Most Ole Miss football fans were delightfully shocked Thursday night as the Rebels took the 114th Egg Bowl game over No.14 Miss State.
There are no guarantees when it comes to a heated college football rivalry. There are especially not when it comes to the Egg Bowl. Such was the case on Thanksgivng in Starkville when Ole Miss football shocked the No.14 Miss State Bulldogs in Davis-Wade Stadium.
The Rebels scored on their first drive of the game and never looked back until the very end of the game. 31-28 was the final score in the 114th annual Egg Bowl but the game was never as close as the score appeared. Ole Miss entered the game with a desire to compete on a level higher than the Bulldogs for 60 solid minutes. The Rebels did just that.
Of course, if you watched the game then you saw the way the Rebels played on both sides of the ball. Coach Matt Luke and these players went to Starkville and dominated the Bulldogs in every facet of the game. So let’s look at the game and see how the Rebels did it by the numbers.
The Rebels Get Rowdy
Ole Miss Rebels Football
The Rebels showed up with something in Starkville Miss State never could have expected. They showed up with a must win attitude. They are also a team full of talented players who had nothing to lose and something to prove.
The Rebels started fast. Ole Miss scored with 14:21 to go in the first quarter on a 22 yard run by Jordan Wilkins in his final game as a Rebel. Wilkins would have another TD later in the second half. It was a 46 yard run for score.
Wilkins finished the night with 113 yards on 14 carries and the 2 TDs. With the effort Wilkins finished his career at Ole Miss with a 1000 yard rushing senior season. Thanks Jordan for a great season.
Of course, Ole Miss fans were treated to fireworks from the NWO also. Although Jordan Ta’amu went only 10 of 22 for 247 yards he did throw 2 long TDs in the game. One was a 77 yard strike to AJ Brown and the other was a 63 yarder to DK Metcalf.
Brown finished the evening with 6 catches for 167 yards leading the receiving corp. DK Metcalf caught 2 passes for 67 yards. Damarkus Logde had 1 catch for 8 yards while tight end Dawson Knox and 1 reception for 5 yards.
The Defense Heats Up
We had heard a lot about the defense which Ole Miss would have to face in this game. MSU came into the game with the 9th ranked defense in the nation. However, the Ole Miss defense showed up in Starkville as well. Despite giving up 501 yards of total offense from the Bulldogs they were in a feeding frenzy all night. They created turnovers. The Landshark D bent but didn’t break when it really counted.
We can’t ignore the fact there was and intensity which surrounded the Ole Miss team Thursday night. It surfaced throughout the game and especially on defense in the play of Breeland Speaks. According to OleMissSports.com after the game Speaks talked about the energy level he played with.
"“It’s the Egg Bowl. There was a lot of energy going, a lot of emotions, and I just wanted to let all that energy out. That’s what was going on.” ~Breeland Speaks"
Speaks finished the night with bang after being ejected from the game. However, he also finished with 12 total tackles, recoverd a fumble and had one sack. DeMarquis Gates led all Rebels on the night with 13 total tackles. Josiah Coatney, Ken Webster and A Robinson all finished with 8 total tackles each. Tayler Polk finished his night with 7 tackles. Myles Hartsfield and CJ Moore each finished the game with 4 total tackles and also1 INT each.
The Rebels were up 24-6 headed into the 4th quarter. Substitutions in the final frame of the Egg Bowl allowed Miss State play it’s way back into the game late but they came up short. Ole Miss took the game in Starkville and took the Egg Bowl trophy back home to Oxford. In his interim head coaching season Matt Luke became one of the few Rebels to have played and coached in the rivalry.
So What’s Next?
Well we know their is no more Ole Miss football left to be played this season. However, there is and will be plenty of action off the field. Immediately following his Egg Bowl win, questions concerning Matt Luke’s future among Rebel faithful. There were rumors he had officially interviewed as early as Friday for the permanent position as Ole Miss head coach.
Of course, there were also rumors surrounding other coaches vying for the position as well. This may be the case over the next few days. Once the COI ruling is officially announced and Ole Miss knows it’s plight then a coaching decision would come suddenly. Timing here means everything in the equation. Naturally the sooner we get the ruling the sooner we see the new head coach in Oxford.
As for Matt Luke having the interim tag lifted we can only wait and see. Of course, for now this is his team and he has players which want to play for him next season. We have to just be patient for now and let the wheels of the process turn the way the Ole Miss administration chooses to steer. But hey at least we finished the season at .500 against our in-state rival and the Egg is back where she belongs. Hotty Toddy!