[Premium article] Coach Sherrill and players talk about the BYU game.


"You can give credit to the seniors. They have hung in there and fought very hard over and over. I was disappointed that we were not able to hang in there and hold on to this one."

"I have been in the game a long time and (my teams) have played in many difference conferences. I can honestly say this is the first game that the (Mountain West) officials took a game away from a football team. If you look at it and look at the non-penalties (calls that weren't made but should have), it is really ridiculous. There were things that should have been called that they wouldn't call. The personal foul, the slug to the head is an automatic ejection. They didn't have the guts to throw him out of the game. This was a very, very sorry exhibition of officiating. (They) took a great win away from BYU but they took a great game away from two teams competing. When officials do that they don't deserve to be on the field.

"What I'm upset about is they have illegal formations on their punt and extra point formations. I called their commissioner and they knew that. They did that all night and only called it once and didn't call it again. I don't mind if you call something once as long as you continue to call it."

On the team's effort:
"We had a lot of players that played hard. BYU is a very good team. Their quarterback (Brandon Doman) is an outstanding player with tremendous ability who makes big plays.

"We didn't make some plays. The last interference penalty should have been offensive pass interference, but we didn't get that one. I tell our team that you have to be good enough to beat the officials, but tonight the officials took the game away."

On Kevin Fant's play:
"I thought (Kevin) Fant played very, very well. He made the right checks and did a lot of good things."

On Luke Staley:
"Luke (Staley) is a very tough, steady player. We had a lot of respect for him coming into the game. He is a young man who has been consistent all year.

"The guy who makes BYU go is Doman. They certainly wouldn't be 12-0 without him."

On emotions after the Mississippi game:
"You are not going to get up after an emotional rivalry game like we had Thanksgiving night without character and pride. I thought our guys showed a lot of character tonight."

Do you feel that BYU's offensive line wore your defensive line during the fourth quarter?
"I don't know if that was the case. We just weren't able to make some plays. In fact, just like the last pass interference call, that was really offensive pass interference. That wasn't defensive pass interference. We didn't get that call and there were two or three calls on the sidelines that we didn't get. We caught the ball on the sidelines but that was a bad call."


What did Coach Sherrill say to you after the game in the locker room?
"He told us to keep our heads up and that we played a great game."

How does BYU compare to SEC teams that you have played this year?
"I don't think they compare to Florida or anyone else (in the SEC)."

Kevin was really sharp tonight.
"Kevin is a great quarterback. He had great accuracy tonight. It is really going to be a great year next year. We feel very confident in Kevin."

The offense really came on late in the season. You have to feel good about next year as far as the offense is concerned.
"We feel very positive. We just have to go out and get a couple of offensive linemen. We are fine at the skilled positions. Kevin is going to be here for a while. I am going to be hear as is Ray Ray, Terrell and a lot of others will be back next year."

You got contacts after the Troy State game. That seems to have really stepped your game up.
"I love my contacts. I wish I could have gotten my eyes corrected sooner. Maybe, I could have helped this team a lot more. I feel very confident going into next year."


About the pass interference penalty called against you:
"I did everything Coach Smith has taught me to do. I cut my man off, I looked back for the ball. The referee call the penalty but (the BYU WR) pushed me off. It was just a bad call."

Are they a top 10 team?
"They are ranked number 7, so they are a top 10 team."

About Luke Staley:
"He is a great back and a hard man to bring down. One thing about him is that he runs hard the entire game."


MSU commitments Richard Burch, Markell McKinley and Scott Shurden were at the game.

South Panola (Batesville, MS) HS senior linebacker Chris Herring. Chris, one of the top linebackers in the southeast, is on his official visit to MSU this weekend.

Longview, Texas senior linebacker Marvin Byrdsong unofficially visited MSU this weekend. He told me MSU is still in the picture for his signature.

Kevin Pughsley, a senior offensive lineman from Madison Central HS, was at the game last night. He told me that he has set up an official visit with Ole Miss and Troy State. His official visit with Ole Miss is December 14-16 and Troy State's is sometime in January. He has had an in-home visit with Ole Miss. He is receiving calls from Florida, Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Troy State, Georgia and Southern Miss.

Also at the game was Rodney Coleman, one of the top juniors in the state. Rodney is a 6-2.5, 180-pound wide receiver from Clarksdale (MS) HS. Rodney, who wears number 88, is 6-2.5 and weighs 180 and runs a 4.5 forty.

Rodney's teammate, Fernando Matthews, was also at the game. Fernando, who wears number 4, is a 6-1, 210-pound dog safety who runs a 4.5 forty. Fernando is also another one of the top juniors in the state this year.

Another top junior who was at the game was Trey Powell, an offensive lineman from Baldwyn (MS) HS. Trey was listed by The Clarion-Ledger as one of the top 21 juniors in the state prior to this season.

One of the top junior quarterbacks in the state, Lee Academy's (Clarksdale, MS) Bradford Foster attended the game as well. Bradford, is 6-2, 185 pounds and runs the forty in 4.54 seconds.

One of the top junior running backs in the state, Florence (MS) HS's Corey Jones, was also at the game.

Olive Branch senior defensive lineman Michael Evans attended the game as did senior Brandon HS kicker Gregory Shelton and senior Madison Central HS kicker John Skelton.

There were many other players at the game but this is all that I could identify. If you know of others who were at the game, please email their names, positions, schools and I will post their names.

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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