November 27, 2008

Bulldogs hoping for repeat of '07

The Mississippi State Bulldogs and the Ole Miss Rebels will renew their rivalry for 105th time today seeking a chance to hoist the golden egg trophy at the conclusion of the game.

The rivalry is one of the most heated in the Deep South and to the winner goes bragging rights for 365 days.

"It's a big, big game," said Bulldog head coach Sylvester Croom. "It gives us bragging rights in the state and that is always important. It would be a great culmination to the season if we are able to win this football game."

MSU rallied back with 17 unanswered points in last year's contest in the final 7:51 seconds to knock off the Rebels 17-14 in Starkville in one of many dramatic endings in this century-plus rivalry. The win propelled the Bulldogs onto a Liberty Bowl win and an 8-5 season while Ole Miss ended the season 3-9 and winless in the Southeastern Conference. It was also the final game for former Rebel head coach Ed Orgeron, who was fired a day after losing the Egg Bowl.

Houston Nutt left turmoil at Arkansas last season and headed south to Ole Miss and will be initiated into the Egg Bowl rivalry today.

"I have never had an in-state rivalry as a coach, but I can feel what it means," Nutt said. "When you are in the same boundaries everything is bigger. This will be talked about for a full year from Friday. It's just big, and I haven't had any experience with it, but I know how big it will be and tough of a game it will be."

The Rebels hold a 59-39-6 lead in the all-time series and a 20-10-3 mark in Oxford. Since the Egg Bowl moved back to on-campus sites back in 1991, State has won only three times on the road in consecutive trips in 1994, 1996 and 1998. The Bulldogs have not posted back-to-back Egg Bowl wins since 1998 and 1999.

Mississippi State (4-7, 2-5) enters today's game with 105th ranked offense in the country averaging 297.7 yards and posting only 16.6 points per game. The Bulldogs average 115.5 yards rushing while adding 182.2 through the air.

Tyson Lee leads MSU at quarterback completing 59-percent of his passes for 1,470 yards, seven touchdowns and four interceptions.



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