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The Egg Bowl

The Egg Bowl: Mississippi State vs. Ole Miss, Second Edition

William G. Barner
with Danny McKenzie
Copyright Date: 2007
Pages: 416
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  • Book Info
    The Egg Bowl
    Book Description:

    From the contentious delay of the first clash in 1901 to the battle in 2009,The Egg Bowlcovers the Ole Miss-Mississippi State rivalry in depth. For each game the narrative includes every scoring drive, every player who crossed the goal line, and every final score. More than 150 photos illustrate the intensity of action on the field and capture the players and exploits faithful fans will always remember.

    This new paperback edition features full accounts of the games in 2007, 2008, and 2009, including new photos and updated statistics. For the booster who demands to know every statistic,The Egg Bowlcreates the ultimate reference. Which player has scored the most touchdowns? Who rushed for the longest run or threw the longest touchdown pass? How many kickoffs have been returned for touchdowns? Why is November 30 of consequence? Which two men have coached at both schools? And surprisingly, which three players have lettered at Mississippi State and Ole Miss?

    The intensity of the rivalry cannot be understated. Student leaders created the treasured Golden Egg, trophy of the yearly contest, to quell frequent fisticuffs in the stands. While intended to cool the fervor, the Egg has been controversially remodeled, refurbished, and even kidnapped. The story continually simmers. This ideal gift for the football fanatic will only stoke those passions.

    eISBN: 978-1-61703-074-1
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-viii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. ix-xii)
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
    WGB and DM
    (pp. xv-xviii)
    (pp. xix-2)
    (pp. 3-6)

    In the dry autumn of 1901, cotton was still king, and from the Delta fields to the hill country, farmers were busy gathering their big-money crop. More than forty-one hundred cotton gins awaited the harvest. Mississippi’s population was 1.5 million, and Democratic Governor Andrew H. Longino was attempting to attract industry to help diversify the economy of his mostly agricultural state. Construction on the new capitol in Jackson had just begun.

    Enrollment at both the University of Mississippi and Mississippi Agricultural & Mechanical College was small. The University, which had opened on November 6, 1848, was in its forty-ninth year,...

  7. The Games

    • GAME 1 1901: The First Feud, the First Protest, the First Delay, and Finally the First Game
      (pp. 7-9)

      It was only fitting that A&M and the University should meet. But after years of delay, the game had to wait another forty minutes from the scheduled 3:30 kickoff as the two teams debated the eligibility of A&M’s Norvin E. (Billy) Green, who had played for the University’s squad the previous year. According to theCollege Reflector, “After we agreed to take Green out they kicked against [left end F. D.] Harris saying he was from Chattanooga and was being paid to play, and a number of other things—all of which are false.” Harris eventually was approved, and at...

    • GAME 2 1902: No Feuding. No Fussing. Just Plain, Tough Football
      (pp. 10-11)

      After serious feuding had marred the first game, A&M and the University did an about-face in 1902. On an unseasonably warm Saturday, October 25, the two teams played a straightforward game of football. No arguments. No delays. “Everything moved off smoothly,” declared theMemphis Commercial Appeal, “without friction or fussing.” And it was a “clean, hard game,” declared A&M’sCollege Reflector. Added the Memphis story, “None of the players sustained any serious injury.”

      Coach Dan S. Martin was in his second year at Mississippi, while recent Auburn graduate Jerry Gwin was at the Aggies’ helm—and refereed the game. The...

    • GAME 3 1903: The Red and Blue Shades the Aggies’ Perfect Record
      (pp. 12-14)

      When they arrived in Oxford, the Mississippi A&M Aggies carried a record any team would envy: undefeated, untied, unscored on. When they left old University Park, only one of those celebrated claims survived. Mississippi scored with less than a minute remaining to earn a narrow 6–6 tie, the only points the high-flying Aggies would surrender all year. A&M posted its first undefeated season. The next would not come until 1940.

      Interest in the A&M–University game had soared: “Big Game for Oxford,” headlined the weeklyJackson Clarion-Ledgermore than two weeks before game day, Saturday, November 14. Red and...

    • GAME 4 1904: Columbus Gets Its “Good Game”
      (pp. 15-16)

      On Thursday, October 18, 1904, theColumbus Weekly Commercialreported that a football game would be held as part of the Mississippi and West Alabama Fair. No teams were announced, but “a good game is assured,” the paper reported. When fans learned that the participants would be A&M and the University, alumni began placing bets and packing picnic baskets.

      The Aggies entered the game with two big questions. Coach Dan Martin had suffered a bout of typhoid fever and had not arrived on campus until just ten days before the season opener, limiting the team’s preparation. Second, the Southern Intercollegiate...

    • GAME 5 1905: The First Bulldogs Prove Their Mettle
      (pp. 17-20)

      It was a spectators’ game. Literally. On Thanksgiving Day, November 30, the University and A&M were meeting in Jackson for the first time, and the fans’ unbridled enthusiasm proved almost overwhelming. With no ropes to bar the way, the crowd poured out onto the playing field for a closer look at what, for many, was their first college game. The curious got so close that they even “crowded the players,” reported theDaily Clarion-Ledger. At one point, the University captain refused to continue until the field was cleared.

      The problem was the poor view from the grandstand, which was situated...

    • GAME 6 1906: Passing Fancy
      (pp. 21-24)

      For the second consecutive year, A&M and the University met in Jackson on Thanksgiving afternoon. For the first time, however, the game marked the end of the season for not one but both teams. On this sunny afternoon, some five thousand fans jammed the grandstand as part of the Mississippi Industrial Exposition. Though many of the spectators watched from the sidelines, none of the crowd-control problems that had marred the previous year’s game recurred. Special trains brought students from Oxford and Starkville. The A&M cadets and girls from the Industrial Institute and College (later Mississippi State College for Women, now...

    • GAME 7 1907: Knee-Deep in Rivalry (and Sky-High over the Coffee)
      (pp. 25-28)

      Torrential rains hit Jackson prior to the Thanksgiving 1907 clash between A&M and Ole Miss, creating an atmosphere that must have been more like a circus than the real three-ring show that had just vacated the field. Players slipped and slid, even disappearing at times into the water that flowed nearly knee-deep across the sloping field. Officials had to hold the ball in place so that it wouldn’t float off before the center could snap it. The fairgrounds’ management had tried in vain to fill many of the holes created by the circus tent stakes, but a Thanksgiving morning...

    • GAME 8 1908: Aggies Out-Quick ’Em
      (pp. 29-31)

      In sharp contrast to the mud-bedeviled 1907 game, the 1908 affair highlighted the lightning-fast Mississippi A&M Aggie attack, which produced an easy 44–6 victory and made the Aggies the first team to win consecutive games in the rivalry. At A&M, Fred Furman was in his second year at the helm, while Ole Miss was coached by Frank Kyle, a Vanderbilt graduate. The faculty committee had refused to approve Kyle, but team manager Martin Van Buren Miller hired him for a year anyway.

      Game day found railroads offering attractive student rates to Jackson. A round-trip ticket cost just twenty-five cents...

    • GAME 9 1909: University Gets Its Kicks
      (pp. 32-33)

      The 1909 contest was a watershed of sorts in the Ole Miss–A&M rivalry. The year saw the arrival of two of the most prominent men ever to coach these two teams. William Dean Chadwick came to Starkville to begin what would become a twenty-one-year association with the school, serving as football coach for five years before taking over as director of athletics. And Dr. Nathan P. Stauffer arrived in Oxford to begin a three-year career as head coach and medical faculty instructor.

      On this beautiful Thanksgiving afternoon, five thousand enthusiasts paid two dollars each to enter the Jackson fairgrounds...

    • GAME 10 1910: A Collision of Two Mighty Machines
      (pp. 34-36)

      Excitement reached a fever pitch as five thousand fans jammed the fairgrounds on a sunny Thanksgiving afternoon for the clash of two behemoths. Each team had lost only once, and both defenses were stifling, having produced shutouts in all of A&M’s seven wins and all six of those by the University. Credit for such impressive performances went to the two second-year coaches. A&M’s W. D. Chadwick fielded a fast team averaging 27 points per game, earning them the nickname Chadwick’s Scoring Machine. Dr. Nathan P. Stauffer’s Red and Blue squad was averaging 16 points a game.

      What appeared on paper...

