Mississippi State fans may not be thrilled at how things have turned out this season but, on this Thanksgiving at least, they are very thankful that embattled head coach Joe Moorhead is 2-0 against the school’s bitter in-state rival.
The Bulldogs went with a throwback game plan of sorts by turning into what amounted to a Wing-T team on Thursday night in Starkville, pounding the rock on play after play and holding on thanks to a missed extra point to notch a wild 21-20 victory in the Egg Bowl over Ole Miss.
Freshman quarterback Garrett Shrader wasn’t mistaken for an Air Raid guy by any stretch in throwing for just 108 yards on 14 attempts but he did key a rushing attack that was easily over two bills and averaged close to five yards a carry. The young signal-caller also notched two scores on the ground while mostly handing off to his terrific tailbacks Kylin Hill (132 yards) and Nick Gibson (57 yards, 1 TD).
Rather remarkably given the run-centric nature of the game, seven different players also caught a pass for MSU — including former starting QB Keytaon Thompson making his first appearance of the year with an eight yard reception.
While Ole Miss didn’t double up their output through the air with their rushing total, they weren’t too shabby in the game either with 47 rushing attempts to just 26 passes (many of which came in the closing minutes of a failed comeback attempt). Freshman John Rhys Plumlee started the game and had 121 yards on 9-of-14 passing while also rushing for a score as well. He was pulled late for Matt Corral however, who tossed an interception to go with 124 yards and what should have been a game-tying touchdown with just four seconds left.
However the recipient of that pass into the end zone, Elijah Moore, drew a 15-yard flag for celebrating the effort by crawling on all fours and mimicking a dog uh… peeing. That backed up the extra point attempt and led to Luke Logan’s kick sailing wide right to set off a raucous celebration in Starkvegas as the Egg Bowl would remain in maroon hands for the second straight season.
Though a bowl game wasn’t a possibility for the Rebels coming into the contest, it was nevertheless a rough way to end their 2019 campaign at 4-8 and plenty of questions about both that penalty and yet another inexplicable loss down the stretch for Matt Luke’s team.
The flip side is a huge sigh of relief on the other sideline for Moorhead and company, who not only got an elusive sixth win in dramatic fashion to extend their school-record streak of bowl games to 10 in a row, but also were able to take a little bit of pressure off the program after falling short of expectations in general this year. The Egg Bowl has produced plenty of wild swings of emotions and for many in the stands on Thursday night, there was certainly another on both sides after that result as the Bulldogs emerged victorious once again.