By Brad Locke/NEMS Daily Journal
STARKVILLE – He might’ve been joking, but Dan Mullen said he received some “hate emails” after Mississippi State’s 41-34 loss to Auburn on Saturday. And he thinks that’s a good thing.
Mullen compared it to two years ago, his first season, when MSU lost in a similar fashion to LSU. Back then, not much was expected of the Bulldogs, who were stuffed on a fourth-and-goal at the 1 late in that game.
On Saturday, MSU was stopped at the 1 on the game’s final play, and fan reaction wasn’t nearly as positive this time.
“I guess that’s a very positive culture change,” Mullen said at Monday’s press conference. “Our people expect us to win games now. Before, they were just impressed maybe we competed.
“Now they expect us to win, and I think that’s good. That’s where we want to be. Those are the expectations we have.”
The Auburn loss is one that can linger in a fan’s psyche for a while, but the Bulldogs have to let it go. No. 3 LSU is coming in Thursday – it’s MSU’s home opener – and the rebounding process began with Sunday’s practice.
“That game is in the past,” defensive end Sean Ferguson said, “and even though it’s a loss, you’ve got to brush your shoulders off, you’ve got to watch the film, learn from your mistakes and come back again, get ready for the next game.”
To hear cornerback Corey Broomfield tell it, the team quickly shifted gears.
“It was a focus, quiet focus,” he said of Sunday’s work. “You could look in everybody’s eyes and see that we were ready to do something special this Thursday.”
Cox back in middle
Fletcher Cox was back on the field Saturday after serving his one-game suspension for a violation of team policy.
The junior defensive tackle, a preseason second-team All-SEC pick, had three tackles and 1.5 tackles-for-loss.
“I started getting my bearings probably around early second quarter,” Cox said. “I started back getting that feeling, back in game mode after missing that first week.”
Getting Cox back in top form is vital for MSU, which gave up 235 rushing yards to Auburn and now faces an LSU team with a good one-two punch at running back in Michael Ford and Spencer Ware.
Cox said it was hard having to sit out the first game, and he’s eager to get caught up.
“He’s still got a ways to go to get better,” Mullen said. “Because we expect a lot out of him, but he did some good things, did some things we’ve got to get cleaned up.”
Thumbs up from Broomfield
Broomfield, State’s junior cornerback, was wearing a cast on his right hand Monday. He said it was because of a sprained thumb he suffered during the Auburn game.
Broomfield said he’ll play Thursday, and he’s hoping the injury can work to his advantage a little bit.
“Both of my hands are working. I’ll be good to go,” he said. “Maybe they’ll throw my way a little bit more (if) they see a cast over there. It’ll work in my favor.”
Broomfield has nine career interceptions, three of them returned for touchdowns. He doesn’t have a pick yet this season but has two break-ups and six tackles.