    • GAME 11 1911: Even Collapsing Stands Can’t Stop a Fierce Battle
      (pp. 37-40)

      The wooden bleachers on the east side of the state fairgrounds playing field were a splendid new addition, erected earlier in the week. Double last year’s capacity, they were one hundred feet long and at least eighteen rows high. Some fifteen hundred fans jammed in, anticipating an afternoon of exciting football. Across the way another fifteen hundred to two thousand filled the other stands, which gave fans a closer view of the playing field than had ever before existed. The racetrack grandstand off to the side, which until now had been the major seating area, was almost empty. Fans preferred...

    • 1912–1914: Time-Out for a Feud of Another Kind
      (pp. 41-44)

      One of the most dynamic bombshells ever to burst over the Ole Miss–A&M series exploded the week of the big game in 1912. Five days before the contest in Jackson, the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association (SIAA) declared Mississippi quarterback Ralph Fletcher ineligible because he had appeared in a freshman game at the University of Chicago and had not waited the required year before playing at Mississippi. Rumors swirled. Ole Miss would play, Ole Miss wouldn’t. In hopes of saving the game, Jackson mayor A. C. Crowder and editor Frederick Sullens of theJackson Daily Newssent a telegram to...

    • GAME 12 1915: 65–0
      (pp. 45-48)

      The long hiatus in relations between A&M and Ole Miss emphasized one undeniable truth: absence had not made the heart grow fonder. In fact, just the opposite may have been true, with the passage of three years merely intensifying the hatred between the fans and the players. The Aggies responded more vigorously, rolling for ten touchdowns and an overwhelming 65–0 victory, still the most one-sided in rivalry annals.

      Fans had anticipated this clash since the preceding February, when the schools announced that rivalry play would resume. The location was yet to be determined, with Jackson, Meridian, Greenville, and Columbus...

    • GAME 13 1916: On to Tupelo
      (pp. 49-50)

      The student newspapers cried, “On to Tupelo!” And on they came—five hundred from A&M and three hundred from the University—for their second consecutive meeting there. “A most gala air,” theCommercial Appealobserved, was lent by “the presence of Aggie students in their uniforms, headed by a cadet band, together with a dozen different bevies of fair students from neighboring colleges.” Enthusiasm of the University supporters, however, hinged more on a grim determination to avenge the previous year’s humiliating defeat.

      No such luck. Despite theCommercial Appeal’s pregame assessment that the Aggie backfield “lacks the dash and brilliancy...

    • GAME 14 1917: Wartime Is Victory Time for the Aggie Team
      (pp. 51-52)

      With wartime restrictions on travel, attendance fell dramatically for the A&M–Ole Miss game’s third appearance in Tupelo. Before a crowd of only one thousand, A&M won handily to complete its sweep of the three meetings.

      A&M had a new coach, Stanley L. Robinson, who had been a member of Colgate’s 1915 national championship team and had most recently coached at Vermont. Ole Miss also was led by a first-year coach, but he was a veteran of the Aggie–Red and Blue rivalry. Mississippi had hired C. R. (Dudy) Noble, one of A&M’s most prominent four-sport lettermen and formerly coach...

    • GAMES 15 AND 16 1918: Gotcha! Twice!
      (pp. 53-55)

      World War I sharply curtailed travel and many other activities. It was a sad time in America. Not only were young men fighting—and dying—overseas, but a devastating flu epidemic struck down forty million more at home and around the world. Worldwide events curtailed the football season, and A&M played only five games in 1918, Ole Miss just four. Neither school played a game until November.

      Athletic directors W. D. Chadwick of A&M and C. R. (Dudy) Noble of Ole Miss announced that their schools would not only continue their rivalry but would play twice during the season, once...

    • GAME 17 1919: Open the Windows and Let ’Er Rip
      (pp. 56-57)

      With the Great War over, interest in the annual A&M–University clash again rose, and Greenville, Tupelo, and Clarksdale all sought to host the 1919 contest. With strong support from local alumni, Clarksdale won out, and some three thousand fans poured into town this November 8. The morning drizzle gave way to an ideal afternoon with just enough chill to give the teams “added pep,” one paper declared. Game site was the new Elizabeth Dorr High School on West Second Street (completed at a cost of one hundred thousand dollars), with play taking place directly in front of the building...

    • GAME 18 1920: 20 in ’20
      (pp. 58-60)

      The eighteenth meeting of Mississippi A&M and the University of Mississippi saw the rivalry’s first appearance in Greenwood, a tribute to the hard work of that city’s ambitious Chamber of Commerce. Declared one newspaper, the “citizens of Greenwood are crazy over football,” and “a record breaking crowd” was assured. For days prior to the contest, theGreenwood Daily Commonwealthpromoted the game with headlines across the top of page 1.

      Greenwood alumni proudly met their favorite teams as they arrived by train the afternoon before the game. Odds initially favoring the Aggies dropped on the announcement that A&M stars Stennis...

    • GAME 19 1921: Football and All That Jazz
      (pp. 61-63)

      The twenties were roaring, the Jazz Age was rolling, and Delta young people were upholding their reputation as fun loving. It was a colorful day for Greenwood as A&M and Ole Miss fans returned to see their teams square off again on the local baseball field. Streamers for both schools fluttered from automobiles, and fans showed off team colors. Special trains brought 100 students from A&M and 450 from the University, and enthusiastic alumni met each group. Ole Miss students marched from the station and halted between the post office and Irving Hotel on Howard, the main business street, to...

    • GAME 20 1922: Hot Time in the Old Town
      (pp. 64-65)

      It was State Fair Week, and the big game was back in Jackson for the first time in eleven years. Some fifteen thousand fans poured into town to help make this the largest crowd yet. Special trains brought students from Starkville and Oxford. Hotels were crowded, and many Jackson homes welcomed out-of-town visitors.

      Both schools came into the October 21 game with first-year coaches. R. A. Cowell, an Illinois alumnus, was at the Ole Miss helm, while former A&M star and Ole Miss coach C. R. (Dudy) Noble was in his only full season as the Aggies’ head football coach....

    • GAME 21 1923: Push versus Pass
      (pp. 66-67)

      It was the brute strength of the A&M ground game against the passing skills of Ole Miss. Push versus pass.

      As the closing feature of the state fair, the game was back in Jackson and a big attraction. Students stepped off special trains aglow with optimism. Ole Miss’s delegation displayed its enthusiasm with a parade up Capitol Street. Alumni led, followed by the band and students carrying banners of each of the schools of the University as they sang the “Gridiron Chorus”—“the song of Ole Miss,” according to the student newspaper, theMississippian. The fairgrounds field was livened by...

    • GAME 22 1924: Here’s a Dozen, Cousin!
      (pp. 68-69)

      “History repeats,” wrote theMemphis Commercial Appeal. “And so do the Mississippi Aggies in their annual game with the Ole Miss eleven.” The teams’ third consecutive matchup in Jackson produced A&M’s twelfth consecutive victory in rivalry play. “Ole Miss was simply outplayed in every department,” the Memphis paper summarized, “and local fans who figured things about even got a severe jolt. The Aggies showed much more drive than was expected.” TheJackson Clarion-Ledgerechoed the assessment: “Just plain outplayed and outclassed, that was all.” The 20–0 blanking marked the Aggies’ twelfth shutout win in the rivalry’s twenty-two games.


    • GAME 23 1925: Strange but True
      (pp. 70-71)

      The Aggies managed only one first down all day, completed just two of their four passes, and punted twelve times. A recipe for defeat? Nope. They won the game, 6–0.

      Strange but true.

      Game day in Jackson began with rain, but the weather did little to dampen the enthusiasm of the crowds watching the schools parade down Capitol Street. Although the sun came out just before game time, neither team had much success in early play on the muddy field. The game turned into a fierce line battle, with passing entirely absent until the fourth quarter and A&M punters...

    • GAME 24 1926: The Battle of Starkville
      (pp. 72-74)

      After thirteen straight losses to A&M, Ole Miss’s dream of victory came true on Thanksgiving Day 1926, and it came on the toe of a senior player who had never before attempted an extra-point kick. Ole Miss 7, A&M 6.

      As game day neared, enthusiasm spiraled among fans of both schools. Special trains brought spectators from Oxford and Columbus, Jackson and Greenville. Hotel and boardinghouse space was at capacity, and the Starkville Chamber of Commerce began placing fans in private homes. Box seats were $3.00, reserved seats $2.50, and student tickets $1.00. The crowd of eleven thousand eagerly snapped up...

