OXFORD – The state of Mississippi wasn’t far away.
After catching a fumble at Ole Miss’ 30, the Bulldogs found themselves with first-and-goal at the Rebels 1. In the final minutes of the game, MSU had a chance to turn their eight-point lead into a two-touchdown advantage that practically salts away a win in the annual Egg Bowl rivalry game.
The Bulldogs did it anyway, but in their typical way, they couldn’t take it easy.
Quarterback Will Rogers coughed up the football at a keeper, and Ole Miss drove 98 yards for a 1:25 touchdown to play.
But defensive tackle Randy Charlton smashed away a scoop pass on the Rebels’ tying two-point conversion attempt, and MSU’s clock ticked down from there.
As tough as they made it Thursday night, the Bulldogs (8-4, 4-4 Southeastern Conference) still closed the regular season book with a win in the 119th Egg Bowl in Oxford. MSU defeated No. 20 Ole Miss (8-4, 4-4 SEC) 24-22 at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium.
After trailing 16-7 late in the second quarter, the Bulldogs scored just before half-time and scored the go-ahead field goal early in the fourth. They added another touchdown to lead by eight points and were close to making it a two-touchdown game.
But another sloppy sequence gave Ole Miss one last chance.
Rogers fumbled a play off the Rebels 1-yard line and handed the ball to Ole Miss with 4:48 to walk and drive 98 yards.
The Rebels converted two fourth downs before Jaxson Dart found Dayton Wade on a 23-yard touchdown pass.
But Charlton deflected Dart’s scoop pass to Jonathan Mingo, and MSU grabbed an onside kick to seal the win.
Mississippi finally took the lead on a 13-play, 78-yard drive that started at their own 6-yard line. Massimo Biscardi made a 34-yard field goal to give MSU a 17-16 lead.
The Bulldogs extended their lead when Rogers hit a wide-open Rara Thomas for a 22-yard touchdown pass with 7:58 to play.
Theo DeRosa covers Mississippi State sports for The Dispatch. Follow him on Twitter at @Theo_DeRosa.
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