STARKVILLE, Miss. — Mississippi State head football coach Joe Moorhead met with media on Monday to discuss what went wrong against Tennessee and a look ahead to Saturday when the Bulldogs host No. 2 LSU at Davis Wade Stadium.
Before answering any questions, Moorhead started with a message about his desire to bring a consistent winning program to Mississippi State fans.
“Nothing means more to me than to bring a consistently successful, championship-level program to Mississippi State. Every waking moment of my life is spent—not spent with my family—it’s utilized in an effort to make it happen. That’s what makes losing games so difficult because of the investment. It’s not just a loss. It crushes your soul. You never get over it. You learn to live with it,” Moorhead said. “There may be people that watch the game that get mad, deservedly, and point out some things, then they go on about their day and cut the grass and go to church and go out to have a meal and go on to their job, but for us, it festers. And I take the responsibility of running this program—our 120 student-athletes, our 40 staff members, our students, our administrators, our faculty members and our great fans—very seriously and treat it with the sacred respect and I’m doing it to the absolute best of my ability. I’m certainly not a bible-thumper by any means, but I am a man of God and I do believe I was led to this path at Mississippi State over other opportunities to achieve great things. I remain steadfast in my belief that we are going to do it,” he said.
Moorhead also said it was hard to see his daughter crying on the field at Neyland Stadium after last week’s game. He said it was hard to console her while walking off the field to people telling him that “he sucks.”
”But they were right, on that day I did suck,” Moorhead said.
Much of the questions were about the lackluster effort in Knoxville, Tennessee, against a Volunteer team that was 1-4 and 0-2 in the Southeastern Conference. However, one question he did answer was about the starting quarterback situation.
“Garrett’s going to start. Tommy is going to back him up.” Moorhead said. “Based on what we’ve seen the past few weeks with both guys dealing with injuries and Garrett leading us to the win over Kentucky and coming in the Auburn game and providing a spark and doing the same thing at Tennessee and Tommy still not being completely over some of his things, we just feel like Garrett has been playing [well] and gives us a great shot,” Moorhead said.
Last week, true freshman quarterback Garrett Shrader entered the game in the third quarter and went 5-of-10 for 79 yards with one touchdown and an interception on an injured foot. He also ran for 62 yards and led the Bulldogs on a 90-yard drive to the endzone in the fourth quarter. On the year, Shrader is 45-of-78 for 590 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions. He’s also added 374 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 59 carries.
The Bulldogs (3-2, 1-2 SEC) will have their hands full this weekend when they take on the Tigers (6-0, 2-0 SEC) on Saturday. The Tigers are coming off a 42-28 win over No. 9 Florida. LSU junior quarterback Joe Burrow ranks second in the nation with 2,157 yards passing.
The game is set to kick off at 2:30 p.m. CT and will be nationally televised on CBS.