Darius Slay has two interceptions at Mississippi State. He also has two pick-sixes.
And the senior cornerback has only started one game.
But, it looks he will start at least 11 more before his college career is over. I wouldn’t guess he’ll continue returning 100 percent of his interceptions for touchdowns, though I certainly won’t be surprised if his six points against Jackson State on Saturday weren’t his last ones ever for the Maroon and White.
Slay is always trying to get into the endzone.
“That’s my intent when I catch the ball,” Slay said. “Trying to score for the defense. That’s our main goal, is create turnovers and make it easy on the offense.”
He hasn’t given it a go at MSU, but Slay was an expert kick and punt returner in high school and junior college, something he credits for his aptitude at doing more than just catching wayward passes.
Slay might as well be returning a punt when he finds himself with most of the field in front of him and the ball in his hands.
“When I catch it, I’m like, ‘I gotta score. I gotta help the team.’ I don’t think of just running out of bounds,” Slay said. “I want to put points on the board for the defense and the offense.”
Of course, while Slay had a good day against JSU, he conceded that his secondary and defense as a whole wasn’t as crisp as he would like.
On several occasions, Tiger receivers managed to get open in the middle of the field, though a few drops prevented the Bulldogs from suffering too much damage.
While he noticed the issue, Slay doesn’t seem concerned. Just like receiver Jameon Lewis said about the offense, Slay hinted his defense was saving a thing or two for Auburn and keeping it pretty vanilla.
“We didn’t show too much,” he said. “Just playing. We did what the coach called and played our base defense.”
So, can we expect to see new things against Auburn on Saturday?
“Totally different,“ Slay said. “Our mindset has changed.”
Might Slay get another touchdown this weekend? Well, maybe. Though he assures us he knows how to balance aiming for an interception and making sure the receiver doesn’t catch the pass.
But if he’s in position?
“I’m going to get the ball,” Slay said.