Who would have blamed Mississippi State coach Sylvester Croom if he had woken up early Sunday morning wondering whether or not Saturday had all been one bad dream.
Unfortunately for Croom, the nightmare of Mississippi State's 9-7 loss to Division I-AA Maine proved to be all too real.
"After reviewing the tape, nothing changed," Croom said. "We turned the ball over in the red zone again on Sunday. The score and the results were exactly the same as they were on Saturday."
That same tape, however, showed some things that didn't show up on the scoreboard or the stat sheet. LSU coach Nick Saban, whose 13th-ranked Tigers host the Bulldogs (1-2, 0-2 SEC) on Saturday, said he saw plenty of positives from Croom's team.
"I think they played their best football game of the year last week," Saban said.
"They turned the ball over three times inside the 20 (yard line) and missed a field goal from about the 20-yard line. But they played with more consistency on both sides of the ball, played the best defense of the year and I think they moved the ball most effectively.
"I think that Sylvester Croom is doing an outstanding job there. The team is playing hard, they play aggressive, they play with a lot of discipline. Their players are doing a good job, which is a sign to me that their coaching staff is doing a great job and it's because of his leadership.
"I think he has done a fantastic job, inheriting what is probably a pretty tough situation, and he is doing a good job of improving that situation."
While those are kind words from Saban, they won't do much to assuage Croom's disappointment this week or boost his team's fragile confidence.
"Do we have the strength to stay together as a football team?" Croom said. "Will we point fingers at one another? Will we stay together? Will we try to be a better football team?
"We've been through so much. What they've invested in it, it's tough to turn back around. We just have to continue to press forward. We'll get through this. So yes, I think they're respond positively."
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