole Miss make anything any better?
"In the state of Mississippi so much is riding on this game. I'm talking about feelings and emotions. And I'm not talking about the players. I'm talking about the people in the state of Mississippi. Even last year when we had a good season, that game stayed with us the entire year. This game will stay with the Mississippi people 365 days."
MISSISSIPPI COACH DAVID CUTCLIFFE QUOTES:
"I don't feel like this is a time for me to get philosophical. We just got whipped tonight. We showed flashes in all phases of the game, but we have to get better on offense, defense, and in the kicking game. We just have to get better to win."
About your team's play:
"I did not think we played very well in the first half. In the third quarter things just got worse and that is my responsibility. We just have to get better."
About your team's effort:
"I was pleased with the effort. We played hard, fought hard. We just have to execute better. We fought back after we were down late. If we had played better in the third quarter and the early fourth quarter I think we would have been in a better position to win at the end of the game."
About Kevin Fant:
"Kevin Fant is a good football player. We knew that coming into the game. They have a lot of good football players on their team."
About Eli Manning:
"I thought Eli played well in the first half. He could have played better in the second half just like the rest of the team. He is no different from the other guys, he has some things that he needs to improve on."
What needs to be done to stop the losing?
"I wish I knew exactly what we need to do to fix everything. Right now we are just not a very good football team. I am glad that we have one more game to try and turn things around. As a competitor, you always want to have more games. The thing is there is not a whole lot more time to get better."
MSU QB KEVIN FANT QUOTES:
Talk about your play tonight?
"When your offensive line blocks great, the receivers are doing well and the running backs are running the ball well, it makes my job easier."
What does beating Ole Miss mean?
"Anytime you beat Ole Miss it is a great advantage. Even though the year has been bad, beating Ole Miss is a great gut feeling."
Did having played in last year's Egg Bowl help you this year?
"Not exactly. The only thing that comes to my mind about that question is I knew how intense this game was going to be."
Talk about the Ray Ray Bivines touchdown run play.
"We ran that play against Arkansas and had some success with it. I knew sometime during the game Coach was going to run it."
What was the turning point in the game?
"I guess you could say when we went ahead because the defense really played great from then on."
When Ole Miss got the onside kick were you thinking about overtime?
"No, I was thinking defense hold them. That was what I was thinking (laugh)."
Talk about the offensive line play tonight.
"I think they played great. They were really excited throughout the game. Courtney Lee, Derrick Thompson and Tommy Watson were all really pumped up. They were really excited after every play. It was the Ole Miss game. We had a great crowd here. You can't help but be picked up."
MSU LB KAMAU JACKSON:
Talk about your play.
"I was happy to be out there. I waited my turn, got out there and played well. We practiced hard and had some great practices this week."
Did the coaches playing Eli's Coming in practice Wednesday have any effect on the play of the team?
"That is a very annoying song, one of the most annoying songs that I have heard. I got tired of the song. I couldn't wait until he got here. I was just waiting on here to get here so we could send him back home."
Was their offensive line the best offensive line MSU has faced this year?
"It's not the offensive line, it's the quarterback. They have a great quarterback. If you gave him time he would complete the passes. You put pressure on him, he would turn it over sometimes."
MSU RB DICENZO MILLER:
Talk about the play of Justin Jenkins and Terrell Grindle.
"Justin and Terrell did a great job catching the ball. Now, we are balanced and back to our old ways again."
You got the MSU flag after the game was over and ran around the field with it. Talk about what you were thinking.
"This game means a lot to me and my family because of what we went through during recruiting. I needed this game to take that burden off of me. This game is more important to me because of some things that Ole Miss did when Coach Tuberville was there."
How difficult will it to be to get up for the BYU game after such an emotional game?
"I am going to be very emotional for me knowing next week will be my last game. Before the game today, a little kid named Wade (Sims) came up to me and told me that I am going to miss you next year. That brought tears to my eyes. It really meant a lot to me to have a little kid like that saying that to me. It really means a lot knowing that everybody at Mississippi State cares so much about you. I am really glad that I came here."
