Moorhead takes sole responsibility for MSU's poor performance

Mississippi State head football coach Joe Moorhead

Staff Writer

The buck stops with Joe Moorhead.

So said the Mississippi State head coach on Monday at his weekly press conference in the aftermath of Saturday night’s 28-7 loss at Kentucky.

The Bulldogs suffered their first loss of the season to the Wildcats over the weekend and it was, in multiple ways, an ugly showing for State. MSU was penalized 16 times for 139 yards. Kentucky shut down the Mississippi State running game. Very little went right for the Bulldogs.

Moorhead didn’t pass blame on Monday though. He instead shouldered it all.

“Ultimately, I point the thumb at myself first and I’m not going to make any excuses,” Moorhead said. “I’m accountable for every facet of this football program and I take full responsibility for the loss. That’s on me. We’re going to get it right.”

Moorhead displayed arguably more fire and determination on Monday than he has since his hire following last season. While Kentucky’s upset win on Saturday sent shockwaves though Starkville, Moorhead indicated the Bulldogs are focused on moving ahead.

“Ultimately, I’m singlehandedly responsible for elevating the expectation level amongst our players, amongst our program and amongst our fans by using the term championship standard,” Moorhead said. “I’m fine with that. I’m not going to apologize. I’m not going to backtrack. I’m not going to waffle for one second or one minute. I knew realistically that wasn’t going to happen overnight, but our coaching staff didn’t become dumb overnight and our players didn’t become bad overnight.

“One game isn’t going to define this team and we’re going to get this thing back right.”

MSU has an interesting task ahead as it looks to get back on the winning track. Florida, led by former Mississippi State head coach Dan Mullen, awaits the Bulldogs at 5 p.m. on Saturday. It’s Moorhead’s hope that the Bulldogs have learned lessons from the Kentucky loss and are ready to get their season back on an upward swing.

“We told the team we’re going to watch the (Kentucky) film, we’re going to learn from the film and we’re going to forget about the film,” Moorhead said. “Then we’re turning the page and moving on to Florida.

“We need to handle prosperity – which we’ve done very well in our three wins. Now we need to handle adversity, which we’re forced to confront with this one loss. We can’t let the same game beat us twice. We can’t let the ramifications or collateral damage of this Kentucky game affect us in the Florida game or moving forward.”

Injury update

One Bulldog is out for the year, one will miss at least another week and three are listed as day-to-day.

Moorhead noted on Monday that tight end Justin Johnson is day-to-day with a lower body ailment. So, too, is cornerback Tyler Williams. Linebacker Sh’Mar Kilby-Lane is day-to-day with a lower body injury.

Meanwhile cornerback Jamal Peters will miss at least another game. Peters is out indefinitely following a lower body injury he suffered in the Louisiana game on September 15.

Defensive end Marquiss Spencer is now out for the season. He is slated to have surgery on an upper body injury.

Auburn game time

Mississippi State’s home game against Auburn on October 6 is set for a nighttime kickoff.

The Southeastern Conference announced Monday that MSU and Auburn will begin at either 6 p.m. or 6:30 p.m. The official start time will be announced after games this weekend.

If the MSU-Auburn tilt kicks at 6 p.m., it’ll be televised by ESPN. If it starts at 6:30 p.m., it’ll be televised by either ESPN2 or SEC Network.