STARKVILLE, Miss. — After defeating the reigning national champion LSU Tigers to open the season, the Mississippi State football team has now lost three games in a row. Head football coach Mike Leach met with the media following Saturday’s 28-14 loss to No. 11 Texas A&M.
Leach started off by talking about the struggling offensive line.
“I didn’t think we played well on the offensive line, in particular the first half,” Leach said. “I thought we literally squandered the first half.”
The Bulldogs surrendered six sacks, four of which came in the first half, and five quarterback hurries.
“I think it is mental on the part of our offensive line,” Leach said. “That’s something us as coaches have to do. Calm them down. I think it is mental. It is definitely mental, because we can block our defensive line even though Texas A&M was not able to consistently. I mean, we can. I think it is mental.”
Freshman quarterback Will Rogers engineered a 13-play, 82-yard drive that ended in him tossing his first touchdown. Leach had high praise for the drive.
“That drive that Will had was maybe as good as I’ve had a true freshman have before,” Leach said.
The drive is something the Bulldogs could build on, but Leach said Mississippi State’s starting quarterback job is still up for grabs at this point.
“I think it needs to be evaluated,” Leach said. “We have two weeks. We’ll sort that then. I think it needs to be evaluated.”
The Bulldogs were without senior running back Kylin Hill for the game. Leach told a sideline reporter before the game that Hill was unavailable, but he did not say why. MSU ran for minus-2 yards on 20 caries without him. Freshman Jo’qavious Marks got his first career start and ran for 25 yards on seven carries.
“He was unavailable today,” Leach said. “He’s unavailable today, and I’m not sure on the future of that.”
The Bulldogs compiled 217 total yards this week, 295 last week and 400 two weeks ago. Turnovers, blocking and miscues have been a big problem for the Bulldogs all season. Leach said the Mississippi State offense looked like a “bunch of pin cushions.” He says this is the most an offense has struggled anywhere he has coached.
“We’re behind where I’d hoped we’d be,” Leach said. “You see things in practice. You want to see us play well, come to practice.”
The Bulldogs will now have an open week to get back on track before heading to Alabama to face the No. 2 Crimson Tide.