Mississippi StateOle Miss

Rebels win defensive Egg Bowl

Credit: Ole Miss Athletics

Both defenses gave no quarter early on, but two key second-half scoring drives by the Rebel offense helped lift Ole Miss to a 17-7 victory over Mississippi State in a slugfest of an Egg Bowl on Thanksgiving night.

Ole Miss (10-2, 6-2 SEC) found itself in an intense tug-of-war against the Bulldogs (5-7, 1-7 SEC) against an energized crowd at Davis Wade, and one glance at the stat sheet finds a near mirror image for the in-state rivals. The Rebels’ 307 yards of total offense weren’t far from State’s 303, and they were inverses of each other in passing (State led 207-96) and rushing (Ole Miss led 211-96). With both defenses in prime form, it came down to timing, and Ole Miss struck at the right moments with late touchdowns to Quinshon Judkins and Caden Prieskorn to push the Rebels over the top.

This is now the ninth 10-win season in school history, and for head coach Lane Kiffin, he is now just the second coach in Ole Miss history with multiple 10-win seasons alongside the legendary John Vaught, who did so four times throughout his career.

Ole Miss was led by another powerful outing by sophomore running back Quinshon Judkins, who ended the night with 119 yards and one touchdown on 23 carries. Judkins passed the 1,000-yard mark for the season in the third quarter, making him just the ninth rusher in FBS history to repeat with a 1,000-yard season as a sophomore after doing so as a freshman. His touchdown later that same drive helped propel him into even rarer company, making him one of eight in FBS history and one of two in SEC history alongside Herschel Walker with 1,000 yards and 15 touchdowns in each of their first two seasons as freshmen and sophomores.

Judkins’ bruising rushing attack was made effective by a superb outing by the Landshark defense, which held State to its fewest total yards in the Egg Bowl since 2019. Senior safety Daijahn Anthony was a one-man wrecking crew, nearly doubling his career-high with 15 total tackles (six solo), including eight in the first half. Anthony is the first Rebel to have 15 tackles in a game since Lakia Henry notched 15 against Vanderbilt in 2019.

Anthony wasn’t alone in causing some mayhem on defense. Jeremiah Jean-Baptiste tallied a new career-high himself with 10 tackles (eight in the first half), senior Mississippi native Ashanti Cistrunk notched nine in his final Egg Bowl (six in the first half), and fellow Mississippi native Deantre Prince notched his first career sack on a blown-up halfback pass.

Neither offense could get anything going early as both Ole Miss and Mississippi State rarely gave an inch on defense in the first half. It took the first scoreless first quarter in the Egg Bowl since 2013 and nine total drives until the first points of the game, a 36-yard Rebel field goal by Caden Costa at 8:23 in the first quarter. That 3-0 Ole Miss edge would carry into the break, the first time the Egg Bowl had gone into halftime without a touchdown scored by either team since 1990.

State came out of the break swinging, stuffing the Rebels to a three-and-out before marching down the field and taking a 7-3 lead on a 10-play, 71-yard drive that ate up 4:55 off the clock and ended with quarterback Will Rogers punching it in from one yard out.

Ole Miss responded with the first and only consecutive scoring drives of the evening by either team, with Judkins capping off a 10-play, 75-yard drive from two yards out to put the Rebels back up 10-7 at the 4:47 mark of the third. Ole Miss quickly capitalized on the momentum as well, forcing State to a three-and-out of its own before Dart marshalled the Rebel offense down 71 yards in 4:26 – ending with a 26-yard floater to a wide-open Caden Prieskorn for the score to make it 17-7 with 13:26 to play.

From there, the Rebel defense settled back in and forced Mississippi State scoreless on each of its last three possessions to hang on for the win and bring the Golden Egg back to Oxford.

At 10-2 overall, Ole Miss now awaits to see which bowl game will extend an invitation. Ole Miss will now play in its fourth straight bowl game under Kiffin since 2020, the longest streak since the Rebels went to 15 straight from 1957 to 1971.

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