As the sun set over Davis Wade Stadium, the Saturday night lights wrapped Scott Field in victory. The Mississippi State University (4-2) football team beat Auburn University (4-2) 23-9 and lit the field with bold pink socks and undeniable effort after a two-game losing streak.
From day one, head coach Joe Moorhead was adamant on the need for keeping consistency throughout practices and on game day. His continuous belief in the MSU Bulldogs appears to only grow each game—win or lose.
“I think the kids will buy into the fact that this is a process,” Moorhead said. “You stick to it and do the things that are necessary, this can be a result. Six games in, we are headed in the right direction.”
Mark McLaurin, senior safety from Collins, discussed the team’s consistency each day on and off of the field.
“Same thing you do in practice, you do in the game,” McLaurin said. “So we always pride ourselves on if you have a great practice, you have a great game.”
Moorhead also explained the team has always kept their confidence, despite the score.
“My confidence never wavered. I lack a lot of things, confidence is not one of them,” Moorhead said. “I think that is what’s great about our team, we didn’t flinch. We didn’t cower in the face of adversity. We didn’t pout. We went out on Sunday this week, watched the film from the week before and moved forward.”
Erroll Thompson, a sophomore linebacker from Florence, Alabama, talked about how the team never lost confidence in their abilities or who they are as a team. This identity he spoke about aligns with what Moorhead has repeatedly said.
“We never lost confidence,” Thompson said. “We knew what we were capable of the whole time, people were going to call it an upset, but we knew what kind of game it was going to be–we knew we were going to come out on top.”
Maurice Smitherman Jr, a junior cornerback from Adamsville, Alabama spoke about the expectations from Moorhead as a new coach, and how the team had to get past the negativity from the fans.
“Forget all of the expectations, let’s play with this chip on our shoulder,” Smitherman said. “We were reading all of the negativity everybody and the fans was saying, so we just wanted to go to prove out this team still got life in it. We’re still a great team, that’s what we did tonight.”
The team is always working toward their goals and working to improve, no matter the rankings. Seeing Auburn lose on MSU’s home turf was the icing on the cake for many fans who were doubtful of the Bulldogs this season. Even with the fans questioning the outcome of the MSU vs. Auburn game, the team insists they did not. They came in to do their best and come out with a win.
“It was very challenging. Auburn did a lot of things that hurt us in the previous two games,” Thompson said. “Previous two loses so that was the challenging part about it.”
Challenges arise each and every game, and the team works endlessly to face adversity head on and to improve each step along the way. McLaurin gave his take on the Bulldogs and how they keep doing their best, quarter by quarter.
“It was tremendous. Our offense continued to playing, kept fighting and they scored, and the defense we knew that we just had to keep battling because it wasn’t over, it’s a four-quarter fight,” McLaurin said. “We keep fighting each and every day.”
MSU has a bye week before they travel to play LSU in Baton Rouge Oct. 20.