Rapid Reaction: Mississippi State wins Egg Bowl on Ole Miss missed extra point; earns postsesason berth
The “chippiness” of the Egg Bowl rival was a big storyline heading into Thursday’s rivalry clash in Starkville. Everyone was supposed to be on their best behavior. In the end, a taunting penalty helped decide the game.
Ole Miss WR Elijah Moore “did the DK Metcalf” lifting his leg like a dog after catching a touchdown with only 0:04 left on the clock which cut the score to 21-20. Moore was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct, which resulted in the Rebels needing a long extra point to tie. Luke Logan’s kick went wide, and MSU held on 21-20 to win the Egg Bowl and get to six wins for the 2019 season (gaining postseason eligibility). Ole Miss falls to 4-8.
Kylin Hill led the Mississippi State ground attack (27 carries, 132 yards), but it was RB Nick Gibson who gave the Bulldogs an early 7-0 lead on a 27-yard run in the first quarter. Hill did not record a rushing touchdown, but his hard running helped set up two rushing scores for freshman QB Garrett Shrader. It was revealed in warmups that grad transfer Tommy Stevens would not be playing and Shrader would get the start.
Three turnovers proved costly for Ole Miss. A fumble on the first drive killed momentum and the third-quarter strip-sack fumble by John Rhys Plumlee helped set up MSU’s 7-play, 40-yard touchdown drive to go up 21-14, a lead the Bulldogs took into the final 15:00. Shrader scored the TD on a five-yard run.
Plumlee got the start at QB, but Rebels coach Matt Luke switched to Matt Corral late in the game when the team was in the pass-first, hurry-up offense. When Ole Miss was threatening to tie the game in the fourth quarter, Corral was picked off by Marcus Murphy. It looked like a potential game-deciding play, but there was more drama left to play out.
Corral and the Rebels got another chance with only 2:06 left after the Bulldogs failed to kill the clock or put the game out of reach. It was a heart attack series for both fanbases. MSU nearly picked Corral – twice – but the redshirt freshman kept Ole Miss in it, finding Braylon Sanders for 57 yards on fourth-and-24. Corral ended up getting the needed touchdown with only seconds left, but the Moore penalty proved costly and there was ultimately no overtime.
Ole Miss outgained Mississippi State in passing yards (245 to 108) and total yards (384 to 318), but the old adages about out-rushing your opponent and winning the turnover battle proved true for MSU (210 to 139 rushing yards; 3 to 1 turnovers).