Dixon: "I Wanted To Tote The Load"

SAFETY DEREK PEGUES: "We wanted to beat these guys bad. I remember my sophomore year when they beat us, they went in the end zone and danced around and celebrated hollering pig-sooie or whatever it is. We didn't want that again. We didn't want our fans to have to sit there and watch them celebrate on our field. We took that to heart and had that in the back of our minds the whole game."

Q: You had your back to the pass you intercepted, how did you pick it up? "I heard the crowd screaming, then I saw the receiver look back and start to put his hands up. You're taught all the time in ball-drills just turn around and see if you can find the ball. As soon as I turned around it was right on me, so I just batted it and got a lucky bounce."

Q: Did you say anything down 14-0 to get your guys focused? "Yeah, I just told them to keep playing, we had three more quarters left. We gave them two scores right there, we just had to settle down. It was Senior Day and emotions were running high a little bit out there, and we got out of position a couple of times. But I think we bounced-back pretty well."

Q: How much boost was it for the offense to put up the first touchdown? "Oh, it was a big boost to be able to feed off their energy. It's been missing a little bit this year, but it was a big boost to see them taking the ball down there and scoring every time. We knew we had a little room for error, we didn't have to play mistake-free football. We were able to make a few mistakes. When the offense got the ball they were making good drives and when they weren't scoring they got it back quick and were driving very easy on their defense. It was a very good sight to see."

Q: What was the feeling when they got the on-sides kick? "I'm like man, this can't happen! We've lost games all kind of ways and I'm thinking we're not fixing to lose this game no matter what. We got a little blessing from God right there at the end, to blow that ball to the right!"

Q: Did you expect their freshman quarterback to throw the ball so well? "We had seen a little tape on him and knew it was going to be him or his brother, both of them were going to play because we'd been reading about it in the paper. He came out and did a good job, he had some guys open, caught us in a couple of defense we shouldn't have been in a couple of times. He was able to put good zip on the ball. I think he's going to be a pretty good quarterback."

WIDE RECEIVER JAMAYEL SMITH: "They put me in the position and I was just out there doing my job. I know they were probably going to double B-Mac and look for him, and the ball just kept coming my way."

Q: You made some key catches, too. "Any one of our receivers could have caught the balls I caught. They had me in, I ran my routes, and I just caught the ball."

Q: Was that the sharpest Tyson has been? "Oh, yeah. He shocked me! I was surprised because I thought the ball was maybe going to B-Mac, and I'd look up, the ball was coming my way! He did a good job reading coverages and making it easy for us."

Q: Are you happier about your catches, or mad about the one in the second quarter that got away? "I'm more mad about the one I dropped! That's the one that is going to stick with you."

Q: What does it say about this offense now to come back from two scores down, something it has struggled to do? "I mean, us doing that lets everybody know what kind of offense we really are. This is what we've been trying to get people to see the whole season, that we can move the ball—running and passing, we can move it. And by us doing it today I feel a lot of people can see now we have a good offense."

WIDE RECEIVER BRANDON McRAE: Q: Coach said it was just a matter of execution, was that what you saw? "Oh, yeah. It seemed everything was open for us, everything we did in practice. And we had a new mind-frame, every time we took the ball on the field we wanted to score. That's our new mindframe now, scoring."

Q: After falling behind so quickly, was there any doubt you could put up points and come back? "I didn't feel any doubt at all, and I don't think the team felt it either. We came back pretty quick, it was a quick shootout and we felt oh, we can move the ball pretty good. And it just felt good."

Q: You didn't have a catch the first half but were keeping coverage spread for other guys. "It was great watching Jamayel today. I guess he always has great games against Arkansas! And it's great to finally beat Arkansas after nine years."

"Jamayel had an outstanding day. I was just trying to feed off him. The first half I think I played my worst half of football, I was out of it, thinking I guess it's one of those games. So I had to focus on the ball and catch it first, then make something happen."

LINEBACKER DOMINIC DOUGLAS: "For the offense to pick up and really run the ball and throw the ball, it was a good thing."

"The first touchdown made a whole lot of difference, it gets the intensity up a whole lot. It gets the fans into it, gets the people on the sideline into it."

"The front four did an excellent job of pass-rushing, then we tried to blitz we hit home with K.J. (Wright), he had two sacks. I think we did pretty good on the defensive side. One thing we need to do is pick up our passing defense a little bit and next week improve on everything."

Q: Early they were hurting you running up the middle, but the defense adapted to that? "We had to get back on the drawing board. They tried to scheme us up and spread us out and run a little bit, pass a little bit. It was an excellent job they the offensive coordinator. But we got on the sideline, drew everything up and got back to where we needed to be."

Q: Most of the time you went with three down-linemen but you began blitzing a lot between them? "It was all about getting pressure to #10, just try to keep him rattled a little bit so the corners could make plays."

Q: Coach thought there wasn't much energy early, Derek said you were too keyed-up? "I think it was a little bit too keyed-up. It was Senior Day and everybody wanted to make a big impact. But we had to settle down and play our roles and not have any miscues. And just play our type of football."

LINEBACKER K.J. WRIGHT: Q: After falling behind the defense stuck with the same front but began filling the gaps with linebackers? "Right. The first two drives were real bad for us. But we switched it up and did a little more blitzing, and everybody got in the gaps. That was the change we made and it was a good change, you could see."

