Mississippi State quarterback Will Rogers shared an emotional message in reference to the late Mike Leach following the Bulldogs' 19-10 ReliaQuest Bowl victory over Illinois on Monday, per SportsCenter.
“It's been tough,” Rogers said in response to navigating through the season amid Leach's passing. “Coach (Mike Leach) and I were so close. To lose a coach like that, to lose a friend like that, it hurt me for a really long time. It will continue to hurt. To be able to come out here with this group of guys, my brothers, I can't say enough about this team and this university.”
Will Rogers continued by stating that he wanted to win the game for Mike Leach.
“I definitely wanted to win this game for coach. I think we all did. If we came out here and really lost the game I don't think coach would have been too happy with us. It says a lot about our team, it says a lot about these individuals and coaches that were able to stick together and come out with a win. 9 wins.”
Mississippi State football honored Leach prior to the game. Although it was a touching tribute, Leach would have certainly been most excited about the Bulldogs earning the win on Monday.
Will Rogers struggled in the game, going just 29-44 through the air with 1 passing touchdown and 2 interceptions. But the Mississippi State defense stepped up and contained Illinois in the hard-fought win.
Mike Leach's memory will continue to live on at Mississippi State.