Share “No. 23 Mississippi St. takes positives...”

No. 23 Mississippi St. takes positives from win

Associated Press Modified: September 16, 2012 at 3:01 pm •  Published: September 16, 2012

Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen was in a surprisingly good mood after his defense gave up 572 total yards against Troy.

It's a lot easier to be pleasant after a win.

The Bulldogs certainly didn't have their best performance in a 30-24 road victory over the Trojans on Saturday. But it was good enough to push Mississippi State (3-0, 1-0 Southeastern Conference) into The Associated Press college football poll for the first time this season.

"Both our staff and our players are a little disappointed with our performance," Mullen said on Sunday. "But to be disappointed and still come out with a win is a good thing with our program."

It's the first 3-0 start for the Bulldogs since 1999. In his fourth season at Mississippi State, Mullen has built a consistently competitive team. The Bulldogs have been ranked for at least part of the last three seasons.

But the narrow victory over Troy exposed some of the team's weaknesses — especially on defense. There will be plenty to fix as Mississippi State prepares to host FCS-level South Alabama on Saturday at Davis Wade Stadium.

Mullen said he was pleased to sense a healthy mix of happiness and disappointment after Saturday's gritty effort. He said the next few days in practice will be important as he gauges the team's demeanor.

"I want to see how we come back — how we respond," Mullen said. "I want to look in their faces. I have a good feeling with our guys. They're not going to be very pleased with their performance. There are some coaching things to fix. Some of it is execution on our guys. We had a bunch of missed tackles."

Continue reading this story on the...