Mississippi State head coach Dan Mullen fields questions following the 20th-ranked Bulldogs 31-6 loss to No. 3 Alabama on Saturday.
“Give (Alabama) credit. They’re an excellent football team. We knew that coming in. How the game works is very simple — you follow a plan to win. They did, we didn’t. We played great defense. I thought we played fantastic defense for a good portion of the night. You hold a great back like Derrick Henry to, basically, 140 yards on two of his carries. You’re looking at 69, 60, 74 and 65-yard touchdowns. You’re not going to win doing that. We had the ball in the red zone and weren’t able to punch it in a couple of times and settled for field goals. On special teams, we gave up the punt return for the touchdown. Give them credit for following a plan to win. We have to move forward, find a way to get better as a team, continue to improve and get ready to go play again next week.”
On Alabama’s nine sacks
“I don’t know if they were doing anything special but just beating guys up there. I don’t think we did a great job of protecting the quarterback. One of the things you want to do is protect the quarterback to be able to throw the football. We still threw for over 300 yards.”
On the defense’s performance
“We played pretty good defense. I think we played pretty solid defense, except for the big plays. You can’t play great defense 80 percent of the time. You have to do it 100 percent of the time. It was the big plays that killed us. They had 379 yards and 200 of them were on three plays. The rest of the game they had 179 yards. They ran 55 plays, so we played unbelievable defense for 52 of them.”