They call it the Egg Bowl, but the annual Mississippi State-Ole Miss football game has nothing to do with the state’s agricultural prowess. According to Department of Agriculture data, Iowa is actually the top egg producer in the United States (15%), followed by Ohio and Indiana (both at 9%). Mississippi isn’t even mentioned in this “Egg-STAT-ic” post from 2021.
So what’s wrong with the nickname? Well, that’s what happens when fans need something shiny to distract them from their malevolent thoughts and a headline writer decides to take matters into their own hands.
Let’s start with the original trophy and nickname. Although the rivalry dates back to 1901 – State won the first game, Ole missed the second – no post-game awards were presented until 1927. And the reason for the change was practical: the officials needed something something to hold the attention of the spectators after the game is over. the game was over. A year earlier, a massive brawl broke out among the fans. So the two student bodies, in an effort to “foster clean sportsmanship”, commissioned a trophy called “The Golden Egg”. It was gold and shiny and beautiful…and because it was more obtuse than the regular soccer ball and lacked raised edges to mimic the seams of a soccer ball, it looked exactly like to a golden egg.
Fast forward half a century and The Clarion-Ledger’s 1978 game day edition. Editor Tom Patterson – perhaps tired of an unnecessarily wordy nickname, perhaps attached to a certain style of pun – wrote the headline, “Egg Bowl is ready for scrambling.” And the Egg Bowl has gone from shorthand to sort of an official-unofficial nickname that both schools use interchangeably with The Battle for the Golden Egg.
But all of this is just history. They could call it The Battle for the Fuzzy Soybean (the state’s top agricultural export) and it would still be compelling. Although Alabama-Auburn, Michigan-Ohio State and Florida-Florida State may have more national relevance in terms of impact on the national championship race, no rivalry week game produces more drama than Mississippi State- Oh Miss. told ESPN’s Mark Schlabach that the rivalry “makes Ohio State-Michigan and Auburn-Alabama look like Sunday school.”) The first time they played, there was a delay of an hour because Ole Miss accused State of playing non-students.
There were plenty of fights and more than enough pettiness shared between the two schools. When Dan Mullen was still the Bulldogs head coach, he refused to call the Rebs by name. Instead, he simply referred to “The School Up North” in interviews. Internal game schedules used TSUN’s slight replacement for Ole Miss.
The two current coaches are actually quite pals these days, but the two programs can’t help but feud. They can’t even agree on basic facts. Although they both cite Ole Miss as the series leader with a record of 64-48-6, Mississippi State says the game was played 27 times on Thanksgiving and Ole Miss puts the number at 30.
Whichever record book you subscribe to, the rivalry will play out for the 119th time this Thanksgiving (7 p.m. ET, ESPN). To prepare you, here are some of the most interesting games in Egg Bowl history.
1983: The Immaculate Deviation
Sometimes nicknames are misleading. The “immaculate deviation” wasn’t really a deviation at all – unless you believed in cosmic events. Mississippi State, which had surrendered a 17-0 lead and trailed 24-23 with 24 seconds left, had a game-winning basket within reach. Artie Crosby attempted the 27-yard kick and he seemed to be on the right track – good height, good line, good everything. State fans began to celebrate. But then the ball just stopped at its top. It was as if Mother Nature had crushed it herself, the strong gust of wind sending the ball to the far left of the goal posts.
Mississippi State coach Emory Bellard marveled: “I’ve never seen a kick go back in my years of training. It was like something was leaning and stopped the ball in flight.”
1999: The pick and the kick
This game might be the best in rivalry history. It was one of those rare occasions when both schools were ranked: Ole Miss 23rd, Mississippi State 18th. The Rebs took a 20-6 lead, but the Bulldogs fought back to tie the game with just 27 seconds left.
And rather than play for overtime on the road, Ole Miss asked Romaro Miller to broadcast it on the field. Except Robert Bean deflected the pass and threw it in the air. Eugene Clinton went under and grabbed the interception around the 50-yard line and brought the ball back to the 27 with 8 seconds left. Scott Westerfield then connected on the winning field goal from 44 yards. Once Ole Miss went out of bounds on the kickoff return, fans rushed onto the pitch.
2013: Dak announces his arrival
Legends are made in rivalry games. Before Dak Prescott led Mississippi State to first overall in 2014 and before he set school records to become a fourth-round draft pick a year later, he was a sophomore in his first season as a starter, dealing with an arm injury that eliminated him from two games before the Egg Bowl. And for the first three quarters against Ole Miss, he stood on the sidelines.
But, with the Bulldogs trailing by a field goal 11 minutes from time, Prescott persuaded Mullen to let him into the game. After knocking out rust on his first practice, he led the offense for 59 yards in 13 plays to secure a tying field goal. Then, in overtime, he ran for the game-winning touchdown.
2019: The costly dog pee penalty
Mississippi State escapes with a 21-20 victory after Ole Miss WR Elijah Moore was penalized for celebrating a touchdown by pretending to urinate like a dog and the Rebels missed the extra point that followed.
First, there has to be some context about the Egg Bowl to end all Egg Bowls. Because if you thought the 2019 game was the first time an Ole Miss player faked urination on the Mississippi State court, you’d be wrong. Two years earlier, after a pre-game scuffle, DK Metcalf scored a touchdown late in the third quarter, lifted his leg to mimic a dog’s pee and took a 15-yard penalty.
And just to make sure the fire was still burning ahead of the trip back to Starkville, let’s not forget AJ Brown’s potential touchdown at the end of a third-quarter outburst in Oxford and the scrambles that turned into a bench clearance brawl. . To punctuate the lack of civility, the referees imposed a penalty to each player of the two teams.
OK, now onto 2019. There have been wild plays and wild finishes throughout the history of the Egg Bowl, but no game has produced more fireworks than 2019. After having played tied in the first half, the Bulldogs went ahead on a Garrett Coursing 5-yard touchdown from Shrader in the third quarter. And it looked like it was as Ole Miss kicked twice and threw an interception in the fourth quarter. But then, with 2 minutes left, Matt Corral, who had come on as a relief to starter John Rhys Plumlee, led the Rebs to 80 yards on 11 plays. On the 2-yard line with just 4 seconds left, Corral found Elijah Moore in the end zone for what looked like the tied score. Except Moore repeated Metcalf’s antics, lifted his leg right in front of a referee, and was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct. The touchdown held, but you can guess what happened next. Pushed back 15 meters from the penalty spot, Luke Logan missed the point after an attempt and State won.
In a match where both coaches were in the hot seat, neither survived. Ole Miss fired Matt Luke a few days later and replaced him with headline-grabbing Lane Kiffin. Not to be outdone, Mississippi State fired Joe Moorhead and made a name for itself in Mike Leach.