On Saturday night in Starkville, Mississippi State nearly pulled off a big upset against No. 2 Alabama.

In fact, the Bulldogs led the undefeated Crimson Tide in the fourth quarter before Alabama fought its way to a 31-24 come-from-behind victory.

After the game, the Bulldogs were understandably disappointed they couldn’t hold on for the big home win.

In his postgame press conference, though, coach Dan Mullen said he had to tip his hat to Alabama, as the Crimson Tide simply found a way to win (via AL.com):

“I give them a lot of credit. They are an excellent football team. They had a lot of players come up and make some big plays in key moments of the game. They found a way to win there at the end with their players making plays.”

Mullen added that the Bulldogs would have to shake off the loss and try to knock off Alabama next year:

“Frustrating. Our guys played their tails off. They played hard for 60 minutes. That is the No. 1 team in the country, and they are the No. 1 team in the country for a reason. It isn’t easy to beat the No. 1 team in the country. I guess we get opportunities every year, so we will get another shot next year.”

DL Jeffery Simmons added that the Crimson Tide were the most physical team they’ve played, on par with a tough Georgia team:

“Other than Georgia, they were pretty physical. We knew it was going to be a front-tempo game, and we played our heart out, both offensive and defensive line.”

The Bulldogs travel to Arkansas next weekend in another SEC West showdown. Mississippi State, currently No. 16 in the College Football Playoff rankings, should still be ranked this week, and will have a chance to show it deserves a high ranking again in Fayetteville.