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September 9, 2006Tray Rutland made his first career start against the number four ranked Auburn Tigers, but it was the same song different verse for the Bulldog offense. Mississippi State showed a pulse on offense early in the game; however, they could never put enough plays together to cross the goal line.
Auburn came into the game with a speedy defense known for shutting people down, but the speed and athletes that they put on the field did not surprise Rutland.
"It was what I expected, we just didn't come threw all the way as a complete offense. We got better today; we had a great week of practice. We showed a lot more confidence than we showed last week. We just had some plays that we missed," Rutland commented.
Getting acclimated to SEC competition is always the toughest thing for a freshman, especially for quarterback. Mistakes seem to come more than success.
"It's tough, that's the tough thing about it. We practice hard against our defense and move the ball at times against them, and then we cannot seem to get it going enough in a game to score. At the end of the game we haven't had anything to show for it," he said.
As the Bulldogs struggled to move the ball against a stingy Auburn defense, Rutland feels like his development is coming slowly but still seems room for improvement.
"I feel like I've gotten better. I had the mindset today that I wasn't going to try to do anything out of the ordinary, I was just going to play my game and try to help my offense put up some points to give us a chance to win.
"Unfortunately, it did not work out that way, but we will continue to work and try to get better as an offense. Hopefully, we will make the plays we didn't make today next time," he explained.
As the Auburn defense was teeing off against the youngster, he thinks his mistakes are only because of his inexperience.
"That were just what I expected. They were tough; we did not get anything easy. They came up with some big plays at the right time and we did not make our plays. On the interception my first read was Keon Humphries on a post route, but I seen Tony Burks on a dig coming underneath.
"I did not see the guy that picked me off; I still do not know who it is. He came from out of nowhere, I do not know if he was in the box or already in coverage. I will continue to get better and work through your mistakes. That is all I can do. I got to keep studying the film and maybe next time I will see that guy or make a better decision," he commented.
Speculation surrounded the play of freshman running back, Anthony Dixon because of a broken pinky early in the week, but Rutland had a feeling his freshman running back would gut it out.
"I knew Anthony Dixon was going to play. He went through practice yesterday, and I threw him a couple of balls. Coach Croom wanted me to put some heat on his throws to see how he was going to hold up. I did that, he caught the ball well, he took the hand offs well, and came out today and did a good job," he said.
Mississippi State deals with the psychological problems of having an inept offense, Rutland will not let his team get down and will continue to put his faith in his coaches and teammates.
"Even though we lost the confidence hasn't wavered one bit. We still have confidence in each other and the coaches to make the right decisions and put us in the right positions to help us win. Nobody is pushing the panic button yet and nobody is rattled. We are all keeping our composure. We still have confidence in our offense. Mississippi State Bulldogs are a family. We are a family from the defensive side of the ball to special teams to the offense. We are all brothers and the coaches are our fathers, if someone is down somebody else on the team will pick them up," Rutland explained.