Q: Did the defense have to take some chances blitzing even the way they were throwing and catching, for over 300 yards? "That's way too many yards for us, but we couldn't just let them sit back there and pick us apart. So we did a little more blitzing than we usually do and for the most part it paid off."

Q: When the offense got moving, the defense was able to come up with some stops when it had to? "Yes, that's what we had to do. Get off the field so the offense could score like they did tonight. You know, that's the way it's worked as a team; both sides of the ball and special teams all did pretty good in helping each other out."

Q: What did it mean to the young players like yourself to let the seniors walk off the field winners? "Oh, I'm proud for them. I was mainly playing for them, my buddy Doug (Dominic Douglas), and I'm just glad they left on a positive note."

"We've got one more week, and we plan on getting a win as usual. We're going to play for pride and get a win against Ole Miss."

FULLBACK ARNIL STALLWORTH: "We ran the ball more like early in the season, and kept running the ball."

Q: You seemed to set a faster tone in the first half, getting to the line and going quickly? "Yeah, the game was all about speed and tempo. Coach always talks on keep the tempo up in practice and we brought it over to the game. We ran the ball a lot this game, I know we ran more than we passed. And I'm glad we ran the ball because it opened our passing game up."

Q: The shovel pass was critical in the drive. "That kind of threw them off-balance a little bit, threw them for a loop. When I ran it I really thought I was going to score but the safety came out of nowhere and popped me. Real hard! But as long as we scored it didn't matter to me."

Q: You did score the next time, and broke an arm-tackle to do it. "We do that every Tuesday in practice, you know. It's a ‘blast' play where you just hit and don't let hand-tackles bring you down."

Q: After the first touchdown did you see a difference on the defense's face? "Yeah, without a doubt. Because we kind of had them off-balance, they didn't know if we were going to run or pass. We mixed it up and they were confused, didn't know what to do."

QUARTERBACK TYSON LEE: Q: Was that the best-balanced gave the offense has played? "I think we ran the ball extremely well, to say the least. And once we did that it opened up the passing game. That's what we've tried to do all season and tonight we were able to execute that."

Q: Did you sense the 4th-and-1 conversion gave the team a lift? "I think so. It was a critical part in the game, we knew we had the ball in their territory and we were trying to keep the drive alive. We were able to get the yards and get points out of it."

Q: Down 14-0 what went through your heads? "You just have to get ready to make plays. They went up quick and you have to keep your composure and realize you can't beat yourself now. We're down in the hole but you can't beat yourself, try to do anything to sustain a drive and get points any way possible."

Q: Did the offense get off the script after falling behind two scores? "No, we pretty much stayed on the script. The plays that were called were pretty much what we wanted to be in in the situations. So we pretty much stayed with it for a while. We got off it a little bit but stayed with it for the most part."

Q: Why were you able to have so much success against Arkansas' defense? "I don't know. I guess just the offensive line. I thought they played extremely well. It seemed to me they won the ‘six inches' we always talk about, win the initial six inches and once you do that play on that side of the ball. I think that's what we did for four quarters."

Q: You took a lot of hard hits until the game was tied, after that you weren't hit as often? "I don't know what happened! I thought the offensive line played extremely well, and I got better throughout the game with the running game and the passing game. In the second half we made plays and I didn't get hit as much, which is always a good thing!"

Q: How did you feel the last couple of minutes? "Man! Their quarterback had a great game, their tight end (Lucas) Miller, they had some play-makers. But our defense was able to stand, we went out and played well and came out with the win."

HALFBACK ANTHONY DIXON: Q: Talk about your big day? "It was fun, it was exciting, know what I'm saying? That's what I wanted, to tote the load for the game and get us to a victory. I was out there pushing, pumping my teammates up, trying to hit my holes and make the right reads. I was trying to play a perfect game."

"The seniors were a big part of it. I've got a lot of love for those guys, they took me under their wing when I first got here as a freshman and they taught me a lot of stuff about Starkville and Mississippi State. And I wanted to send them out on a good note, that was part of the reason I played so hard today."

Q: How tough was the first touchdown catch behind your head? "Oh, it was tough. But I turned around and saw it at the last minute, and stuck the hand out there. I guess it worked out for me!"

Q: Were you the ‘hot' receiver or was that a called pass on the second touchdown? "It was a called play, just a little ‘Texas' route where I run out like I'm on a flat-route and then bring it back in."

"I had been telling people I can catch. I can do anything they want me to, all they have to do is give me the opportunity and I can make it happen for them!"

Q: Were you surprised at the size of the holes in the defense? "No, I can't say I was surprised because I know our line is capable of doing that. I've missed this year and some I've hit; today I kind of brought it all together and I don't think I missed too many. I was running hard like usual and it happened for me today."

"This week Coach didn't us any ideas for the cutback, he told us don't cut on our runs, just keep it front-side. I can't say I went out there and did that, because I did cut on some plays. I was just being a running back, and the coaches tell us they don't want to tell us where to run. I just went out there and used my skills and was a running back today. I read my holes and keys and hit it where I was supposed to be."

Q: What happened on the long touchdown run? "It was a ride play. I read A gap to the B gap, I didn't like it so I bounced out to the C. And I saw our receiver (McRae) had got the dude sealed off. I got behind him and turned it on and ran as fast as I can."

Q: How satisfying was a game to put all this together? "It was very satisfying. I was going through a lot of frustration with our season, how it was turning out and right now. To get a game like this today, I wish we'd have played them earlier in the season, there would have been a lot of confidence going into the rest of the games. But I'm going to keep on pushing for this last one."


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