SuperTalk Mississippi

#18 Bulldogs rout Rebels in 2018 Egg Bowl

Photo courtesy of Kelly Donoho/MSU Athletics

The Golden Egg is headed back to Starkville. 

In a game that was over by halftime, Mississippi State dominated the Rebels on their way to a 35-3 victory. For Mississippi State, they end their regular season on a high note as they look forward to a bowl game. For Ole Miss, their season ends with their 5th straight loss, and they have a lot of questions heading into the offseason following a disappointing season. 

Last night, the Bulldogs were clearly the better team as their defense showed why they’re among the best in the country. While Nick Fitzgerald and the offense built a lead, the defense stifled the Rebels in the early going. 

Consecutive touchdown drives gave MSU a 14-0 lead in the 1st quarter, and when Ole Miss finally reached the red zone in the second quarter, they would settle for a field goal as often have this season. The Bulldogs would score again before the half to extend their lead and break the Rebels’ spirit. 

With the second half underway, the game continued to follow the same script as the first half. A Jordan Ta’amu INT gave way to an MSU touchdown with Fitzgerald running it in from 9-yards out. 

This year’s Egg Bowl won’t be remembered for a big hit, a big play or the final score, but instead, a near brawl that happened with the game well out of reach. Matt Corral, in for an injured Ta’amu, found A.J. Brown for what looked to be the Rebels’ first TD of the game. After Brown dragged Bulldog defenders into the end zone, he and Johnathan Abram had words when they got up. 

Abram threw a punch and Brown swung back. Before the refs could get a handle on things, the entire bench had cleared for both teams. The dust-up resulted in multiple ejections, and a penalty was assessed to every single player. 

Both coaches were disappointed by the fight, but neither Matt Luke nor Joe Moorhead wanted to elaborate on what happened after the game. 

“It got out of control,” Luke said. “That is not what we want.”

“Certainly you don’t want to see that stuff,” Moorhead said. “I really can’t comment on everything that happened because I didn’t see it and I was trying to keep guys on the sideline.”

After the fight, the play was reviewed and the Rebels didn’t snap the ball before time ran out in the 3rd quarter, so the play that caused the mess never actually happened. With the game well in hand at that point, it seemed like both teams played as if they were ready to get out of an emptied out Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. The Bulldogs would score again late in the 4th quarter to extend their lead to 35-3, which would become the final score.

The Rebel offense’s struggles against SEC defenses continued, and they were held to just 189 yards, while the MSU offense totaled 420 yards. The MSU offense was put in a favorable position for most of the night, and they were able to take advantage. The Rebel defense has been dreadful all season long, especially against the run, and MSU knew it. Fitzgerald threw just 18 passes while the Bulldogs rushed 51 times for 309 yards. 

In his first year at the helm of the MSU football team, Moorhead picks up a win in the all-important rivalry game.

“I thought in all three phases, offense, defense and special teams, we played with great physicality and effort executing at a pretty high level.  We certainly want to thank the fans of Mississippi State for getting indoctrinated into this game. Knowing what this means to the people in Starkville, our students, our alumni, the state of Mississippi and our team, I am proud to be standing here taking the trophy back to Starkville,” Moorhead said. 

The Rebels’ season ends with a 5-7 overall record and a 1-7 record in the SEC. With the NCAA sanctions finally over, this will be a critical offseason in Oxford. 

“It’s a work in progress” Luke said after the loss. “When you are down scholarships and with all of the things that have happened, we are just trying to recruit and get this thing back to full strength. We’ll continue to get better and continue to build that tough, hard-nosed, blue-collar football team that is what we want to get to. Nights like this will motivate them.”

Mississippi State is 8-4 overall and 4-4 in the SEC, and they’ll now await their bowl destination. 

Scoring Summary: 

Quick Stats: 

  • MSU
    N. Fitzgerald: 11/18 111 yards 1 TD, 18 car. 117 yards 2 TDs
    K. Hill 17 car. 108 yards 1 TD 
    Defense: 11 TFL
  • OM
    J. Ta’amu: 8/17 87 yards 1 INT
    A.J. Brown: 4 rec. 61 yards 
    Team: 0-11 on 3rd down, 3 turnovers 

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