    • GAME 25 1927: Scramble for an Egg
      (pp. 75-77)

      The first Battle of the Golden Egg, on Thanksgiving Day 1927, proved to be the biggest game yet. New concrete stands had just been completed on the east (visitor’s) side. End zone bleachers had been erected by volunteer student labor to give the Oxford stadium “a bowl effect,” bragged theMississippian. In addition to the fourteen thousand spectators packed into the stands, a large overflow filled the surrounding hillsides, making this the largest audience yet for a rivalry game. At least four special trains had brought fans to Oxford. The ten-car train from A&M had left at six o’clock in...

    • GAME 26 1928: Tad, Toe, Touchdown
      (pp. 78-80)

      Though the 1928 Battle of the Golden Egg featured two have-nots battling for their biggest win of the season, the game was “perhaps the most desperate and thrilling . . . ever staged between these two teams,” theMemphis Commercial Appealboldly declared. Despite the fact that both teams had mediocre records—the Maroons at 2–3–2 and the Red and Blue at 4–4—temporary bleachers had to be erected to handle the fourteen thousand fans who descended on Starkville for the game. Special trains rolled in from Oxford, Columbus, McComb, and Greenville.

      Ole Miss coach Homer Hazel’s...

    • GAME 27 1929: Much Ado about Nothing
      (pp. 81-83)

      If the 1928 Ole Miss–A&M contest was a battle of mediocre teams, the next rivalry game pitted two downright bad squads against each other. However, “past records can be forgotten,” said one pregame story: “Victory means a successful season for the winner.”

      Thousands of fans flocked to Oxford for the game, encouraged by the announcement by the city’s mayor that all highways were in fine condition: “Good gravel all the way.” A special train from Starkville brought five hundred Maroon fans. Another train from McComb picked up fans in Jackson, Canton, and Durant. Private planes arrived from Baton Rouge...

    • GAME 28 1930: Noble in for Cagle
      (pp. 84-86)

      For the second time in his career, C. R. (Dudy) Noble was coaching a Maroon squad against Ole Miss. With almost no warning, the task had fallen his way when Chris (Red) Cagle resigned as A&M’s coach just before the most important game on the schedule. Cagle, an all-American the year earlier at Army, was barely older than his players. Disappointed that his team had won just two games, Cagle resigned to play professional football. Noble’s players faced a Mississippi squad in its first year under coach Edgar Lee Walker, who had played under the famous Pop Warner at Stanford...

    • GAME 29 1931: Rivalry Is Everything
      (pp. 87-88)

      Neither the Aggies nor the Flood had much to brag about in 1931. A&M, under new coach Ray Dauber and captain Philip Gousset, had recorded only a pair of victories, while Ole Miss, captained by Neal Biggers and led by second-year coach Ed Walker, had managed only a single win and a tie. Yet the rivalry remained strong, and ten thousand converged on Oxford for the Thanksgiving afternoon game, with students paying $1.00 per ticket and others paying $2.50.

      Ole Miss used the flashy Pop Warner system to score twice in the second quarter and twice more in the third....

    • GAME 30 1932: Now It’s State versus Ole Miss
      (pp. 89-90)

      Acting in response to a petition from the school’s student body, the Mississippi Legislature changed the name of Mississippi A&M to Mississippi State College. Thenceforth, the rivalry would be between Ole Miss and State—or State and Ole Miss, depending on your loyalty. Unfortunately for the newly named Mississippi State Maroons and their coach, Ray Dauber, the name change did not bring a new outcome in the Battle of the Golden Egg, and they went down again to the Flood, 13–0.

      In preparation for the Thanksgiving contest, the Ole Miss squad spent the night en route and arrived in...

    • GAME 31 1933: The Rain Doesn’t Let Up, and Neither Does the Rivalry
      (pp. 91-92)

      Half an hour before kickoff, the drenching rain began, and the chill only added to players’ and fans’ discomfort. Yet most of the seventy-five hundred stuck it out. When the water soaked their laps so they could no longer bear to sit, many simply moved down to follow the action from the sidelines. “It was remarkable in a way,” wrote Early Maxwell of theMemphis Commercial Appeal, “how the crowd lasted . . . how the bands . . . ‘whooped’ it up until the final whistle.”

      State was under new coach Ross McKechnie, a U.S. Army captain and former...

    • GAME 32 1934: Breaks? Or Tough Football?
      (pp. 93-95)

      Though it was technically State’s home game, the 1934 Battle of the Golden Egg marked the series’ return to Jackson for the first time in nine years. Although the contest drew a crowd of eleven thousand—the largest in five years—the two teams would not play again in the capital city until 1973. Mississippi governor Martin S. Connor and Jackson mayor Walter A. Scott started off the festivities by leading a morning parade up Capitol Street. In addition to the politicos, the procession featured officials, student groups, and bands from both schools as well as the Jackson Boys Band,...

    • GAME 33 1935: Give ‘Em the Razzle-Dazzle
      (pp. 96-98)

      For the first time in twenty-five years, both Ole Miss and State brought winning records into their annual meeting. A total of 14,500 fans came to Oxford to see two teams in a powerful display of the deceptive razzle-dazzle system popularized by Glenn (Pop) Warner at Stanford. In the first of his three seasons at State after a successful coaching career at Army, Ralph Sasse had given the Maroons their first winning record in nine seasons. As inspiration, Sasse obtained State’s first live Bulldog mascot, named Tol. Ole Miss’s Ed Walker was back for his sixth coaching campaign.

      When State...

    • GAME 34 1936: Ike Puts Rebels in a Pickle
      (pp. 99-101)

      After ten lean years, State was ready to end its losing streak in rivalry play and take its first full possession of the Golden Egg. Major Ralph Sasse’s Maroons, at 4–2–1, had already notched four shutouts on their way to a winning season that would include six such pastings, while Ole Miss was an unremarkable 4–4–1. The largest crowd to date—twenty thousand fans—began pouring into Scott Field two hours before kickoff. Spectators arrived in Starkville on a half dozen special trains as well as at least two planes. Lines of cars packed the gravel...

    • GAME 35 1937: State Launches a Crusade
      (pp. 102-104)

      Coming off their stellar 1936 season, the Maroons were expecting great things in 1937. One national magazine even picked State to win the national championship. But things did not go as planned, and in November, with the team mired at 3–3–1, coach Ralph Sasse unexpectedly resigned. The players rallied around the three assistants who took over the team, and a thousand students marched to the athletic dormitory in a show of support. To inspire the Maroons, assistant coach Jimmy Stokes placed the Golden Egg on a pedestal in the athletic dorm. The result was what David Bloom of...

    • GAME 36 1938: Sixty Superb Minutes
      (pp. 105-107)

      State had an eager young team. Ole Miss, the overwhelming favorite, had all-American Parker (Bullet) Hall, who led the nation in six offensive categories. The result was a fierce battle filled with vicious tackles “you could hear in the press box,” declared theMemphis Commercial Appeal. “The Rebs won because they were able to show superior power in the last half,” Walter Stewart wrote. “They were undoubtedly aided by the injury of Sonny Bruce, the great State back with the revolving hips.”

      Governor Hugh White was among the fifteen thousand fans who watched the kickoff under a clear blue sky...

    • GAME 37 1939: Mehre, McKeen, and Football Mania
      (pp. 108-111)

      As war drums thundered across Europe, Mississippi girded for its own war: the matchup of the 7–1 Rebels and the 7–2 Maroons. Declared the Associated Press, “Mississippians—the red necks, the bustling city folks, even transplanted Yankees—are so full of football fuss and figures . . . that the largest crowd ever to see a game in the state will be on hand.” Fulfilling such predictions, twenty-two thousand fans poured into Oxford for the game despite the brisk winds and a chilling forty-four-degree temperature. A midseason ranking of No. 15 gave Ole Miss its first-ever mention in...

    • GAME 38 1940: The J Boys and the H Boys
      (pp. 112-115)

      Led by the running of the J Boys—Harvey (Boots) Johnson and Billy Jefferson—and a powerful line, Mississippi State came into the 1940 Battle of the Golden Egg with a 7–0–1 record. Ole Miss, with only a 1–point loss marring its season, was powered by the running/passing combination of Merle Hapes and John (Junie) Hovious—the H Boys. In scoring, the two teams ranked first and second in the Southeastern Conference. The Associated Press Poll rated Mississippi No. 11 in the nation and Mississippi State No. 16. The record crowd of twenty-six thousand that packed Scott...

