Watching the film of Saturday’s victory only verified what Mississippi State head coach Dan Mullen already knew about his starting quarterback.
He knew he had a first-hand viewing of Chris Relf’s best game in a Mississippi State uniform.
“I think that was Chris’ best game that he’s had,” Mullen said Sunday during his weekly media teleconference. “Hopefully that will give him some confidence going forward and give him some things to really look at for his game and how to improve as a manager of the offense.”
Mississippi State officials noticed Sunday morning the first touchdown play (13-yarder to Vick Ballard) was ruled on the field as a forward pass and therefore a lot of stats changed from Saturday’s contest.
Also a team fumble on a bad snap in third quarter was credited as a 12-yard loss to Relf. But should have been a team rush.
Due to the numbers change, Relf finished officially 9-of-14 for 148 yards and two touchdowns in the passing game along with 109 yards on the ground on 20 carries. The final totals make Relf the first MSU player to rush and pass for 100-plus yards in the same game since Wayne Madkin in 2000.
State’s second-year head coach strongly stated Sunday that the two-quarterback system won’t be leaving the gameplan evening and even admitted after the game Saturday he was looking for a positive opportunity to put redshirt freshman Tyler Russell in the game.
“Our mindset going into the game doesn’t change,” Mullen said Sunday. “A lot of it depends on practice. After a performance like that, the way (Relf) responded to his mistakes really I thought was encouraging.”
Mullen raved about the 10-play, 93-yard drive in the fourth quarter that gave State a commanding 17-6 advantage after a 33-yard touchdown pass from Relf that found the hands of sophomore wide receiver Arceto Clark.
“That was a huge drive for us,” Mullen said. “I walked in the huddle and told those guys ‘this is a drive that can define you right now’. That was probably the best drive we’ve had since I’ve been head coach here.”
The difference between last week at LSU and Saturday night at Davis-Wade Stadium was an obvious throw to Clark that looked similar to the interception in the first quarter at LSU.
“I prepared myself to make that throw again and led Arceto like I should have last week,” Relf said. “I’ve realized now if I’m more prepared to play and know what that means then I’ll play well.”
Green and Henderson both still day-to-day
Mullen said both of his injured tight ends (junior Marcus Green and Brandon Henderson) still “had some swelling” in their knees after suffering injuries on back-to-back weeks and kept them out of Saturday night’s Georgia game.
“We were hoping they’d be good to go and they’ve been day-to-day in what they can do and have been running in practice but just didn’t think they’d be ready to play in the game at the end of the week,” Mullen said.
State did not get a reception from a tight end in the 24-12 victory over Georgia but Kendrick Cook saw a lot of action in during MSU’s 44 running attempts throughout Saturday evening.
Mullen was unsure about the status of senior defensive tackle Fletcher Cox as he had not come to the facility yet for medical evaluation and treatment. Cox was last scene Saturday night walking to the locker room with a member of the MSU training staff after being the recipient of a vicious chop block by a Georgia offensive lineman that cut his evening short. Mullen would only say the defensive tackle’s status will be monitored throughout this week's practice.
State receives season-high number of votes in coaches’ poll
Mississippi State received a season-high seven votes in the week five version of the USA Today coaches’ poll that was released Sunday morning.
The coaches’ poll is part of the BCS formula used to determine its national champion.
Six Southeastern Conference teams (Alabama, Florida, Louisiana State, Arkansas, Auburn and South Carolina) were a part of the new poll, which tied the Big Ten Conference for the most of any league. Defending national champion Alabama got 57 of 59 possible first place votes after its come-from-behind victory at Arkansas Saturday with the other two votes going to Ohio State, which will start No. 2 in the newspaper’s ranking.
The two teams that have wins against MSU (LSU and Auburn) are not only a combined 8-0 but ranked ranked 10th and 11th respectively.
Mullen is among the 59 head coaches in the voting process in 2010.
The Bulldogs did not receive any votes in the latest Associated Press Top 25 poll that was released Sunday morning.