BLOG — There’s a little more on the line than just bragging rights in tonight’s Egg Bowl battle in Starkville between Ole Miss and Mississippi State (6:30 p.m., ESPN).
Ole Miss (7-4, 3-4 SEC) already knows it’s going bowling, but the Bulldogs (5-6, 2-5) need a win to clinch a bowl berth, which, if Mississippi State does it, would be a school-record fourth straight postseason bid for the Bulldogs.
Ole Miss QB Bo Wallace fought flu-like symptoms against Missouri and some during the week but is good to go tonight. For Mississippi State, QB Dak Prescott, who’s been battling an elbow injury, went through pregame warm-ups with the rest of the QBs after Bulldog coach Dan Mullen said earlier this week that Prescott wouldn’t play again unless the Bulldogs made it to a bowl game. We’ll just have to wait and see.
If Prescott can’t go, senior Tyler Russell, who’s also nursing a bit of a shoulder injury, and freshman Damian Williams will handle the signal calling duties. Mississippi State didn’t name a starting QB during the pregame video introductions.
6:25 p.m.: Russell was in street clothes and not moving his right arm during his Senior Night recognition. Doesn’t look like he’ll play.
Ole Miss won the toss and deferred to the second half. State will begin on offense.
Damian Williams starts for Mississippi State at QB. Willams throws for a couple of first downs, but RB LaDarius Perkins is stopped by S Cody Prewitt after a 4-yard gain on third-and-long. The Bulldogs punt, and Ole Miss will start its first drive at the Bulldogs’ 20.
The Rebels pick up a first down before Bo Wallace’s second pass of the night sails high of Laquon Treadwell and is intercepted by Nickoe Whitley at midfield. Overshot Treadwell by a wide margin there. The play is under review.
The ruling is confirmed. The early nod in field position goes to Mississippi State.
Williams finds Jameon Lewis for 14 yards and Brandon Holloway for 6, but a sack by Issac Gross moves the Bulldogs out of field goal range. Mississippi State punts again and downs the ball at the 3-yard line, but the Rebels hold after the turnover.
The Rebels pick up a first down before the next three plays go for 9 yards. On fourth-and-1, Robert Nkemdiche — yes, the freshman defensive lineman — gets the carry and rumble for a big gainer. Another carry by Nkemdiche and a run by Walton has Ole Miss at the Bulldogs’ 37. Frosh LT Laremy Tunsil had to be helped off the field after Walton’s run.
Wallace gets tripped up for a loss and then finds WR Ja-Mes Logan down the seam to Mississippi State’s 17. Nkemdiche gets another carry on third-and-2 but goes nowhere. PK Andrew Ritter comes on for a 26-yard field goal, but it bangs off the left upright. We’re still scoreless with a little more than a minute left here in the opening quarter.
The Rebels now have four trips inside the opponent’s 20-yard line in the last five quarters and have come away with just three total points. Hard to beat anybody doing that.
At the end of one, it’s Ole Miss 0, Mississippi State 0. The Bulldogs will start the second quarter at their own 37 after a 21-yard run by Josh Robinson on third-and-14.
Mississippi State picks up another first down, but the drive eventually stalls. The Bulldogs punt, and Logan makes a fair catch at the Ole Miss 15.
We’ve got our second review of the night. Laquon Treadwell hauls in a short pass, doesn’t think he’s down and fights for a few extra yards. His knee might’ve scraped the ground as he was being tackled. The Bulldogs called a timeout before the next snap to get it reviewed.
Officials say Treadwell’s knee was down short of the 25-yard line. On third-and-1, I’Tavius Mathers loses a yard, and the Rebels are forced to punt. Mississippi State will take over at its own 33 with 10:49 left until halftime. Outside of Nkemdiche’s 24 yards, Ole Miss isn’t doing anything on the ground.
Mississippi State goes 23 yards on five plays to reach Ole Miss’ 39, but Serderius Bryant blows up Perkins for a loss of 5 on third down to force another punt. Logan fields it at the 8, and that’s where Ole Miss will start its next drive.
Wallace is intercepted for the second time, this time by Richie Brown, off a deflection, but the Rebels get it back after Treadwell strips Brown while tackling him and recovers the loose ball. A review confirms the call, and Ole Miss has it back at its own 5. Wild sequence.
Wallace gets intercepted again by Justin Cox to give the Bulldogs possession at Ole Miss’ 30. Five plays later, Mississippi State finds the end zone on Josh Robinson’s 1-yard TD run. With 1:36 left in the half, it’s Mississippi State 7, Ole Miss 0. Wallace has thrown half as many interceptions here in the first half as he had all season entering tonight’s game.
Ole Miss moves near midfield in three plays, but a screen pass to Walton falls incomplete on third down. Ole Miss punts it back to Mississippi State.
The Rebels stuff Mississippi State on three plays and take all their timeouts to preserve time. It’s a good thing they did as Collins Moore broke through the line and blocked Baker Swedenburg’s punt. Terrell Grant, a fifth-year senior, pounced on it in the end zone for Ole Miss, and with just seconds left in the half, it’s now Ole Miss 7, Mississippi State 7.
Williams takes a knee to run out the clock and keep it tied at the half. Crazy first 30 minutes in this Egg Bowl. Wallaces throws 3 picks, the Rebels accumulate just 132 yards and squander another opportunity in the red zone, and yet it’s tied.
The Rebels put together a methodical 17-play, 81-drive coming out of the locker room, but once gain, Ole Miss can’t turn a red-zone trip into a touchdown. But Ritter connects on a 22-yard FG to put Ole Miss on top 10-7 with 9:54 left in the quarter.
Nothing doing on the Bulldogs’ next drive. Ole Miss gets it back at its own 40. Big point of this game coming here.
Ole Miss can’t do anything. Wallace’s third-down pass is nearly picked off, but officials say it was trapped. The Rebels punt it back, and Mississippi State will start at its own 33.
The punt marathon continues. Williams’ third-down pass sails high of Lewis, and Ole Miss gets the ball back at its own 11.
The teams exchange punts. Ole Miss starts its new drive at its own 22.
End of three here in Starkville, Ole Miss leads 10-7. The teams have combined for 372 yards of offense.
Mississippi State drives inside the Rebels’ 30, but Williams uncorks a wild throw downfield. S Cody Prewitt is the only player near it, and he picks it off and returns it to Ole Miss’ 32.
Ole Miss does nothing with the turnover, and Mississippi State gets it back at its 20. Dak Prescott enters the game at QB for the Bulldogs.
Evan Sobiesk connects on a 36-yard FG to draw the Bulldogs even again at 10-10 with 2:21 left. Sobiesk comes back and misses a 39-yarder as time runs out, and this one’s going to overtime. It’s Ole Miss 10, Mississippi State 10.
The Bulldogs get the first possession in extra time and roll the dice on fourth down. It works as Prescott darts up the middle for a 3-yard TD run to put Mississippi State ahead 17-10. The Rebels can’t afford any more red-zone mishaps now.
But that’s exactly what happens. Ole Miss moves to the Bulldogs’ 11 in three plays. On the fourth, Wallace breaks free up the middle and approaches the goal line before fumbling into the end zone. Jamerson Love recovers for the Bulldogs, and that’s the game. Mississippi State wins 17-10. It was Wallace’s fourth turnover of the night. (November 28, 2013)