At the 119th Egg Bowl meeting of two rival teams in the state, the Ole Miss Rebels battled through a rainy Thanksgiving night at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium to fall 22-24 in a close bout to the Mississippi State Bulldogs.
The Rebel defense gave Ole Miss (8-4, 4-4) multiple momentum and forced three fumbles to turnovers against the Mississippi State (8-4, 4-4) offense. Troy Brown (14), Otis Reese (11) and Tysheem Johnson (10) all walked away with double-digit tackles for the night — Brown and Reese setting season-bests. The three defensemen contributed to Ole Miss’s 85 tackles of the night — the most tackles the Rebels have recorded in a game this season.
Ole Miss first teeed off with a 32-yard field goal Jonathan Cruz to make it a 3-0 game at 12-16 in the opening quarter. Mississippi State reacted quickly, driving down the field in 10 games before Jo’quavious Marks completed the drive that went through the middle into the end zone to rebound the game in the Bulldogs’ favor.
After a blistering drive that saw Ole Miss gain 58 yards on the field, the Bulldogs held the Rebels in the red zone and forced them to settle for a 33-yard field goal from Cruz at 1:33 in the first quarter admit.
Another defensive stop from Ole Miss, including a forced fumble past a sack Khari Coleman for a 22-yard loss, forced the Bulldogs to a punt.
The drive that followed took the Ole Miss offensive to the Mississippi State 39-yard line. The Rebels were expecting a 49-yard field goal attempt from Cruz, which Cruz finished dead center for Ole Miss to retake the 9-7 lead in the second quarter. The successful field goal was Cruz’s 13th field goal of the season – the most field goals he has scored in his career.
The state’s ride began at 7:23 in the second quarter. It wasn’t long for the Bulldogs when Will Rogers’ pass was picked up by Reese at the Ole Miss 36-yard line for the Rebels to take over.
The drive was highlighted by running play with a 17-yard rush-by Quinshon Judkins to get the Rebels into the 10. On a fourth down conversion at the three yard line, a trick play was executed too perfectly with a completed pass JJ Pegues in the end zone to give Ole Miss the first touchdown of the night.
With little time left on the clock at halftime, Mississippi State quickly and efficiently began making its way through the field. At the Ole Miss 19, Rogers lideatrick found Griffin in the end zone to complete the 75-yard drive to end the halftime in a 16-14 score in the Rebels’ favour.
The rain set in at the start of the second half and caused both teams to make big defensive stops. Among them was one KD Hill Sack for a 14-yard loss and a Cedric Johnson Stripe sack that led to Ole Miss’s recovery.
After a 78-yard drive, Mississippi State converted a 34-yard field goal to regain the 17-16 lead in the fourth quarter with 13:46 in the game.
After another defensive stop, the Bulldogs connected with a 22-yard touchdown pass from Rogers to Rara Thomas to give Mississippi State an eight-point lead, 24-16.
After an Ole Miss fumble was recovered by Mississippi State, the Bulldogs marched to the 1-yard line, but the Rebels forced their third fumble of the night to get the ball back with 4:48 in play.
In the final minutes, Ole Miss marched down 99 yards and finished with a 23-yard pass Dayton Wade into the end zone for a touchdown that kept the Rebels two points from equalization. Ole Miss opted for two but ultimately failed to convert, holding off the Rebels 22-24.
A failed onside kick was enough to give Mississippi State the win for the 119th Egg Bowl matchup.
The Rebels are now awaiting a postseason game and a goal. The start date and time will be determined at a later date.