    • GAME 39 1941: November 29, 1941: “The Greatest Day in Mississippi Football History”
      (pp. 116-118)

      State and Ole Miss had never stood higher, with both poised to reach for the championship of the Southeastern Conference. Since Harry Mehre had become coach at Ole Miss, his Rebels had amassed a 31–7–1 mark. Allyn McKeen’s tenure in Starkville had included a 24–3–2 record. Both teams came into the 1941 game with 6–1–1 overall records; in conference play, State was 3–0–1, Ole Miss 2–0–1. Both rated spots in the nation’s Top 20.

      The Maroons emerged from what theMemphis Commercial Appeal ’sWalter Stewart called a “maelstrom of...

    • GAME 40 1942: Rivalry Gets the Jump on Gas Rationing
      (pp. 119-121)

      World War II deeply affected daily life in Mississippi, and the annual State–Ole Miss game was no exception. Players from both schools were leaving almost weekly to enter military service—an estimated one-third of each squad already had departed—enabling players who might have been sitting on the bench to get a chance to perform on the field. The 1942 Battle of the Golden Egg was scheduled, according to custom, on the last Saturday in November—November 28. But after the government announced in October that gas rationing would begin on November 29, officials from the two schools agreed...

    • 1943: No Game
      (pp. 122-122)

      By the fall of 1943, most of the players who had participated in the 1942 Ole Miss–Mississippi State game were serving in the military. The war had decimated college athletic teams across the nation; coupled with wartime travel restrictions, this lack of players caused 189 colleges—including all of those in the Southeastern Conference except Louisiana State, Tulane, Georgia, and Georgia Tech—to drop football and all other intercollegiate sports. In Mississippi, the Board of Trustees of Institutions of Higher Learning abolished play at state-supported colleges—including, of course, Ole Miss and State. Bulldog and Rebel fans would have...

    • GAME 41 1944: The Impossible Victory
      (pp. 123-125)

      Mississippi State came into Oxford with a four-game winning streak against its in-state rivals plus an impressive 6–1 season mark and a No. 16 national ranking, while the Rebels were a mirror-image 1–6. Newsmen said it would be “impossible” for Ole Miss to win. Yet the final score read Ole Miss 13, State 8. “Ten minutes after the game,” wrote David Bloom of theMemphis Commercial Appeal, “8,000 fans were sitting aghast . . . asking if it was just a dream.”

      The two captains—State’s Hillery Horne, a two-year letter winner, and Ole Miss’s Bob McCain—were...

    • GAME 42 1945: Lightning Strikes Twice
      (pp. 126-127)

      For the second year in a row, State came into the game with an impressive 6–1 record and a high national ranking—this year, fifteenth in the Associated Press Poll. And for the second straight year, the Rebels were a thin, injury-riddled team with little more than determination. Game day in Starkville was bright and beautiful with temperatures in the fifties. World War II had ended just three months earlier, and rationing of meats, canned fish, and oils would end at midnight.

      As in 1944, the Rebels jumped out to an early lead. Just two plays after a short...

    • GAME 43 1946: Helling and Damning
      (pp. 128-131)

      Chock full of veteran players, the State squad was in the midst of its seventh consecutive winning season and for the third straight year was meeting the Rebels with only one loss. Ole Miss, under new coach Harold (Red) Drew, had only a 2–6 record. But the Rebs had played so well in recent weeks, edging Southwest Conference cochamp Arkansas and holding their own in close losses to Louisiana State and Southeastern Conference champion Tennessee, that writers pounced on the potential of a cataclysmic collision. They issued “storm warnings” and cautioned the “weak of heart.” To absorb the impact,...

    • GAME 44 1947: Conerly-to-Poole Meets McWilliams, Davis, and Matulich
      (pp. 132-135)

      Both teams returned practically the same players as the previous year. So there was no real surprise in the fact that the running of Tom (Shorty) McWilliams (all–Southeastern Conference for the third time) and the passing of Harper Davis had led State to a 7–2 record. The real surprise was that Ole Miss owned the same mark. New coach John Vaught had turned his first Rebel team into a solid winner, only 9 points away from an undefeated season courtesy of national passing records set by the aerial duo of Charlie Conerly and Barney Poole, an all-American at...

    • GAME 45 1948: T for Two
      (pp. 136-138)

      Johnny Vaught, the mastermind who redesigned the Rebel backfield in 1947 to give Ole Miss its first Southeastern Conference championship, rebuilt the entire program in 1948, resulting in the school’s most successful season in thirty-eight years. The Maroons, in their ninth season under coach Allyn McKeen, had shown early season promise, leading fans to take up the cry, “State in ’48.” But a series of injuries and a lack of depth left State with a .500 record.

      The Rebels were rated sixteenth in the nation by the Associated Press, high on the Orange Bowl’s list of prospective teams, and a...

    • GAME 46 1949: Record-Breaking Forty-niners
      (pp. 139-141)

      When the final horn sounded, the scoreboard showed a one-sided 26–0 Ole Miss victory. On the field, however, the game was far from dull, as the two teams combined to set a variety of new marks for series, conference, and even national competition. As theMemphis Commercial Appeal’s Walter Stewart explained, “It was vicious football—solidly contested, and no one asked for money back.”

      Despite disappointing seasons in both Starkville and Oxford, Scott Field was nearly filled with thirty-two thousand loyal fans, the largest crowd ever to see a football game in Mississippi to date. The emergence of two-platoon...

    • GAME 47 1950: 27–20
      (pp. 142-145)

      It was a barn burner from the start. As theMeridian Starheadlined, the winner was not determined until the final whistle. Twenty-eight thousand fans came to Oxford on a gray, damp December day for the first meeting between Ole Miss and State in sixteen years outside November, and those caught in a traffic jam east of Oxford missed not only the first quarter but the first three touchdowns.

      The Rebels took a 7–0 lead with just over four and a half minutes gone. Wilson Dillard had returned the Maroons’ second punt 45 yards to reach the State 5....

    • GAME 48 1951: Here Comes Showboat
      (pp. 146-148)

      The story of the 1951 Battle of the Golden Egg begins and ends with the Rebels’ Arnold Laverne (Showboat) Boykin. Living up to his nickname, Boykin scored a record-setting seven touchdowns to lead Ole Miss to a 49–7 victory. Boykin’s touchdown runs alone covered 152 yards; seven other runs netted an additional 35 yards, giving him an impressive 187 yards on the day. All of Boykin’s scoring runs came on the same play, a handoff from quarterback Jimmy Lear.

      The twenty-eight thousand fans at Scott Field on that bright December 1 had little inkling of what was to come....

    • GAME 49 1952: Unbeaten Can Be a Dangerous Perch
      (pp. 149-151)

      Ole Miss was undefeated at 7–0–2, including an inspiring win over previously undefeated and third-ranked Maryland, a feat the Associated Press named the National Upset of the Year. State, in its first season under coach Murray Warmath, was 5–3. Warmath had been hired the preceding December in the wake of Arthur W. (Slick) Morton’s resignation and had brought impressive credentials to Starkville, having worked under Maroon coach Allyn McKeen as well as under Bob Neyland at Tennessee and Earl Blaik at Army. Despite the contrast in records, the Maroons kept the game close before winding up on...

    • GAME 50 1953: All Dressed Up and No Place to Go
      (pp. 152-153)

      The fiftieth meeting between State and Ole Miss saw the usual pregame buildup. Most of the thirty-five thousand at Scott Field—the largest crowd to date for a sporting event in Mississippi—expected the 7–2 Rebels to down the 5–2–2 Maroons. With State and Ole Miss among the Southeastern Conference’s passing leaders, fans also expected an air show. However, the game hardly conformed to expectations, as the two teams combined for only fifteen attempted passes and the ground game dominated instead, with the most notable statistic fumbles: the teams combined to drop the ball eleven times and...

    • GAME 51 1954: What Counts Is What’s Up Front
      (pp. 154-156)

      It’s hard to argue with the nation’s No. 1 defense. Yet the Maroons tried. Ultimately, however, as new Mississippi State coach Darrell Royal said matter-of-factly, “They out-defensed us.” The Rebel defense pitched a shutout, stopping the Maroons six times in Ole Miss territory and collecting five turnovers on the way to a 14–0 win. The Maroon defense played well, too, twice stopping the Rebels in the shadow of the end zone and forcing the Rebel offense to commit five turnovers of its own. But it was not enough.

      Royal had taken over in Starkville early in 1954, when Murray...

