STARKVILLE, Miss. — One year after Mississippi State crushed Kansas State 31-10 in Manhattan, the Wildcats returned the favor Saturday at Davis Wade Stadium, leaving with a 31-24 victory.
Afterward, Mississippi State head coach Joe Moorhead and players met with media members.
A sampling of his quotes are below, provided by Mississippi State's sports information department.
JOE MOORHEAD, MISSISSIPPI STATE HEAD COACH
"First off, (Kansas State head) Coach (Chris) Klieman and his staff, that's a good football team. They were well prepared, and they did what we expected they were going to do, getting two backs, two tight ends and run the ball on you (with) a lot of play action. Defensively, I thought they did a good job trying to stop the run and keeping that thing contained. They did a good job mixing the looks up on the back side, and obviously made some key special teams plays. When you look at the construct of the game, we outgained them (in yardage) 352 to 269. The turnovers were a push. We won third down. Won the red zone. We're going to look back and see probably three or four plays (in) each phase, offense, defense and special teams, where we'll have to make sure we're making the right calls as a coaching staff. We make a good call when we don't question the players' effort, but we have to make sure we're executing the plays at critical junctions of the games. Certainly disappointed in the loss. We had some opportunities there in the second half to put the thing away, and we weren't able to do it. We have to come in tomorrow, crack the film, have a short memory and get ready to move on to our SEC opener."
On special teams plays during the game ...
"There on the kickoff return, that was certainly a huge momentum changer. We made a play with the fumble that we got and made a big field goal there in the second half. There were certainly too many penalties. In the coverage game and the return game, we've got to make sure we're getting guys who are running down the field and covering and tackling and getting guys down on the ground. More than anything, I think the most important aspect of that was some of those penalties that were knocking us (backward). We're flipping field position, and it was knocking us back and making it a very long field to drive."
On quarterback Garrett Shrader's fourth-down helicopter spin ...
"I think Garrett played very hard. He did excellent in the run game and there's certainly things in the pass game that he needs to clean up. Particularly in the fourth-down area. We have to put the ball in the air more. ... (But) he bounced up and he was fine. I was more upset that he didn't make the yardage than anything."
On the momentum K-State gained after Malik Knowles' 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown ...
"It tied it up, and I think the defense made some good adjustments at halftime. It's just that you go from being seven (points) up to tied, the momentum goes back the other way. You (have to) get them on the ground there. I think our defense is playing well. We had the opportunity to flip field position. They kicked off and I think we had a penalty on the return which backed us up back to shadow of our goal post. It's two back-to-back special team plays that hurt us."
On how different K-State is this season compared to the team he faced in 2018 ...
"I think they're probably different offensively from a schematic standpoint. Last year they were a lot of 11, some 10 looks. They were primarily two backs and two tight ends today, so a little bit of shift and scheme there. Defensively, coverages were different, but the style of play was the same. Kansas State has always been traditionally solid on special teams."