MSU Players Talk About Their Victory

Several MSU players talked about the importance of the 19-14 Mississippi State victory over the home-standing Auburn Tigers.

Anthony Dixon

What was it like on the plane and team buses coming back home?
"Oh man, it was electric. Everybody was jumping around. And everybody was just happy that we had shown everybody what we were capable of. We were really tired of talking about it."

This was just a total team effort, wasn't it?
"Oh yeah. We just wanted to put it together. We knew we had to. Coach told us it was the time for us to do it. When we went to halftime after they had jumped on us, Coach told us that they really couldn't play with us. And we came out in the second half and did what we were supposed to do."

Mike Henig got hurt last year. Now, he's hurt this year. But you guys seem to be able to handle it. Why is this MSU team different than last year's team?
"It's just that we have a bunch of people on the team that want to do it for the team, all for the team. We are all playing for the team. We don't care who scores the touchdown or throws the touchdown or makes the tackles. And at the end of the day if you play like that, then you produce Ws."

What is practice going to be like this week?
"Oh, it's going to be fun. We are just going to get right back on it and prepare for the next game. We have four more (wins) to go to get to a bowl. And that's our main mission right now."

Michael Brown

Auburn defensive end Quentin Groves really didn't factor into the game. You blocked him during the game. How much of the game did you face him?
"I went against him a lot, at least 3/4 of the game."

Actually, you did better against him than he did against you. How much does that help your confidence?
"That did a lot for my confidence. It boost me up a lot. Quentin Groves is a good player, but I know I'm a good player, too. (MSU O-Line) Coach (J.B) Grimes did a lot of extra work with me on my technique to get it down pat. And all I had to do was beat him with technique."

Some MSU teams in the past might have gotten down on themselves with the way Auburn came back to go ahead 14-13 after you guys had a 13-0 lead. What is the difference in this MSU team compared to those teams?
"The difference is when we went into halftime Coach Croom told us that the two scores they got they didn't earn it. So, he knew we could play with them and win this game. We went back out there and said we would give 100% and, hopefully, come out on top like we did."

Obviously, you had a good game. Talk about how the offensive line did as a unit.
"I think the whole offensive line did real good. I think we only allowed one sack. Fifty-two got a sack. We were able to control the line of scrimmage. Our running game was tremendous this game. Anthony Dixon and Christian Ducre were running very hard. We were able to play our game."

It has to make you, as an offensive lineman, feel very proud of yourself knowing that Auburn couldn't stop the running game even though they knew it was coming.
"Yeah, they were playing eight in the box, but we knew as long as we got our man, (Dixon) and Ducre would make them miss tackles and we would go forward. We just played assignment football and came out on top."

You had a freshman quarterback, Wes Carroll, in for a lot of the game. Did you or any of the other veteran lineman help him stay calm?
"That kid is going to be real good. He was not nervous at all when he came in. We had a couple of good drives with him. Even (backup junior quarterback) Josh (Riddell) came in and played with us during a couple of pressure situations."

What does a win like this do for this program?
"It does a whole lot for the program. We really want to show everybody that this is a new Mississippi State. And we can do that by beating SEC teams and anybody else that we play. It's a totally different atmosphere in the locker room. Everybody wants to win. We have Gardner-Webb coming in this weekend and we are going to play 100% against them."

As a player, would you like to see the stadium sold out this coming weekend?
"I would like to see it, but we will get it. We keep winning it will come."

Royce Blackledge

This is your fifth year. You've seen a lot of downs. Now you are feeling the ups. How does it feel to you individually?
"It is definitely an exciting time. We haven't won that many football games since I've been here. And to go to Auburn and win at their stadium, that's huge."

They may be having some problems on offense, but they still have that typical Auburn defense.
"They've got a good defense. Their inside guys and defensive ends are good players and they play hard. We just came out today and executed like we had to and got it done."

What did offensive line coach J.B. Grimes say to the offensive line after the game was over?
"He came out and said how proud he was of us and how proud for us he was for getting a big game like that."

What are you looking for goal-wise for this team this year?
"A lot of wins and a bowl game. And we are going to get that done."

How much does beating Auburn at Auburn do for the confidence factor of this team?
"It is huge. When you go in and win a football game like we did today that builds a lot of confidence."

Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the Dawgs' Bite, Powered by website, the source for Mississippi State sports on the sports network. You can contact him by email at

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