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Lee's touchdown provides needed cushion


Danny P Smith



NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Tyson Lee picked a good time to score the second rushing touchdown of his Mississippi State career. 


With the Bulldogs clinging to a 9-3 lead late in the fourth quarter, the senior quarterback from Columbus broke loose on a keeper and scored from 22 yards. 


The run on fourth-and-1 provided the finishing touches on MSU''s 15-3 victory against Vanderbilt on Saturday night. 


Lee had one message for his offensive teammates before running the play. 


"I told them we worked hard in the offseason and it comes down to this play," Lee said. "I made a lot of bad reads, but that was one where I made the right read." 


Sophomore quarterback Chris Relf started the series, but coach Dan Mullen called a timeout and switched quarterbacks prior to the fourth-down play. The adjustment caused Vanderbilt to call a timeout. 


"A lot of it was by play call and what we were going to do," Mullen said of the change. "The wind kicked up there right when we sent (the offense) back out (after the timeout) and we''ve hit a couple of field goals at this point. Our (offense) wanted to go for it and wanted to take the responsibility that they were going to keep fighting, and they did." 


Lee took the handoff, faked to tailback Anthony Dixon, and a huge hole opened up the middle. He credited the offensive line and tight end Marcus Green for their blocks to spring him and Dixon for being an effective decoy. 


Dixon took quite a shot on the play, but still looked up to see Lee score. 


"Anthony took one for the team," Lee said. "He was running hard all night, and I think they were keying on him and it allowed me to have an open gap." 


Dixon rushed for 123 yards on 21 carries. He is third on the school''s all-time rushing list with 2,818 yards. It was his 10th career 100-yard game. 


Mullen said Dixon''s ability to find positive yards benefited the offense. 


"A lot of the focus was on Anthony," Mullen said. "If the backs run hard, that''s going to open up some of those plays for the quarterbacks." 


Mullen was happy to see Lee take advantage of the situation, especially after he took a sack at the end of the first half. 


The circumstances that led to the sack didn''t please Mullen and he said some things to Lee as they headed off the field for halftime. 


"I went out to coach him," Mullen said. "I''ve got to do a better job of putting him in situations to maybe throw the ball away so we get a chance to kick a field goal. We''re going to be continually coaching. That''s not a quarterback''s fault. That''s a coaches fault right there. I ran out on the field to go coach him up." 




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