ReliaQuest Bowl: Mississippi State vs. Illinois
After the sudden and tragic passing of Mississippi State Head Football Coach Mike Leach, it didn’t take very long for the Bulldogs to commit to going forward with their ReliaQuest Bowl game against Illinois in honor of The Pirate.
Today, MSU swinging its collective sword, just 20 days after his death.
Zach Arnett making his head coaching debut.
All that pressure for the Bulldogs to honor their fallen leader and they do it with a 19-10 victory over Illinois. Coach Arnett said, “I think we did exactly what has been preached for the last three years in this program by Coach Leach, obviously have a ‘play the next play’ mentality, never look at the scoreboard, compete as hard as you can on every single individual play and things will take care of themselves, and obviously, it kind of turned into that kind of game.”
QB Will Rogers said, “Everybody on this team wanted to win, wanted to win really bad for Coach Leach, and like I said, it wasn’t pretty. It wasn’t how we drew it up at times, man. But to be able to come out here and beat a really good team that has played some really good football this year and to end the season with nine wins is huge.”
Jett Johnson said, “Very happy, he would’ve been shocked that Will Rogers caught a pass, and he would be swinging his sword for sure. It’s a great win for Coach Leach, and a great start to the Arnett era.”
Mississippi State ends the year with three straight wins at 9-4 overall.