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Mississippi State football coach Dan Mullen knows the importance of picking up a Southeastern Conference win on the road.
That's what made Saturday night's 28-16 decision over Kentucky so rewarding.
The Bulldogs got back to the .500 mark overall at 4-4 and also picked up their first league victory.
"It's great to get a win especially on the road in the SEC where it's tough to get road wins," said Mullen during his Sunday teleconference. "Even though we have a lot of things we can improve on in that game, especially turnovers and third-down defense, our guys played well and made plays when we needed to."
MSU turned the ball over twice against the Wildcats, but the defense held them to only six points instead of the 14 like they gave up earlier this season against Georgia.Â
"Obviously turnovers are something we want to get fixed," said Mullen. "We made mistakes with the turnovers, but we did improve our defensive side of the ball."
Mullen decided on the plane ride to Lexington that he would start Tyler Russell and then bring in Chris Relf on the second drive. An idea that would prove successful for State, and the Bulldog receivers got to reap some of the benefits as well as eight of them caught passes.
"We played a lot of players," said Mullen. "We did it just to keep guys fresh and we feel good about some of the depth at the receiver position and we get more balance when we do that."
Russell and Relf combined for 264 passing yards.
"It was them taking what the defense gave them," said Mullen. "I don't think they tried to force the ball much at all and took what they were giving us and did a nice job of dispersing the ball."
Even though the Bulldogs got the win, Mullen feels they have plenty of things to work on this week, but it will be a little happier situation.
"When you win, you still have some of the same problems, but you have a smile on your face this week when you correct things this week," said Mullen.
The win is a confidence booster for MSU, but Mullen doesn't feel like the Bulldogs played better than they have all year.
"I don't think we played a lot better than we did in some other games," said Mullen. "We just made some bigger plays when we needed to than the other games."
There are several positives for the Bulldogs to take away from their first conference win, but one that is always greater than most is lack of injuries.
"We have bumps and bruises as you always do in an SEC game," said Mullen. "I talked to our trainers and there's nothing that should cause anybody to miss a game."