"I thought we started off the game playing well. We did some (good) things early, but we made some mistakes. They went up 7, then we came back. We moved the ball down the field after we tied it. We had third and two and don't execute the play." [Freshman player ran the wrong pass route.-Gene] "But we had a chance to kick a field goal to go up 10-7, but didn't." [Brent Smith was wide left about 5 feet on the 48-yard field goal attempt. The kick was long enough.-Gene]
"The kids were down 21-7 at halftime but they came back in the second half and played very, very hard and played well. We got (the game) back to 21-14, but then we make some mistakes, especially in the kicking game or being offsides. The first one was when we were offsides on third down, then we came back and got the pass interference and then got a block in the back on a punt." [The block in the back penalty put MSU back at their 25-yard line instead of their 35.-Gene] "You can't do that in a game like this and still have an opportunity (to win)."
"We turned the ball over and two of them were really, really big. The fumble on the 17-yard line was a really big one."
"I thought our defense played very well against a very run-oriented football team." [Auburn averaged 4.3 yards per carry during the game. During the first three games, they averaged 5.7 yards per carry.-Gene]
Questions for Coach Sherrill.
Were the (six) turnovers the difference in the game?
"In a game like this, you have to be able to control certain things and we weren't able to control them. The kids played well in spurts, but you can't make mistakes like we made. You can't turn it over."
Was the defense out of position or did you bite on his fake when Cobb hit his tight end on the sidelines? [Cobb, after faking a handoff, completed a 30-yard pass to his tight end on third and 2 to put Auburn at the MSU 29-yard line.-Gene]
"We should have had the blitz coming, but the blitzer didn't blitz."
Was a blitz called on that play?
Talk a little about the running game.
"I thought we ran the ball well in spurts. In the second half we ran the ball very well in the third quarter. But when you are behind and you have to throw the ball you are trouble." (MSU rushed 48 yards on 15 carries in the 3rd quarter.-Gene)
Would you like to see (true freshman running back) Jerious Norwood with more touches than he had? [Jerious had 1 reception for 31 yards. He had no carries.-Gene]
"We are trying to get all those kids in there. Just like you saw (Nick Turner) in. On that third and two we ran the wrong route. You have to make sure that when you put players in that they can execute (the play). Even though the young guys have a lot of talent don't expect them to go in there (and execute every time)."
Talk about the punt that hit your player and Auburn recovered it (on the MSU 13-yard line].
"Korey (Banks) was back on the 10-yard line and we were in safe punt. When they punted the ball we should have fielded the punt. We didn't field it and the Ball was blocking their gunner. Instead of hollering and getting away from the ball we stayed close to the ball. It was a critical mistake." [Auburn went up 14-7 after scoring a touchdown following the recovery.-Gene]
You talked about mistakes you are making. You are three games into the season. Are these mistakes you shouldn't be doing right now?
"We should not be doing some of them. But they are correctability."
Kevin Fant fumbled several times. Do you feel he had a bad night?
"He should have tucked the ball in when he was running down the field. When he had a chance to make the first down, he should have tucked the ball in but he didn't. The other one was when the ball was knocked out of his hand; we should have protected him." (Auburn's DE beat MSU's left tackle - Donald Tucker - and knocked the ball our of Fant's hand coming in from his blind side.-Gene)
Give your assessment of the Auburn team.
"They are a good football team. They are very balanced. There is no question that they have a big, big plus in (kicker Damon) Duval. Duval has (helped them) win a lot of football games because of field position. [MSU had the ball 15 times, 12 of those started at their own 26-yard line or lower.-Gene]
"They do a very good of protecting their kickers. Even though they are slow in their extra point and field goal executions and should be blocked, they do a very good job of protecting them."
Talk about (Carnell) Williams, their tailback.
"He is a good football player. I thought we played very well (against him) and did some good things. But at the end, you can't wear yourself down and think you are going to stop Williams. You have to be sharp and you have to be quick." [Carnell Williams, coming into the game, was averaging 7.4 yards per rush. He averaged 3.8 against MSU. He had 106 yards on 28 carries and scored 2 TDs. 40 of his yards - on 8 carries - came in the 4th quarter, as did both of his touchdowns.-Gene]
Kevin Fant threw a lot of short passes. Was that your gameplan?
"We were doing a lot of checks at the line of scrimmage."
Give your assessment of Fant's performance.
"I'll have to look at the film, but from being on the sideline, I thought he did a good job of getting us in the right checks and throwing the football. He overthrew one that was intercepted." [Fant was 19-of-31 for 215 yards with 1 interception, 2 fumbles and 5 sacks.-Gene]
Gene Swindoll is the owner of Gene's Page (http://mississippistate.theinsiders.com), the unofficial source for Mississippi State sports on the internet. You can contact him by email at email@example.com.