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November 29, 2013

Bulldogs Seal Dramatic Egg Bowl Win on Dak Prescott's Back

In one of the more incredible endings in Egg Bowl history, Mississippi State (6-6) earned bowl eligibility and got the Egg Bowl trophy back in Starkville thanks to a huge effort from the MSU defense and the unexpected appearance by Dak Prescott.

MSU began the game from their own 19 with Damian Williams earning his first career start. Williams first pass was thrown behind Robert Johnson but his third and five pass to Malcolm Johnson was complete for six yards. The next play, Williams hit De'Runnya Wilson for 14 yards and another first down to the 44. After three rushes for a net of two yards, the Bulldogs punted away and Ole Miss took over at their own 20.

Ole Miss started their drive with three-straight runs gaining 12 yards as they moved the chains to the 32. Two plays later, Bo Wallace overthrew Laquon Treadwell and Nickoe Whitley made a beautiful one-handed interception to give MSU the ball at midfield. It was Whitley's fifth interception of the year and the 15th of his career putting him one away from tying the school record and putting him first among active players in the country.

MSU would manufacture a first down with a 14-yard pass to Jameon Lewis, but got nothing more and Devon Bell had his second punt of the game. This one was downed inside the five and Ole Miss would take over again. The Rebels started with a 16-yard run by Wallace but the Bulldogs held on three straight plays and the Rebels went for it on fourth and inches from their own 29. Freshman defensive end Robert Nkemdiche came in the game and barreled over defenders on two straight runs to pick up a chunk of yards into MSU territory to the 40. Wallace would find Ja-Mes Logan for a big play across the middle on third down and Ole Miss was at the 17. MSU would get the stop inside the 15 and Andrew Ritter came in for the field goal which hit the uprights. State took over at the 20.

The Bulldogs started the drive with two carries for two yards and then a false start penalty setting up third down and 14. Williams then took a speed option to the left side and pitched it to Josh Robinson who hit the hole and rumbled for a first down of 21 yards and the first quarter ended there with no score. MSU started the second quarter from their own 37. State got one more first down but nothing more and punted it for the third time in as many possessions.

Ole Miss began behind the 20 once again, this time at their own 15. MSU would get three stops and force a punt and they would take over at their own 35. Williams started things with a seven yard completion followed by a first down pass to Lewis to their own 45. The Bulldogs were helped by two offsides penalties and moved the ball to Ole Miss 39 where they faced third and five. State would get hit in the backfield and punt again with it downed at Ole Miss' eight.

Ole Miss had a loss of two on the first play and Wallace threw his second interception of the game, this time to Richie Brown, but it was fumbled on the return and recovered by Ole Miss at their five. MSU gave up a third down conversion to Vincent Sanders but MSU would answer. Chris Jones got a big sack on Wallace and on third down, Wallace threw his third interception of the game, this time to Justin Cox at the Ole Miss 30.

Williams began the drive on the ground and would find holes in the defense for 29 yards rushing to the one-yard line on four carries. Two plays later, Robinson was in the endzone for the first points of the game as the Bulldogs took the 7-0 lead with 1:36 left in the half.

Ole Miss would get nothing on their drive and the Bulldogs took over at their own six where they couldn't run out the clock. Ole Miss saved the clock and MSU would punt out of their own endzone where Baker Swedenburg was swarmed and saw his punt blocked. The Rebels recovered and tied the game at seven as the two teams went to the half.

It was a culmination of the Bulldogs' season so far where they've collapsed at the end of halves. The Bulldogs got 5-9 passing from freshman Williams in the first half for 46 yards and managed just 56 yards on the ground on 27 carries.

Ole Miss started the second half with the ball at their own 14 and converted a third down to move the chains down to the 33. Ole Miss converted their second third down of the drive with a quarterback sneak by Wallace to the MSU 45. The Rebels converted another third down when Wallace threw back to Treadwell who threw it right back to him for 19 yards to the 25. The fourth third down of the drive was not to be for the Rebels as the Bulldogs held Wallace out and they settled for a Ritter field goal which was good. Ole Miss took the 10-7 lead with 9:54 left in the third.

Each team punted back and forth throughout the third quarter before the Bulldogs finally manufactured movement on a drive. MSU started at their own 20 after a Rebel punt and picked up consecutive first downs from a pass interference call and an 11-yard gain from Malcolm Johnson on a catch. The quarter ended with the ball at the Ole Miss 49. State started the fourth with a 20-yard completion to Malcolm Johnson but Perkins lost seven. On the next play, Williams threw it up for grabs and Cody Prewitt was waiting for it and intercepted it. He ran it back to his own 32 and Ole Miss took over.

The Bulldog defense again held strong and forced another punt starting from their own 20 when Dak Prescott made his first appearance of the night. Prescott immediately went to work with a 10-yard pass to Wilson. Robinson followed it up with an eight-yard run but Prescott was stopped on his first run and the Bulldogs faced a third and four. He overthrew the pass and State punted again down to the Ole Miss 15.

Ole Miss converted one first down but the Bulldog defense again got the stop and took over at their own 22. Prescott began his second-straight drive and began it with another first-play first down, this time with Robert Johnson hauling it in for 12 yards. On third and one, Prescott took it off the left side and converted on a two-yard run. Prescott then his Lewis for 14 yards and another first down to the Ole Miss 42. Prescott faced another third down situation on third and four and found Wilson for 11 yards to the Ole Miss 24. Again, the Bulldogs faced third and four and Prescott lost a yard. Evan Sobiesk came on to kick the field goal that was good from 36 yards out tying the game at 10 with 2:21 left.

The Rebels got the ball at their own 12 to start the drive looking to win the game in regulation. MSU's defense responded quickly with a three and out taking just over one minute off the clock. State received the punt at their own 30. The Bulldogs converted first downs on three separate occasions, the last being on a gutsy fourth and 10 from their own 43. It came down to the foot of Sobiesk who missed wide right from 37 yards out and the ball game went to overtime for the first time in Egg Bowl history.

In overtime, MSU immediately went to work as Prescott took the ball on the read down inside the 15 for the first down. The Bulldogs had a false start penalty that would push them back and eventually faced third down and 15 from the 17. Prescott hit Lewis down to the four and the Bulldogs had a decision to make facing fourth and two. After a timeout, Prescott went behind his line and plunged into the endzone to give State the lead back at 17-10.

On Ole Miss' turn, they faced an early third down but converted to Donte Moncrief down to the 10. Wallace would try to tie things up as he raced through the defense and headed to the endzone where Whitely came up with another huge play. The senior safety forced the ball out of Wallace's hands and into the endzone where Jamerson Love recovered and MSU won the game in dramatic fashion.

The win was the sixth in the last eight Egg Bowls, four out of the last five in Dan Mullen's tenure and five-straight at Davis Wade for Mississippi State. MSU also became bowl eligible for the fourth-straight year accomplishing that feat for the first time in school history.

State was led by Prescott in the game with 11-20 passing for 115 yards and nine carries for 29 yards and the game-winning touchdown. Prescott did all this in the final 11 minutes of the game and overtime.

State had six catches for 68 yards from Lewis and four catches for 45 from Wilson who came up clutch in the end of the game. Leading rusher in the game was Robinson who carried seven times for 38 yards and a touchdown.

Defensively, Taveze Calhoun turned a great performance with 11 tackles and 0.5 for loss while guarding Ole Miss' leading receiver Moncrief most of the night.

State now awaits the decision of what bowl game they will attend with the leading candidates the Liberty Bowl in Memphis and the BBVA Compass Bowl in Birmingham.

Mississippi State NEWS


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