    • GAME 52 1955: A Clash of Titans? Just Call It a Clash
      (pp. 157-158)

      The two top offensive teams in the Southeastern Conference: No. 1 Ole Miss versus No. 2 Mississippi State. It was supposed to be a clash of titans. Unfortunately for the Maroons, however, a rash of injuries badly weakened the State offense. Those who did not play or played only briefly included all-America halfback Arthur Davis, chosen player of the year byLookmagazine–Football Writers of America; all-America guard Scott Suber; and fullback Frank Sabbatini. The result was a 26–0 pasting, the Rebels’ second straight shutout in what many newspapers were still calling the Magnolia Classic.

      Ole Miss came...

    • GAME 53 1956: “One Mistake. Just One Mistake”
      (pp. 159-161)

      In his postgame press conference, new Maroon coach Wade Walker repeated himself over and over: his team’s “one mistake” early in the game had allowed Ole Miss, trailing at the time, to score an important touchdown. Though the Rebels had scored again to ice the game, that “one mistake” had led to State’s defeat. Game day, December 1, was bright and sunny in Oxford. Walker, formerly State’s line coach, had moved up to the head slot when Darrell Royal left for the University of Washington. About four minutes into the second quarter, Maroon center Jimmy Dodd stole a pass from...

    • GAME 54 1957: No Cheers, No Tears. Nobody Won, Nobody Lost
      (pp. 162-164)

      Game day in Starkville was sunny, windy, and cold—thirty-five degrees at kickoff. Ole Miss, favored by three, was rated sixth in the nation in one poll, seventh in another. State was thirteenth. Thirty-five thousand fans came to see which school would climb higher.

      The Maroons had the ball first. They came out strong, putting together a 64-yard, eleven-play drive that ended with Bubber Trammel’s 18-yard touch-down run with Charles Weatherly as escort. Bobby Tribble kicked for a 7–0 lead. The score was the Maroons’ first on the ground against Ole Miss in four years. The Rebels tied the...

    • GAME 55 1958: The Billy and Bobby Show
      (pp. 165-167)

      State had Billy Stacy. Ole Miss had Bobby Franklin. Two big-play quarterbacks, top playmakers. Together they put on a show that kept all 33,500 spectators entertained. In one eight-minute span of the second quarter, Franklin ran for one touchdown, passed for two others, and kicked an extra point, earning himself honors as the Associated Press’s National Back of the Week. On defense, Stacy tied a rivalry record with three interceptions; on offense, he single-handedly accounted for 129 yards—two-thirds of State’s total yardage. Though the scoreboard ultimately showed a one-sided 21–0 Ole Miss victory, no one could say it...

    • GAME 56 1959: Vaught’s “Best Team” Proves Too Powerful
      (pp. 168-170)

      State faced an awesome task. Both the Associated Press and United Press International ranked 8–1 Ole Miss No. 2 in the country. The Rebels had all the necessary ingredients—speed, power, depth, and confidence. With three or four good players at every position, Ole Miss coach John Vaught had more good players on the bench, one rival coach conceded, than many teams had on the field. All-America fullback Charlie Flowers finished third in Heisman Trophy voting. Marvin Terrell was all-America at guard, and Southeastern Conference coaches had named him Lineman of the Year. The Rebels had given up only...

    • GAME 57 1960: Everything’s Just Jake
      (pp. 171-173)

      For Ole Miss, the 1960 Battle of the Golden Egg was just jake. Jake Gibbs, that is. Led by their all-America quarterback, the Rebels came into the game undefeated and ranked second in the nation. State, in contrast, had managed only two wins and a scoreless tie. Against the Maroons, Gibbs scored one touchdown, passed for two others, and bore direct responsibility for two more, leading his team to an overwhelming 35–9 win in Oxford. At one point, he completed eight consecutive passes. Just jake, indeed.

      The game began this warm sunny afternoon with an exchange of unsuccessful field...

    • GAME 58 1961: Never Argue with a No.1 Offense
      (pp. 174-175)

      In 1961, Ole Miss coach John Vaught fielded yet another dominant team: the No. 5 Rebels had the nation’s top-ranked offense, second-ranked passing game, and third-best defense. Only a single defeat—10–7 to Louisiana State—stood between the Rebels and a perfect season. All-America honors went to fullback Billy Ray Adams, tackle Jim Dunaway, guard Treva Bolin, and quarterback Doug Elmore.

      After three straight losing seasons, things seemed to be looking up for Mississippi State. Back with the designation “Bulldogs,” an honored name first used after the 1905 Ole Miss game, State started the 1961 season 3–1 before dropping...

    • GAME 59 1962: “The Goof That Laid the Golden Egg”
      (pp. 176-178)

      Just over six minutes remained to play. The Rebels were clinging to a 1-point lead over the visiting Bulldogs. The Rebs’ Louis Guy had just returned Bobby Bulloch’s punt to the Ole Miss 39 yard line. Runs by quarterback Jim Weatherly and fullback George (Buck) Randall gained nice yardage, and wingback Larry Johnson’s pass reception gave the Rebels a first down at the State 43. On the next play, Weatherly faked a handoff to halfback Dave Jennings but kept the ball and ran to the right. The defense was completely fooled, and forty-three yards later, Weatherly had 6 points of...

    • GAME 60 1963: It’s Not Always Like Kissing Your Sister
      (pp. 179-181)

      A tie game isn’t all bad. Not in this case. The standoff gave Ole Miss an undefeated season plus the Southeastern Conference championship and assured the Rebels a Sugar Bowl bid. It gave State its first winning season in six years and brought the Bulldogs their first bowl bid since 1940. Moreover, Bulldog fans, tired of a long line of losses to Ole Miss, could take pride in pointing out to their Rebel friends, “Youtied us.”

      Game day, November 30, was cold and windy. The crowd of thirty-five thousand was subdued and saddened by the assassination of President John...

    • GAME 61 1964: Dogs Break the Drought
      (pp. 182-185)

      Bulldogs 20, Rebels 17.

      For seventeen years, the Bulldog faithful had endured. Loss after loss, with only three ties to break up the losing streak. On December 5, 1964, on Ole Miss’s home field, the Mississippi State drought finally ended.

      Bulldogs 20, Rebels 17.

      Neither team had had much success during the season. The highly touted Rebels had been a disappointment, their record only 5–3–1, the worst in fourteen years. The Bulldogs were worse, following the 1963 season’s success by winning a mere three games.

      Most of the thirty thousand fans this chilly, gray afternoon could not remember...

    • GAME 62 1965: Close—Yes and No
      (pp. 186-188)

      With their losing streak against Ole Miss finally over, the Bulldogs started the 1965 campaign riding high—undefeated after four games and ranked ninth in the polls. The Rebels, however, were slow off the mark, posting a 1–3 record, their worst start in nineteen years. But coach Johnny Vaught’s team rebounded, and by the Battle of the Golden Egg, the Rebs had won four of their last five to improve to 5–4. Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, their season turned around, too, and they had lost five straight. Although 5–4 Ole Miss and 4–5 Mississippi State had...

    • GAME 63 1966: The Best Offense Is a Good . . .
      (pp. 189-191)

      A tough defense can win a tough ball game. The Rebels allowed the Bulldogs past midfield only once—to the 49 yard line. The Dogs’ twenty-nine rushing attempts netted just 2 yards. They completed only nine of twenty-two pass attempts for 40 yards. No Mississippi State drive included more than one first down, and the Bulldogs had only six first downs for the day. Not surprisingly, the result was a one-sided 24–0 Ole Miss victory.

      Under cloudy skies, just over thirty thousand came to Oxford to see the Rebels, favored by 20 points, host the Bulldogs. State’s opening drive...

    • GAME 64 1967: Mudhens 10, Ducks 3
      (pp. 192-194)

      December 2,1967. Half of Scott Field was under water. The other half was a slippery, sloppy mess. Uniforms were so muddy that Ole Miss’s white shirts were almost as dark as State’s maroon. Numbers were practically illegible. Field conditions were the worst coaches John Vaught and Charley Shira had ever encountered. Lightning had flashed throughout the morning. Tornado alerts were issued. The twenty-one thousand die-hards—the smallest crowd in twenty-two years—who ignored the pregame torrential rain and an afternoon of showers were treated to a battle royal.

      Ole Miss converted the opening kickoff into a scoring drive. From the...

    • GAME 65 1968: Pharr and Manning I
      (pp. 195-197)

      State had not won a game all year. Ole Miss had lost only three. Yet the Bulldogs were leading 17–10 early in the fourth quarter. Would they pull off the upset?

      The two quarterbacks were dominating play. The Bulldogs were led by Tommy Pharr, a highly skilled junior atop the Southeastern Conference in passing and total offense. On the receiving end of most of Pharr’s passes was split end Sammy Milner, leading the conference in receptions. For Ole Miss, sophomore Archie Manning was at quarterback. Even the usually understated Ole Miss coach, Johnny Vaught, declared that Manning would be...

    • GAME 66 1969: Pharr and Manning II
      (pp. 198-201)

      Just like the year before, the 1969 season found State’s Tommy Pharr and Ole Miss’s Archie Manning atop the Southeastern Conference in offense. This year, however, Manning was No. 1 and Pharr No. 2. The rematch between these two highly regarded quarterbacks promised to be another doozy of a game.

      Despite all-day rain and a slippery ball, Pharr and Manning put on a record-breaking performance for the thirty-four thousand fans: the most passes in the rivalry’s history, most completions, and most yards through the air. The teams chewed up chunks of turf as they set new highs in plays, first...

    • GAME 67 1970: “Something . . . You Will Never Forget”
      (pp. 202-205)
      Charley Shira

      While State was having just an average season, Ole Miss was riding high—undefeated, lots of national publicity, and a No. 4 ranking in the wire-service polls. The Rebel faithful were dreaming of a national championship and a Heisman Trophy for all-America quarterback Archie Manning.

      But one by one Ole Miss’s dreams were shattered. First, Ole Miss lost a game and with it any chance of a national championship. Three nights later, coach John Vaught was sidelined for the season because of a heart problem. His replacement was veteran offensive line coach Frank (Bruiser) Kinard. Then athletic director Claude M....

    • GAME 68 1971: 42 Points in One Quarter
      (pp. 206-208)

      In January 1971, for the first time since 1947, Ole Miss was in the market for a new head football coach. Both Johnny Vaught and athletic director Claude M. (Tad) Smith stepped down, ending their twenty-four-year partnership. The athletic committee selected Frank (Bruiser) Kinard to serve as the new athletic director and named his brother, Billy, an assistant at Arkansas, to succeed Vaught—the first alumnus to serve as the Rebels’ head coach and one of four brothers to have played for Ole Miss.

      Kinard’s inaugural game against archrival Mississippi State went well—so well, in fact, that his team...

    • GAME 69 1972: Bulldog Miscues, Rebel Points
      (pp. 209-211)

      Both Ole Miss and Mississippi State came into their 1972 meeting with mediocre records, but the 33,586 fans in attendance nevertheless anticipated fireworks. And that’s what they got, right from the get-go: players began swinging at each other on the kickoff. After officials reestablished order and the teams settled down to business, however, things got really exciting.

      On a cold, dark day, the Bulldogs seemed unable to hang onto the ball. State fumbled on its first two possessions, then threw interceptions on its next two. The Rebels wasted no time in capitalizing on the mistakes, turning miscues into 17 points....

    • GAME 70 1973: Vaught: One More Time
      (pp. 212-215)

      When the Rebels opened the season with losses in two of their first three games, disgruntled alumni demanded the dismissal of coach Billy Kinard and his brother, athletic director Frank (Bruiser) Kinard. The athletic committee complied and invited former coach John Vaught, who had retired in January 1971 because of health problems, to return as head coach. The Rebels responded by winning four of seven prior to the game with State. Across the field, Vaught’s opponent, in his first year as head coach in Starkville, was Bob Tyler, who had spent three years as an assistant to Vaught at Ole...

    • GAME 71 1974: At Last, a Bulldog Blowout
      (pp. 216-218)

      Bulldog fans had waited twenty-eight years to see this kind of game—a genuine one-sided win over Ole Miss. State’s best team in nearly three decades finally administered a real, honest-to-goodness thumping, overcoming the Bulldogs’ habit of turning over the ball to record an easy 31–13 win. This time, it was the Rebels who had trouble holding on, losing six fumbles to set a rivalry record. Add two interceptions, and the Rebels’ eight turnovers tied the mark the Dogs had set just two years earlier. Although the Bulldogs lost three fumbles, this time those mistakes paled in comparison to...

    • GAME 72 1975: Dee-fense!
      (pp. 219-221)

      A swirling wind swept Memorial Stadium to make the temperature seem even lower than the forty-seven actual degrees. Unpredictable gusts blew passes off target, limiting the two teams to a mere six completions, the longest for only 23 yards. Punts into the wind went practically nowhere. Defense became the only game. But a defensive battle can be an exciting show, as 46,500 fans discovered.

      The Bulldogs were in the midst of a tough season. The National Collegiate Athletic Association had imposed a two-year probation on State as punishment for recruiting violations. In addition, the Southeastern Conference banned noisemakers of all...

    • GAME 73 1976: Yell Like Hell
      (pp. 222-224)

      Victory over Ole Miss meant everything to the Bulldogs. Not only had a second-half surge overwhelmed the freewheeling Rebels in a decisive 28–11 victory over the Dogs’ biggest rival, but the game gave them nine wins on the year, tying the school record for most regular-season victories. Perhaps even more important, the game signaled the end of the school’s two-year probation imposed by the National Collegiate Athletic Association. “For dear ole State we’ll yell like Hell,” indeed.

      The Rebels’ game plan called for a wide-open, sometimes gambling attack, and it worked. Quarterback Tim Ellis’s delay passes to tight end...

    • GAME 74 1977: Momentum Shifts
      (pp. 225-228)

      The Rebels started the 1977 season by setting the football world on its ear, dealing eventual national champion Notre Dame its only loss of the season, 20–13, in Jackson. Things quickly soured for Ole Miss, however, and the team bore a 5–5 record on the eve of the Mississippi State game. The Bulldogs had a similarly mediocre record—4–6—but were favored against their in-state rivals. The usual intensity livened pregame antics: a Bulldog fan raced across the field clutching a wadded-up Rebel flag; a Rebel fan snatched the head off the Bulldog mascot, forcing a State...

    • GAME 75 1978: A Rebel Surprise
      (pp. 229-232)

      Mississippi State was celebrating its centennial, and the 6–4 football team was in on the party. Against Florida State, in the school’s seven hundredth game, the Dogs had rolled up a record 596 yards. Senior Dave Marler, now playing quarterback, was leading the nation in yards per attempt. And the combination of Marler and split end Mardye McDole was leading the Southeastern Conference in completions. Ole Miss, by contrast, had only four victories against six losses, and three of the losses had come after the Rebels had established 10–0 leads. Moreover, against the Bulldogs, the Rebels were going...

    • GAME 76 1979: Mistakes Can Kill You
      (pp. 233-235)

      The 1979 Battle of the Golden Egg was a battle of mistakes. According to Ole Miss’s Steve Sloan, “We made our mistakes early. They made theirs late.” State’s Emory Bellard summarized, “The way we lost it was by our mistakes down near the end zone.” Mistakes early proved better than mistakes late, and the Rebels won the game, 14–9.

      The Bulldogs collected points on their first possession, moving the ball to the Rebel 25 before the drive stalled and Jerry Rye put through a 38-yard field goal. The Bulldogs attempted to add to their lead but missed a field...

    • GAME 77 1980: Bulldog Blitz
      (pp. 236-239)

      As coach Emory Bellard had predicted, the Bulldogs indeed had a strong team in 1980. State’s eight wins prior to the Egg Bowl included a 6–3 upset of No. 1 Alabama in Jackson that ended Bama’s 28-game victory streak. Ole Miss, conversely, was having a rough year. Though the Rebs stood atop the Southeastern Conference in offense, the defense was surrendering an average of 24 points a game. The Rebels had won only three games to date.

      Just two days before the game, the final seats in the new north-end horseshoe were bolted in place at Mississippi Veterans Memorial Stadium,...

    • GAME 78 1981: 0:02 on the Clock
      (pp. 240-243)

      Game tied, 14–14, with 3:37 left to play. And then the fireworks started. Ten points in the final three and a half minutes. An interference call as time wound down. The winning score with just two seconds to go. When the smoke cleared, the Rebels had a thrilling 21–17 victory—or, depending on your point of view, the Bulldogs had had the game stolen from them by a bad call.

      State had begun the season 6–1 and entered the Egg Bowl with a 7–3 record, a No. 7 national ranking (their highest ever), and a bowl...

    • GAME 79 1982: Year of the Bulldogs
      (pp. 244-246)

      In Chinese lore it was the Year of the Dog. In the Egg Bowl, it was the Year of the Bulldog. Those superior Dogs, tenth in the nation in defense and eleventh in offense, convincingly downed the Rebels, 27–10. Mississippi State dominated on both sides of the ball, racking up 467 yards of total offense and holding Ole Miss without an offensive touchdown.

      State had started the year at No.13 in the United Press International Poll, winning its first three games before injuries struck. The Bulldogs lost their next six games—all to teams that were ranked in the...

    • GAME 80 1983: “The Immaculate Deflection”
      (pp. 247-251)
      Butch John and Jackson Clarion-Ledger

      Twenty-four seconds to play. The scoreboard reads Ole Miss 24, State 23. The Bulldogs are knocking at the door, desperately trying to take back a game they had owned for three quarters. It’s third and 5, with the ball on the Rebel 10, directly in front of the goalposts. It’s do-or-die time. In the balance hangs not only the big game but the Bulldogs’ attempt to salvage a dismal season as well as the Rebels’ first winning season since 1976 and their first bowl bid since 1971.

      Time-out, Ole Miss.

      The two teams had taken divergent paths to Jackson. The...

    • GAME 81 1984: The Straw That Broke the Camel’s Back
      (pp. 252-254)

      For nearly three quarters, the game remained tight. The Rebels established a 7–0 lead in the opening quarter with a 78-yard drive capped by Nathan Wonsley’s run from the I and Jon Howard’s extra point. For the next thirty minutes, the teams exchanged threats and the Rebels missed two field goals, but the score remained unchanged. At halftime, Mississippi State coach Emory Bellard sought “to start a spark” by pulling quarterback Orlando Lundie in favor of Don Smith, who had not played since suffering a shoulder injury two weeks earlier. The change paid off with about two minutes...

    • GAME 82 1985: A Point a Minute and More
      (pp. 255-258)

      Years had passed since Ole Miss and State had engaged in a good, old-fashioned shootout. It was about time. The two teams combined to equal their previous high of ten touchdowns and totaled 72 points—more than a point a minute. Nine players marched in the touchdown parade, including six for Ole Miss.

      Several things about the offensive explosion were surprising: The 5–5 Bulldogs allowed the 3–6–1 Rebels to roll up 45 points. And despite having a quarterback who had amassed more total offense over the course of the season than the entire Rebel team had, the...

    • GAME 83 1986: Winner Take All
      (pp. 259-262)

      The 1986 Egg Bowl bore unusual similarities with the game two years earlier. Both were on national television, both kickoffs occurred before noon, and both contests resulted in 24–3 Ole Miss victories. But similarities end there. While sunny skies had hovered over the 1984 game, the 1986 game was played in an almost steady rain that prompted more than six thousand of the fifty-one thousand ticket holders to stay home. And whereas the 1984 game had been close for most of the first three quarters, in 1986 Ole Miss sprang out to a 17-point lead before the Bulldogs even...

    • GAME 84 1987: Top Dogs
      (pp. 263-265)

      Celebration time! The spontaneous victory parade that started moments after State throttled Ole Miss seemed to go on and on. One Bulldog after another proudly carried the coveted Golden Egg around the end zone as State students cheered wildly. Then the team headed for the locker room to light up victory cigars. The 30–20 win not only broke the Bulldogs’ four-game Egg Bowl losing streak but also ended their five-game season skid.

      Despite the pleasant sunny weather, only 43,450 fans—the fewest in fifteen years—came out to see two 3–7 teams battle for nothing more than home-state...

    • GAME 85 1988: Flingin’ in the Rain
      (pp. 266-268)

      A game played in a steady rain. Lots of conservative ground plays, right? Nope. Not this time. The two teams combined for eighty-six attempted passes, forty-two completions, and 585 yards through the air—all tying or bettering rivalry records. Bulldog quarterback Tony Shell’s forty-five attempts bested the previous individual mark, as did Rebel quarter mississippi back Mark Young’s 334 yards. The teams totaled only 48 rushing attempts. As expected, a wet ball produced fumbles (four by the Rebs, three by the Dogs), but interceptions were more significant: two pickoffs led to Ole Miss points, and one led to State points....

    • GAME 86 1989: A Change in Tactics Works Wonders
      (pp. 269-271)

      At halftime, the Rebels were clinging to a narrow 7–3 lead. But the Bulldogs had been dominant. Ole Miss had scored its touchdown on a short drive set up by a fumble recovery, but the Bulldog defense, which would finish the year ranked fifteenth in the nation, had allowed the Rebels just 71 yards of offense and three first downs, had sacked the quarterback twice, and had intercepted the ball twice. A bobbled punt led to the Rebel touchdown. Scott Swatzell recovered on the State 17, and Ed Thigpen went over from the 1 on the first play...

    • GAME 87 1990: Like a Mule Hit by a Two-by-Four
      (pp. 272-275)

      Well into the third quarter, the Bulldogs were clinging to a 3–0 lead over the favored Rebels. Ole Miss had not ventured within 40 yards of the Mississippi State goal. The current Ole Miss possession was looking no more promising: the Rebels were backed up on their own 15 yard line, where they faced third down and a daunting 11. Rebel quarterback Tom Luke spotted Camp Roberts down-field and scrambled right, barely avoided a sack, and leaped to throw a pass across his body to the left. Although the Dogs’ Frankie Luster tipped the throw, Roberts made a diving...

    • GAME 88 1991: Right Where We Want You
      (pp. 276-279)

      In spite of Jackson business leaders’ efforts and the relatively high 1990 attendance, the Egg Bowl returned to alternating on the two campuses. It was Mississippi State’s turn to host, and the school’s athletic director, Larry Templeton, believed that the return to Starkville would not only boost season ticket sales but give the Bulldogs some needed confidence after losing to the Rebels for seven of the preceding eight years. For a change, the Bulldogs came into the game favored by 3 points as a consequence of their home-field advantage, Ole Miss’s.500 season, and key injuries suffered by the Rebels. The...

    • GAME 89 1992: Eleven Times within the 11
      (pp. 280-284)

      Rarely have two teams in this rivalry battled so ferociously or have goal-line stands been so fierce. Eleven times in the final three and a half minutes the Bulldogs hammered inside the Ole Miss 11 yard line, and eleven times the frustrated Dogs came away empty-handed. “The Stand,” as theOle Miss Spiritdubbed it, made all the difference, enabling Ole Miss to hang on for a 17–10 victory.

      The teams were back in Oxford for the first time in twenty years, and for only the fourth time, the game was being televised—this time, regionally, across twelve southern...

    • GAME 90 1993: Davis Has a Blast
      (pp. 285-288)

      At the end of the 1993 season, the Rebel defense was ranked No. 1 in the country. But they couldn’t stop Michael Davis. Against Ole Miss, the Bulldog tailback carried forty times for 154 yards and a touchdown to lead his team to a 20–13 victory before a hometown crowd of 40,328 on a cool November afternoon.

      Davis staked his team to a 7–0 lead, carrying the ball on eight of the possession’s nine plays, including the 1-yard score. Juan Long set up the drive with a 45-yard interception return, and Tom Burke kicked the extra point. The...

    • GAME 91 1994: Ten Minutes, 38 Points
      (pp. 289-292)

      If you missed the second quarter, you missed the scoring. All of the Bulldogs’ 21 points and all of the Rebels’ 17 came in one ten-minute span. Five touchdowns. Two field goals. Seven lead changes.

      The rest of the game kept fans fascinated, too—three missed field goal attempts, a fumble in the shadow of the goal, a touchdown-saving tackle, and two interceptions. It all added up to the second-most yardage ever accumulated in an Ole Miss–State contest.

      The Bulldogs were 7–3 for the season, ranked nineteenth in the Associated Press Poll and headed for a postseason bowl....

    • GAME 92 1995: Doooouuu!
      (pp. 293-295)

      The day started perfectly for Mississippi State. The school was celebrating the football program’s one hundredth anniversary. Not only were the Bulldogs playing at home under clear skies with the temperature in the mid-fifties and a light breeze, but they had scored on their first two possessions to take a 10–0 lead halfway through the first quarter. The touchdown had come on a 17-yard pass from quarterback Derrick Taite to tight end John Jennings, and Tim Rogers had booted the extra point. A field goal followed, with Brian Hazelwood kicking from 49 yards out. The defense had held the...

    • GAME 93 1996: Defense Dogs the Rebels
      (pp. 296-299)

      They might as well have left the offense back in Starkville. It wasn’t needed. The Mississippi State defense turned in a magnificent performance on a slippery, rain-flooded field, holding the Rebels scoreless and recording both interception and fumble returns for touchdowns as well as a safety in a 17–0 pasting. It represented State’s first shutout of Ole Miss in fifty years.

      The heavier Bulldogs entered the game favored by 2½ points, and the wet conditions only added to their advantage against the Rebels’ finesse attack. Injuries had dogged the Dogs all year—forty-nine different players had started for State...

    • GAME 94 1997: Go for Two
      (pp. 300-303)

      Twenty-five seconds to play. The Rebels have just scored a touchdown to make the score Ole Miss 13, State 14. Coach Tommy Tuberville has a big decision to make: attempt an extra-point kick for a tie and overtime, or go for the 2-point conversion and a win? The Rebs may be faster than the Dogs, but they’re smaller. And they’re playing on the Dogs’ home field. Worse, the Rebels are about spent.

      Tough call? Tuberville quickly opted to go for 2. And when quarterback Stewart Patridge found Cory Peterson in the end zone, Ole Miss went home 15–14 winners...

    • GAME 95 1998: Under the Lights
      (pp. 304-307)

      Although the Bulldogs and Rebels had squared off at ten different locations in seven cities, they had never played each other at night. Until now. With the game scheduled for Thanksgiving Day for the first time in twenty-seven years, a national television audience would get to witness the South’s fiercest football rivalry in its first incarnation under the lights.

      A win would give the twenty-fifth-ranked Bulldogs the championship of the Southeastern Conference’s Western Division. That prize proved to be a powerful motivator. State scored in every quarter, kept the Rebels out of the end zone, and thrashed Ole Miss 28...

    • GAME 96 1999: An Unbelievable Comeback
      (pp. 308-311)

      Down by two touchdowns at the end of three quarters, the Bulldogs scored 17 unanswered points, staging one of the most amazing comebacks in this rivalry to take a 23–20 victory. The explosive ending ignited a wild celebration at Scott Field, but it should not have surprised Mississippi State fans. It was the Bulldogs’ fourth late come-from-behind rally of the season, following consecutive narrow victories over Auburn, Louisiana State, and Kentucky, all of whom had led State with under two minutes to go.

      The weather was chilly and misty for the second consecutive Thanksgiving night meeting on national television...

    • GAME 97 2000: Rebels with a Cause
      (pp. 312-316)

      As cheering Mississippi State fans stormed Scott Field in celebration of their team’s stunning comeback victory in the 1999 Egg Bowl, Ole Miss coach David Cutcliffe and running back D. J. (Deuce) McAllister watched grimly, committing the scene to memory, they said, “so we will never forget.” They didn’t.

      When the two teams met again on Thanksgiving night 2000, the Rebels took their revenge with a relentless 45–30 defeat of the Bulldogs. The game was close through three quarters, but Ole Miss poured it on in the fourth, recording 17 unanswered points to seal the win. When it was...

    • GAME 98 2001: Dogs Salvage a Season
      (pp. 317-321)

      One hundred years after the first game between Mississippi A&M and the University of Mississippi, things were right back where they started, more or less. Not far from the site of the first game—a makeshift gridiron at the old fairgrounds—Ole Miss and Mississippi State (then known as Mississippi A&M) faced off for the ninety-eighth time, with the 6–3 Rebels trying to salvage their bowl hopes and the 2–7 Bulldogs trying to salvage respect.

      For the fourth consecutive Thanksgiving night, ESPN was beaming the Egg Bowl nationwide. State was opening its grand new east-side addition that enabled...

    • GAME 99 2002: Fant and Manning Battle It Out
      (pp. 322-326)

      Not since 1996 had both the Rebels (5–6) and the Bulldogs (3–8) come into the Egg Bowl with subpar records. But disappointing seasons did not mean that nothing was riding on the game: a win would make the Rebels eligible for a bowl game, a situation motivating both teams. The game also featured a rematch between two quarterbacks slowed by injury but nevertheless stellar—Ole Miss’s Eli Manning, the Southeastern Conference’s leading passer, and Mississippi State’s Kevin Fant. With both teams near the bottom of the conference in rushing, the game promised to be an aerial duel between...

    • GAME 100 2003: One Hundred and Going Strong
      (pp. 327-331)

      On an evening when even the chill of falling rain couldn’t cool the heat generated by the rivalry between the Rebels and the Bulldogs, ESPN-TV allowed the entire nation to witness the one hundredth meeting between the schools. The more than fifty-three thousand spectators plus millions more at home watched as Ole Miss jumped out to a first-half lead and then used a stifling defense to cruise to a 31–0 shutout.

      For the third straight year, the game promised to be a battle between Bulldog quarterback Kevin Fant and Rebel signal-caller Eli Manning, who were rewriting their schools’ passing...

    • GAME 101 2004: Throw Away the Book
      (pp. 332-335)

      “The book” said that the Bulldogs would literally run over the Rebels. The Mississippi State offense was averaging 167 yards rushing per game, while the Ole Miss defense was surrendering an average of 30 yards more than that per game—and had given up 287 rushing yards per outing over the past three games. Moreover, Bulldog running back Jerious Norwood had gone over the 100-yard mark in four of State’s past five games.

      But when Ole Miss and State meet, you can throw away the book. The Rebels limited the Bulldogs to just 70 yards on the ground, with Norwood...

    • GAME 102 2005: Jerious Norwood
      (pp. 336-339)

      A senior halfback with impressive speed and a special knack for breaking tackles rushed for 204 yards and matched a 97-year-old Maroon record in this rivalry by scoring four touchdowns in State’s one-sided 35–14 win. Without Jerious Norwood, Bulldog coach Sylvester Croom declared unequivocally, “we wouldn’t have won.” The win broke the Bulldogs’ seven-game season losing streak, their string of three straight losses to Ole Miss, and their four-year, nineteen-game skid in the Southeastern Conference Western Division.

      Outside the stadium stood four large trucks collecting coats and blankets for the needy, particularly those who had lost their homes and...

    • GAME 103 2006: Right Down to the Wire
      (pp. 340-343)

      Not until the last play was the seventy-ninth Battle of the Golden Egg decided: a 51–yard Bulldog field goal attempt that sailed wide left as the final horn sounded.

      The Rebels, favored by 3, never trailed. The Bulldogs came into Oxford on a beautiful, sunny afternoon with a 3–8 record that included three 3–point losses. The Rebels, also 3–8, had dropped four games by 6 points or less. Though both teams had had disappointing seasons, pride, as always, was primary.

      The crowd of 57,685 watched as Ole Miss turned the opening kickoff into a 56-yard, six-play...

    • GAME 104 2007: The Value of a Single Play
      (pp. 344-348)

      It could be argued that never in the 104-year-old series has one solitary play meant so much to so many—on both sides of the field. For one team it meant an improbable comeback and a postseason bowl game; for the other . . . well, a winless season in the Southeastern Conference and a new head coach.

      Adam Carlson blasted a bloody-foot 48-yard field goal with only twelve seconds remaining to give Mississippi State a 17–14 victory in the 104th renewal of this storied rivalry. Carlson’s field goal—the longest of his career—capped a 17-point rally for...

    • GAME 105 2008: “Total Domination” on Both Sides of the Ball
      (pp. 349-354)

      Ole Miss made Houston Nutt’s first Egg Bowl a game to remember—and Sylvester Croom’s final one a game he’d rather forget. The Rebels scored on their first four offensive drives and their defense decimated Mississippi State to give Nutt, their first-year coach, a 45–0 victory in a rare Friday afternoon contest.

      Jevan Snead, a sophomore quarterback, threw four touchdown passes, and the Ole Miss defense held the Bulldogs to 37 total yards and a minus-51 yards rushing. “Total domination,” was Nutt’s description, “and it starts with our defense.”

      Technically, this one started with the offense—with Snead hooking...

    • GAME 106 2009: Dixon and Relf Too Hard to Handle
      (pp. 355-358)

      Another first-year coach, another dominating win. This time it was Mississippi State pounding, giving their new leader Dan Mullen a 41–27 victory over Ole Miss in his first Egg Bowl, before a sellout crowd of 55,365 at Davis Wade Stadium.

      While the Bulldogs’ defense limited the Rebels’ running game to only 90 yards, their offense pile-drived to 412 total yards, including 317 on the ground. The one-two punch of tailback Anthony Dixon and quarterback Chris Relf proved too much for the Rebels. Dixon rushed for 133 yards and became State’s single-season rushing leader with 1,391 yards. Relf came off...

  8. Appendixes

  9. Index
    (pp. 385-398)