Oh-November: MSU enters typically tough month

By Brad Locke/NEMS Daily Journal

STARKVILLE – As No. 17 Mississippi State tries to move past a blowout loss to Alabama, it’s faced with a month that’s not been too kind to head coach Dan Mullen.
The Bulldogs (7-1, 3-1 SEC) are 4-6 in the month of November under Mullen, with three wins against Ole Miss and one against UT-Martin. November has typically been the toughest part of MSU’s schedule, and that’s the case again this fall.
No. 16 Texas A&M (6-2, 3-2) visits on Saturday, and after that State plays at LSU, is home for Arkansas, and visits Ole Miss to wrap up the regular season.
“Well, you always define yourself in November as a team, of what you’re going to do and how you’re going to perform to close out the season,” Mullen said Monday. “We’ve put ourselves in great position during the month of November.
“Now this is what separates a good season from a great season and a great season from a championship season, how you perform in the month of November.”
forget alabama
A lot of critics will want to define MSU based on its 38-7 loss to No. 1 Alabama. The Bulldogs got burned several times on defense, especially early in the game, but defensive coordinator Chris Wilson doesn’t believe one poor outing defines his unit or the team as a whole.
“I don’t know how much we listen to critics,” Wilson said. “I know some of our kids do, and I just know that we’re 7-1, we’re second right now in the (Western Division), and we’ve got a chance to be 8-1 if we go out and play at a higher level and execute at a higher level.”
For MSU to finish strong, it has to put Alabama behind it. The Bulldogs met Monday and watched the game film, reviewing positives and negatives.
“I believe someone gave us a stat, we hadn’t lost a game in 342 days,” Wilson said. “Nine straight games you’ve had a chance to win and not feel that issue. It makes you really go back and evaluate everything that you’re doing from a coaching standpoint, a teaching standpoint, a player standpoint.
“And we’ve just got to be critical and fix the things we know we can fix.”
brad.locke@journalinc.com