What Mike Leach said after Mississippi State lost to Ole Miss in Egg Bowl
Mike Leach and Mississippi State dropped Thursday night’s Egg Bowl to Ole Miss 31-21.
It was a struggle for most of the night on offense for the Bulldogs, as the Rebels defensive front pressured Will Rogers for most of the night. Rogers finished 38-of-58 for 336 yards and 1 touchdown.
Following the loss to the Rebels, Leach spoke to the media.
On if the rain had to do with MSU’s first half TD misses
“I didn’t think the rain had much to do with it. We did miss some opportunities for touchdowns and that’s the part that’s kind of unfortunate. Including every time we kicked a field goal is a missed opportunity for a touchdown. I thought everybody was excited and everybody played hard, sometimes we got frantic, sometimes we tried to make a little too much happen. And we missed out on some plays which is disappointing. At some key times, their maturity came out ahead of our young guys. Only had like 10 seniors out there. The older you get, the more consistent you get. We marched it up and down the field, but the key plays they made that we didn’t is just missed opportunities. If you feel sorry for yourself, all you do is waste time. We just need to get better.”
On if it’s a different game if MSU scores before halftime
“We haven’t dropped three balls in a row for a long time. We’d be seven points better, I know that. Everybody was locked in. In a game like this, it’s a fine line between being too wired up and too discouraged. People don’t go flat because they don’t care. But if you care too much you try too hard, you’re out of control. If you get too discouraged, you wallow and mope. I didn’t see any of that. We missed some opportunities in key situations which is too bad.”
On OT Scott Lashley’s play
“He was matched up against a real quality guy. And I thought he did a real good job getting off the ball. But I think Lashley has had a heck of a year. I thought for the most part, we protected pretty good. We had a couple of penalties and a sack, which are some of those missed opportunities.”
On whether getting off the field on 3rd down was a problem
“Of course, you want to get them off the field after those third downs. I think we played really hard and really well defensively. We gave up some big plays, but a lot of those were third down and shorts, which they earned that. I also think the leadership of their quarterback played in as far as them being effective on third down. He really did a good job on some of those, and carried it himself some.”
On how Will Rogers played
Starting out, I think he tried to do too much. Then I thought he settled in. There were some up and downs in the second half. It wasn’t his best game. I’ve seen him more accurate and trigger it a little quicker. I thought he hung in there in a tough situation. He did a great job of holding the offense together as far as us continuing to move the ball. We did a good job of putting ourselves in position to score. We didn’t do a good job of finishing the deal. There are more people involved in that then Will. There isn’t any coach who coached better than his players played.”
On if it’s mental for kicker Nolan McCord
“I imagine it’s a little of both. If you’re not right mentally, your form’s not very good. If your form is good, the ball doesn’t have any choice but to go through. The ball’s not deciding where it goes.”
On how he reflects on his team with 7 wins and a bowl game berth
“I think we improved probably more than any team in the conference. It wasn’t really satisfactory for us. We felt like we could have done a better job than we did. We think we left a lot of meat on the bone. We steadily improved throughout the year. Beat a lot of ranked teams and lost to a couple of them. Don’t get too tired of these guys, you’ll see a lot of them next year.”
You can watch Mike Leach’s postgame press conference below: