93rd Egg Bowl on tap today
By Myra Bean
A lot has happened and changed in 2020 but one thing remained the same: Egg Bowl Week in Mississippi. All jokes that have been saved from year to year were unleashed on Twitter, Facebook and all other social media sites.
The 93rd battle of the game between the Ole Miss Rebels (3-4) and the Mississippi State Bulldogs (2-5) will be televised from Oxford on the SEC Network beginning at 3 p.m.
Mississippi State won the last two years but Ole Miss still holds an overall winning record of the Egg Bowl 64-45-6.
The Bulldogs are coming off a 31-24 loss to Georgia. The Ole Miss game against Texas A&M was postponed last week due to COVID-19.
Normally, this is the final game of the regular season for both teams but with the revised schedule this is the first season multiple games will be played after the Egg Bowl for Mississippi State since 1936.
Against Georgia, Bulldog quarterback Will Rogers completed 41 passes for 336 yards. Wide receiver Jaden Walley had seven receptions for 115 yards.
Mississippi State led most of the game. Brandon Ruiz kicked a 22-yard field goal for a 3-0 lead with 6:54 left in the first quarter. Georgia scored the first touchdown of the game with 12:28 left in the first half to take a 7-3 lead.
The Bulldogs answered with a four-yard run by Dillon Johnson and Ruiz kick for the 10-7 lead. Georgia retied the game on a 41-yard field goal 10-10.
With 1:28 left in the first half, Rogers connected with Wadley on a 51-yard pass. Ruiz’ kick gave Mississippi State a 17-10 lead. Georgie tied the game on an 18-yard pass with 30 seconds left in the half 17-17.
Georgia struck first in the third quarter on a 48-yard pass to take a 24-17 lead. The Bulldogs tied the game at 24 on a Dillon Johnson three-yard run and Ruiz kick.
With 4:10 left in the game, Georgia scored the final touchdown for the 31-24 win. On Mississippi State’s final possession at fourth-down-and-four, the Dogs turned the ball over on downs on a nine-yard Rogers sack.
Mississippi State’s wins this year have come against LSU and Vanderbilt. Ole Miss has wins over Kentucky, Vanderbilt and South Carolina.
Both teams are under first year head coaches: Mike Leach for Mississippi State and Lane Kiffin for Ole Miss.
Coaching Mississippi State as it gets ready for the most emotionally charged game of the season, Leach said in his experience the Egg Bowl was always an “incredibly intense game.”
“I know it’s very meaningful to people. There is not a day that I don’t hear somebody mention the Egg Bowl,” Leach said in his press conference Monday.
Leach went on to say that he knows that some of the Egg Bowls were exciting to watch, long before he was in Mississippi.
“It’s exciting to be a part of it and it’s a great opportunity to have a chance to play in one,” Leach said.
Mississippi State’s defense continues to improve week by week. The offense has seen a change in starting quarterbacks from K.J. Costello Rogers. However well both units played against Georgia, Leach said the Bulldogs have not reached their potential yet.
Still a record number of freshmen and sophomores are handling the main positions for the team. Today there are 20 first-time starters for MSU. Against Georgia there were 14 freshmen and sophomore starters. Six of MSU’s last touchdowns have been scored by true freshmen.
Defensive end Marquiss Spencer has a career high seven tackles for loss, which he is tied for third most in the SEC.