Mississippi State announced a few hours before kickoff Saturday that junior tight end Marcus Green did not make the trip with the team for the first road game of the season.
Green is still recovering from an injury to his right knee that kept him out of the second half of MSU’s 17-14 home loss to Auburn a little more than a week ago.
Mullen didn’t even bother to list any players on his weekly injury report as ‘probable’ and after listing Green as the starting tight end on the depth chart, confidently stated Monday during his media gathering that he expected Green to be able to play without any physical limitations. This is after the second-year Bulldogs head coach said Green was “good to go” after receiving the results of a weekend MRI scan.
However, Green was not made available to the media after Monday’s practice due to medical treatment being scheduled immediately afterwards. MSU officials said Green’s participation in the first workout of the week was limited.
Green was seen leaving the Bryan Building last week and after practice this week with a large wrap-around brace protector that goes from his quad down to his ankle.
The junior tight end caught 27 passes for 306 yards and three touchdowns last year and was one of the most highly-recruited prospects in Mississippi three years ago out of Kemper County High in Scooba.
Senior Brandon Henderson started in Green’s place and failed to catch a pass. Backup tight end Kendrick Cook caught the only pass by a non-wide receiver all game long.
Jefferson answers the critics
Many of the 92,558 fans that entered Tiger Stadium had to be wondering not how well LSU starting quarterback Jordan Jefferson would play but for how long would he be in the game?
Jefferson was the target of many in the purple and gold faithful after completing only 8-of-20 for 96 yards and an interception against Vanderbilt last week and then his head coach left open the idea of giving backup Jarrett Lee more snaps.
“We're going to continue to evaluate our quarterback situation, and frankly we're going to expect more out of the position,” LSU head coach Les Miles said.
The Tigers (4-0, 2-0 in Southeastern Conference) got more and then some Saturday night as the 6-foot-5, 224-pound signal caller finished with 137 total yards (97 passing, 40 rushing) and a 16-yard rushing score.
“I felt like the quarterback play was better and felt like it will continue to be better,” Miles said after the game.
Jefferson had the same amount of completions early in the third quarter against the Bulldogs that he had the whole game against Vanderbilt.
“He can run and pass,” MSU senior linebacker K.J. Wright said. “We knew that coming into the game. Again we just didn’t execute.”
Mullen says Relf’s injury not serious; should play next week
Mississippi State junior quarterback Chris Relf did not return to the game after being knocked out on a smashing hit by LSU safety Karnell Hatcher.
On the first drive of the second half, Relf was scrambling for a first down before Hatcher made contact with the Bulldogs quarterback near the upper body but referees did not throw a flag for a personal foul hit to the head which Mullen was arguing for on the sidelines.
“He hit in the face helmet to helmet (and) Chris got a little woozy and came off the field,” Mullen said. “I asked (the official) if it was helmet to helmet and he said absolutely not.”
Relf would finish the game 5-for-8 for 35 yards passing and the two first-half interceptions along with 46 yards rushing. Mississippi State’s starting quarterback for the first four weeks of the season did not meet with the media after Saturday’s game.
“We’ll get Chris checked out but they said he was fine to go back in,” Mullen said. “There’s no reason to risk it right there but they expect him to be ready to go next week.”
From that moment on, the MSU offensive coaches used Saturday night as a learning experience for redshirt freshman Tyler Russell.
In an emergency situation, Russell’s first two play calls were passes which he completed but the former Parade All-American out of Meridian High School finished with three interceptions.
“I knew sometime during the game I was going to play, I just didn’t know when,” Russell said.