Mississippi State got off to a slow start, but the Bulldogs had a chance at the end to win the first Egg Bowl under coach Mike Leach. But the Hail Mary fell incomplete, and Ole Miss prevailed 31-24.

QB Will Rogers was 45-for-61 passing for 440 yards as State did it again with limited scholarships, as Leach shared that the Bulldogs were well below the 53-play minimum.

  • Here’s some of what Leach shared with the media:
  • Mike Leach says on postgame radio that he only had 45 scholarship guys tonight.
  • Leach: “I thought Will did a good job extending plays with his feet.”
  • Also noted receivers reacted to get in positions downfield to make plays.
  • “I thought Jaden (Walley) played really well. I thought Malik (Heath) did some good, explosive things — kind of ran out of gas late. I think Jaden is playing extremely well for a true freshman.”
  • Leach says he was pleased with the time management when asked about the timeout late.
  • Leach unfiltered: “Save it for this drive, save it for that drive. It’s kind of like asking which knife do you want to get stabbed with.”
  • Leach said he was quite surprised at how aggressive Lane Kiffin was on fourth down.
  • “I was wondering at one point to what extent they hated their kicker or punter. Maybe next time those guys can win a popularity contest but it seems like they’re down right now.”
  • Leach singing Zach Arnett’s praises postgame. Says, “There’s a lot of qualities about Zach that are congruent with Mississippi State.”
  • Mike Leach said it won’t be an issue motivating Mississippi State to play two more games after the Egg Bowl.
  • “People don’t really dread playing football. They sign up to do it.”
  • “There are a lot of qualities about Zach (Arnett) that are congruent with Mississippi State.”
  • Mike Leach said he has no regrets about time management late in the game. “When you coach your own team call timeouts when you want to.”
  • “We can still improve. There are still all kinds of places to improve.”
  • “I thought we had young guys playing hard. I was proud of them.”

H/T Ben Portnoy, Tyler Horka.