Wes Carroll came back in the second half and played well. What do you think about his play in the second half?
"Oh, he played like a champion. You can tell he gets better as the weeks go on. He's our quarterback and our leader when we are out there. That's how we look at him."
What did Coach Croom tell you guys at halftime to get you going?
"Pretty much what we do best is run the ball. And he just wanted us to come and set the standard on that first drive. And once we started on that first drive we never stopped and kept it rolling."
Talk about that pass you caught coming out of the backfield.
"It was a play that I knew we had and I was just waiting to run it. Coach called it and my eyes kind of got big (laugh). I knew I would be open. When I got open in the flat, Wes gave me a perfect pass and I just turned and got what I could."
How big was this start, your first start, to you?
"Man, I couldn't even sleep last night. It was more than I thought it would be. It was just a great feeling to go out and start and be a part of a win."
Talk about the effort you have made as a walk-on to get to this point.
"It has been a fight, really, coming from a small school. Really, the only offer I had coming out of high school was a junior college (Holmes CC). I spent three years there and I still didn't have an offer, so I told (former Weir High School head football) Coach (Junior) Graham that I would come up here and walk on. The first year I was up here I had cancer, a tumor in my throat. I had surgery and had to sit out a whole year recovering from that. I had a hard offseason workout. Then I came back here and just continued to work hard. And in the end it is paying off."
Have you come close to quitting?
"You always have thoughts like that, but I think my mom, my dad and my grandparents ... everybody who have been on my side talked me through it and told me to never give up and stick with it. I give all the credit to them."
What role has Dicenzo Miller, your brother, played in your life?
"That's my hero. He's been my hero since the 10th grade. The first time on the field watching him run, I was like when I grow up I want to be just like that. He was in the stands watching. The first place I looked for when I came by I saw he was down there."
When did they tell you that you would start?
"He told me Thursday that I was going to play. I was thinking more the third or fourth quarter, but he came back by and told me that I was going to start against UAB. My eyes got big and the whole room got kind of quiet."
Was there panic in the locker room at the half?
"There wasn't really any kind of panic. We knew there were mistakes made. And we knew what we were going to be able to do in the second half. All we needed to do was execute and go out there and play Mississippi State football."
What was the difference in the second half compared to the first half.
"At halftime, I went up to every offensive player and told them that we have this and that we were going to put points on the board that first drive. I said that we have to go out there and make a statement no matter what. We have to run the ball down their throat and pass and execute. And we did, we had a long drive and quieted down that defense and put points on the board. I feel very comfortable in the huddle with those guys."
How important was it to start the second half with a 9 minute, 17-play drive?
"It keeps (our) defense off the field and keeps them rested. And it tires (UAB) out. As soon as we had them on their heels running backwards we had control of the ballgame."
On the last scoring-drive could you sense that they were tiring?
"Yeah, we could tell. They stopped talking and stopped coming after us on plays. You can sense that they were down. We needed to make a statement and put that nail in the coffin on our last drive. We wanted them to know we were for real, that we could run the ball on them and passed the ball on them."
Were they trash talking out there?
"I wouldn't say they were trash talking. They were just real upbeat. They were a real good defense. They moved around pretty well. And they were feisty."
Talk about that pass you made that was reversed from an interception to an incomplete pass by the officials.
"I should have made that play. That should have never happened. I almost wish that the ball had been picked so I would have learned my lesson never to throw it outside on that post. Good thing it wasn't because it kept our confidence up. And we went back out there on the next drive and put points on the board."
How does a freshman have as much confidence as you seem to have?
"It started when I first started running this offense. I didn't go in there scared because you can't be scared as a quarterback. You have to be the leader, you have to put more burden on your shoulders to make the right play and to do the right things. If they have confidence in me, then they will have confidence throughout the game."
Was there a turning point in this game, a play or a particular drive?
"Definitely the first drive in the second half was the most important drive in the entire game. There wasn't just one play or two plays, the biggest plays was making those third down conversions. We didn't do that very well the last couple of weeks, so we knew we had to convert third downs, whether it was running the ball or throwing the ball. When you complete a third down on a defense that just demoralizes them. It hurts them, especially on a long drive like the first one was."
What does it mean to you to be starting as a freshman?
"I get that freshman term out of my head. That means nothing to me. I don't care if the left tackle is a senior or if he's a freshman. As long as we execute well in practice, as long as we know what the schemes are, the gameplan, we are going to be as fine. As long as we know what we are doing and what we are capable of, then we shouldn't have any problem."
What does it mean to you to know Coach Croom said in the postgame press conference that you are the quarterback now?
"Without a doubt a confidence booster."
Will it make you work even harder?
"Without a doubt, without a doubt. I need to be on top of my game. The last couple of weeks I have been watching a lot of extra film, watching myself, correcting the little mistakes. And knowing that I'm the quarterback, it's going to put that extra bit pressure on me. I just have to stay sharp and on top of my game and correct the little mistakes."
Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the Dawgs' Bite, Powered by GenesPage.com website, the source for Mississippi State sports on the Scout.com sports network. You can contact him by email at email@example.com.