NATHAN CHANDLER, Pasadena City College's quarterback, is officially visiting Mississippi State Thursday and Friday. He told me that he has visited Western Michigan and will visit Iowa. He also said that UCLA is talking to him. He is a December graduate.
ORLANDO EVANS, City College of San Francisco's outstanding quarterback, is officially visiting MSU Thursday and Friday. Orlando told me he is originally from California. He is a December graduate and has two years to play two. He originally signed with the University of Oregon out of high school. Here are a few comments from him.
Orlando, you are considered one of the top quarterbacks in the junior college ranks. What schools are looking at you?
Orlando Evans: "Obviously I am visiting Mississippi State. I am also visiting Indiana, Maryland, UCLA and also Iowa. I probably won't take all of my trips because I want to make my decision early. I'll probably make my decision within the next two weeks."
What made you want to visit Mississippi State?
Orlando Evans: "I have seen them play a lot on television. The opportunity to play is there and that is what I am asking for. I want to come in and compete and get a fair opportunity."
You have great passing stats. Are you a pure drop-back passer or do you consider yourself a passer who can also run?
Orlando Evans: "Like my coach says back home, I'm a quarterback who is an athlete not an athlete who is a quarterback."
Have you enjoyed your trip so far?
Orlando Evans: "I'm been enjoying myself. I'm waiting for this ball game to start."
TRAVIS MCGEE is a 6-foot-3, 290-pound offensive lineman from City of College of San Francisco. He, along with teammate Orlando Evans, are visiting MSU Thursday and Friday.
How did Mississippi State find out about you?
Travis McGee: "Coach (John) Hendrick came out to San Francisco and asked about me. He said he was looking for a quarterback and a center. I was happy when he told me that because where I want to be is in the SEC."
Are you saying you play center?
Travis McGee: "Yes sir, I play center."
Like Orlando are you a December graduate?
Travis McGee: "Yes sir, I already have my AA."
Do you have two years to play two or three years to play two?
Travis McGee: "I have two left."
What other schools are you looking at?
Travis McGee: "Middle Tennessee, Cincinnati, Arizona State, Indiana and a few others. A lot of schools have called me but I told them I want to be closer to home so they have kind of faded out of the picture. I am from Kentucky."
What part of Kentucky are you from?
Travis McGee: "Hopkinsville, which is near Fort Campbell army base."
What schools have you visited so far?
Travis McGee: "This is my first visit."
How in the world did you wind up in San Francisco?
Travis McGee: "I am like the seventh one in my high school to go there. I'm not sure if there is a connection. McGale Merritt was the first one to go there and he went to Alabama. Since then, the coach knew we had some good players at our school so he has signed seven. All seven have started at the school and four of the seven have been All-American. I don't know if I am going to be All-American."
You said you want to play in the SEC. Does that mean you are you leaning to Mississippi State at this time?
Travis McGee: "I really like this program. Every since high school when I watched them play at Kentucky. I have liked them since then."
What do you consider your strong point, your speed or strength?
Travis McGee: "At first it was my quickness (4.8 forty) but I've got the strength to go with it."
What is your bench and squat?
Travis McGee: "My bench is 455 pounds. We don't do squats."
Are you and Orlando thinking about signing with the same college?
Travis McGee: "I would like to go to the same place as him. That would be nice. He is from California, so I don't know what he wants to do."
JAY KIRKLAND, an Ole Miss commitment from New Albany, attended last night's game. Jay, who is a Clarion-Ledger Dandy Dozen selection, told me that, "I am an Ole Miss commitment but I'm just making sure I'm not overlooking anything. I want to be fair to myself and look at all of these places."
Are you going to officially visits any schools other than Ole Miss?
Jay Kirkland: "Yes sir, I'm visiting LSU, Auburn, Mississippi State, Ole Miss and I'm not sure about the fifth one."
What are the dates that you are going to make your official visits?
Jay Kirkland: "I know I have one set with LSU on December 14th. Ole Miss is January 11th but Mississippi State really wants me to come January 11th. I'll have to decide about that. Auburn is the 12th. I have three teams wanting me to come on the same weekend so I'm going to have to decide what I want to do that date."
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.