One of the most underrated rivalry games in college football is the Egg Bowl. The game between Ole Miss and Mississippi State has been one of the more entertaining rivalries of the past few years. The two programs have recently seen all-time highs which has created unique storylines. The series dates back to 1901 resulting in 118 meetings since the rivalry’s inception. Today’s 99 Things will focus on the history of the Egg Bowl and this year’s matchup between the two programs.
Ole Miss and Mississippi State have played on the gridiron every season since 1915 with the exception of 1943 because of World War II. The Egg Bowl name was created because of violence following the 1926 matchup. Ole Miss defeated Mississippi State (then known as Mississippi A&M) on the road. The Rebels took to the field in an attempt to tear down the goal posts. Mississippi State fans defended their stadium with wooden chairs as fights ensued. The two schools created the Egg Bowl trophy in 1927 to avoid such conflicts in future years. Ole Miss won the next game therefore winning the first Egg Bowl trophy.
The 2019 Egg Bowl has become infamous and received numerous nicknames. One of the most common nicknames for the game is “Ole Piss.” Ole Miss trailed Mississippi State by a score of 21-14 with only nine seconds left. Matt Corral threw a touchdown pass to Elijah Moore to make the score 21-20. Moore proceeded to celebrate as if he were a dog peeing on the ground mimicking a bulldog. He was given a 15 yard penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct pushing the extra point attempt back to 35 yards. The kicker for Ole Miss would miss the try and Mississippi State would win 21-20. This was a truly magical ending to a historic rivalry game. Ole Miss coach Matt Luke would be fired in the days following.
The 2022 Ole Miss Rebels will be replacing multiple key players from their offense including Matt Corral and running back Jerrion Ealy. Lane Kiffin decided to use the transfer portal and locate instant impact players. Jaxon Dart is likely to be the starting quarterback for the Rebels after playing in six games last season for USC. As a true freshman Dart threw for 1,353 yards and nine touchdowns in his limited action. The rushing attack for the Rebels will be led by former TCU running back Zach Evans and former SMU Mustang Ulysses Bentley IV. Evans is a former five star running back who rushed for 1,063 yards and nine touchdowns over the past two seasons. Bentley spent three seasons at SMU running for 1,559 yards and 15 touchdowns. The duo of Evans and Bentley has been overlooked but is likely to be one of the best rushing attacks in the SEC.
The pirate, Mike Leach, is entering his third season as Mississippi State’s head coach. Leach is still seeking his first win in the Egg Bowl. He has one of the most veteran teams in the SEC led by quarterback Will Rogers. Rogers will be entering his third season as the starting quarterback for the Bulldogs. Last season he threw for 4,739 yards which ranked third nationally. He also finished with 36 passing touchdowns and only nine interceptions. Leach’s system has always been quarterback friendly which will help Rogers continue to improve and set Mississippi State passing records. The Bulldog defense returns the entire defensive line and three of the four starting linebackers. The defense finished 62nd in points allowed per game but experience should help them improve into the top 40.
This year’s Egg Bowl is likely to be an even matchup with both teams having talented offenses. Leach and Kiffin are both considered offensive masterminds but have been known to struggle on defense. In order for both to compete consistently in the SEC they will need to adapt. There is no better way for the coaches to show they have adapted than by shutting down their arch rival. Thanksgiving and the Egg Bowl cannot come soon enough.