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September 9, 2017

Skip Holtz

Ruston, Louisiana

Mississippi State - 57, Louisiana Tech - 21

Q. Coach, difficult night tonight, but you still went out and talked to the student body that stayed.
SKIP HOLTZ: How awesome is that? We come out here and absolutely turn the ball over, make some really foolish mistakes tonight and yet to see the students stayed, I was appreciative to them for staying and the support we've gotten from this crowd for this football team.

Like I said, it was a frustrating night for sure. We lost 122 yards into the total yards on the night. If we don't have minus 95 on a snap when we get down there. We get down there another time, turn the ball over, fumble, they score with it. We get outgained by 140 yards tonight and lose 120, 90-some of them on that play.

I thought our players competed. I was encouraged with the way we ran the ball, and I thought our offensive line did a really nice job in having two seniors like Jarred Craft and Boston Scott.

I thought they were excellent tonight. I hate the mistakes that we made. The things we did -- we shoot ourselves in the foot, which makes it very difficult to beat a very talented SEC team like Mississippi State with what they did. Just proud of the way our players competed, but certainly I've got to do a better job as a head coach, and we've got to do a better job protecting the football.

Q. I want to ask you a question about a play that happened early in the game, because I was in agreement with you. I thought one of the point of emphasis in college football this year was no leaping. It appeared to me they leaped over to block the extra point.
SKIP HOLTZ: Yeah, it was -- I thought the leap -- I didn't see it clear enough, but I thought that was more of a punt block. The one on the field goal, I thought they went through our center, and there is a heightened rule this year that we're not going to allow you to hit the center, and we're going to protect him. But it appeared when I watched it, the center was the one that got knocked back. It's pretty hard to block when you have your head between your legs, and you're throwing the ball back there for the snap.

They didn't see it that way. I thought the officials did a really good job tonight. I certainly can't sit here and blame the officials for what happened tonight.

Like I said, I thought we made mistakes. We have nobody to blame but ourselves for the amount of turnovers we had, and then just some of the mistakes we made. I thought our defense competed. I thought we ran the ball, but we didn't played well on the perimeter in throwing and catching the ball.

Q. Final question, Coach. You opened up with an FCS opponent, and then you have an SEC opponent. So now you're looking at the Conference USA opener. So there are a lot of questions about your team, but it is conference play and this team will be ready.
SKIP HOLTZ: There are a lot of questions about this team. We talked about feast or famine, and I thought we saw some of the goods tonight and saw some of the bads tonight. I keep talking about I don't know what to expect. I've got some seasoned, experienced players that I really feel good about, and I've got a lot of guys that have played in their second college football game tonight.

We gotta get some things cleaned up. We're going to play the Conference USA champions from a year ago. We had an opportunity to play 'em twice last year. We won at home, we lost up there. We've got to go on the road in this series. We've been two of the better teams in the league when you look at the win/loss records in Conference USA, but the home team has held serve.

We certainly have to use this as a learning experience. We gotta get better, and we've gotta eliminate some of the mistakes to give ourselves a chance to win for some of the good things we're doing on both sides of the ball.

Q. Appreciate your time, Coach.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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