Ole Miss football vs. Mississippi State: Ranking the best Egg Bowl from each decade
OXFORD — Brawls. Bad decisions. Mock urination. Divine intervention. Since the early days of the rivalry between Ole Miss and Mississippi State, the Egg Bowl has provided us with some astounding ways to win and lose a football game.
As we await the wonders that the 2022 version of the contest will provide, we’ve picked out the best Egg Bowl game from each decade dating to the first contest in 1903.
Here’s our list.
Nov. 14, 1903: Ole Miss 6, Mississippi A&M 6: Mississippi A&M — as Mississippi State was known until 1932 — came into the third game between these two institutions with a perfect record. It had not surrendered a point in three games, notably shutting out Alabama, and LSU by the combined score of 22-0.
This game had a little bit of palace intrigue to it, too. Mississippi A&M was coached by Daniel S. Martin, who had led Ole Miss to a 21-0 victory in the second edition of this rivalry the previous year.
With roughly a minute left on the clock, Ole Miss scored to tie the game 6-all and ruin Mississippi A&M’s chance at perfection. Those were the only points A&M surrendered all season.
Nov. 30, 1911: Mississippi A&M 6, Ole Miss 0: This game is the only competitive one played in this decade. After they didn’t meet from 1912-14, A&M won every game from 1915-19 by at least 13 points. The combined score of those games was 222-13.
However, the on-field action was secondary, marred by injuries to roughly 60 people that occurred when a stand collapsed before kickoff. Newspaper reports of the day indicated that there were no fatalities.
The only points came on a long fumble recovery for a touchdown in the third quarter by A&M’s Chick McGee.
Nov. 29, 1928: Ole Miss 20, Mississippi A&M 19: The Golden Egg Trophy had been commissioned for this annual game in 1927, which saw Ole Miss claim a second consecutive victory over Mississippi A&M after a long period of A&M dominance.
Ole Miss would get a third in 1928 in dramatic fashion.
Tadpole Smith carried around the right end for a 40-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter to put Ole Miss up 19-13. Crucially, Smith also converted the extra point to make it a seven-point advantage. A&M responded with a 19-yard touchdown pass in the game’s final moments but couldn’t convert the extra point, giving Ole Miss the win.
Dec. 1, 1934: Ole Miss 7, Mississippi State 3: After three quarters of scoreless play, Ole Miss found itself trailing a Mississippi State team that was winless in SEC play after a field goal midway through the fourth quarter.
Sparked by Dave Bernard, the Rebels awoke after Mississippi State took the lead. Bernard’s long kickoff return, followed by a 29-yard rush, set up the Rebels in State territory. It was Rab Rodgers who dealt the decisive blow with a 3-yard touchdown, extending Ole Miss’ winning streak in the series to five games.
Nov. 29, 1941: Mississippi State 6, Ole Miss 0: Both Ole Miss and Mississippi State came into this game ranked in the nation’s top 20, and both could dream of an SEC title with a victory.
Mississippi State’s dreams became a reality. MSU won the only SEC title in its history by beating Ole Miss 6-0 in Oxford.
Jennings Moates scored what would be the game’s only touchdown in the second quarter, but State needed some heroics from its defense late. With Ole Miss driving in the final moments, MSU recovered a fumble at its own 19-yard line to seal the win.
Dec. 1, 1956: Ole Miss 13, Mississippi State 7: A nine-year Ole Miss unbeaten streak in the rivalry found itself under threat, as Mississippi State held a slim 7-6 lead late in the fourth quarter.
Helped by a defensive stand in the red zone in the late third quarter, Ole Miss’ offense finally awoke when it absolutely had to. Raymond Brown scored a 4-yard touchdown with 2:12 left, and the Rebels retained the Golden Egg.
“The Golden Egg,” Clarion-Ledger scribe Wayne Thompson wrote, “... stays in Oxford where it has resided since 1947 — if it hasn’t already hatched.”
Dec. 5, 1964: Mississippi State 20, Ole Miss 17: For the first time in 18 years, Mississippi State went home with the Golden Egg, topping the Rebels in Oxford. A bowl loss to Tulsa made this the only season between 1950 and 1972 that the Rebels did not finish with a winning record.
Clinging to a three-point lead, the Bulldogs’ victory was sealed by Dan Bland’s fourth-quarter interception, which set State up deep in Ole Miss territory for a vital insurance touchdown.
“(It was) our best effort of the year,” State coach Paul Davis said. “And it had to be.”
Nov. 26, 1970: Mississippi State 19, Ole Miss 14: An opportunistic Bulldogs squad snapped another long Egg Bowl winless skid — this one six games — by topping an Ole Miss team playing without Archie Manning in Oxford.
Mississippi State claimed the lead in the fourth quarter, when quarterback Joe Reed finished off a 71-yard drive with a touchdown on a sneak.
Still, the undermanned Rebels had their chance. Backup quarterback Shug Chumbler led Ole Miss into the red zone late in the fourth quarter, but MSU’s Frank Dowsing intercepted him to defend the Bulldogs’ lead.
Nov. 19, 1983: Ole Miss 24, Mississippi State 23: The Clarion-Ledger encapsulated one of the all time great Egg Bowl games perfectly with its headline on Nov. 20: “State chances: Gone With the Wind.”
Artie Cosby’s game-winning field goal with 24 seconds left looked like it was heading straight through the uprights. Just as it arrived at the crossbar, though, it was thwarted by a 40 mph gust of wind. Ole Miss, having come back from two scores down in the fourth quarter, survived.
“When I first hit it, I thought it was good,” Cosby said. “I hit it straight and I followed through straight. Then I looked up and I saw the ball just hanging there.”
Nov. 25, 1999: Mississippi State 23, Ole Miss 20: Perhaps the greatest comeback in the history of the Egg Bowl occurred when the Bulldogs came back from a 14-point, fourth-quarter deficit to win in regulation.
CJ Sirmones caught a 38-yard touchdown pass to tie the score with 27 seconds to play. Ole Miss decided to take the aggressive approach on its next possession rather than play for overtime, and it backfired. Romaro Miller’s pass was intercepted by Eugene Clinton, who returned the ball to the Ole Miss 26.
No gust of wind saved the Rebels this time, and the short field goal gave MSU the win.
Nov. 23, 2007: Mississippi State 17, Ole Miss 14: Eight years later, the Bulldogs executed another thrilling comeback after a separate instance of misguided aggression by the Ole Miss head coach.
Early in the fourth quarter, Ed Orgeron went for it on fourth down near midfield with a 14-0 lead. The Rebels didn’t get it, and Mississippi State cut it to a one-score game with 7:51 left. Derek Pegues tied the score with a 75-yard punt return touchdown, and Adam Carlson’s 48-yard field goal with 12 seconds left gave MSU the lead.
That game was Orgeron’s last in charge of Ole Miss. He finished his three-year tenure with three SEC wins.
Nov. 28, 2019: Mississippi State 21, Ole Miss 20: The last decade-plus of Egg Bowls have given us some fantastic games, but this one more than any other has remained in the national conscience because of its staying power.
On third-and-goal with fewer than 10 seconds remaining, Matt Corral hit Elijah Moore for a touchdown to put Ole Miss a PAT away from tying the score. Moore celebrated by giving his best urinating dog impression in the end zone, for which he was flagged.
The penalty gave Ole Miss a 35-yard PAT attempt that Luke Logan missed to give the Bulldogs the win.
David Eckert covers Ole Miss for the Clarion Ledger. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or reach him on Twitter @davideckert98.