Dan Mullen may not be from Mississippi, but he has certainly been able to rekindle the annual rivalry between Mississippi State and Ole Miss known as the Egg Bowl.
During his seven-year tenure as coach, Mullen has been able to incite Bulldog fans while also antagonizing his neighbors to the north.
“When I got here, I wanted to make sure everybody knew how big a game this was for us,” Mullen said. “I think it’s a big game for our fan base and for everybody. In rivalry games you get a year’s worth of bragging rights, especially when it’s an in-state rivalry.”
Mullen owns a 4-2 record against the Rebels and has never lost in Starkville, which is the site of this year’s game at 6:15 p.m. on ESPN2. Since 2004, the home team has won all but one game in the series.
“At church on Sunday there’s either going to be a lot of maroon or a lot of red and blue being worn,” Mullen said. “But God’s going to smile on all of us the same after the game. The people that are wearing the winning colors will probably think he’s smiling just a little bit more at them.”
The Rebels are No. 19 while MSU is 23rd in the polls. Both teams enter with 8-3 records and could potentially be playing for a shot at a Sugar Bowl bid.
“It’s become a significant game,” said MSU cornerback Taveze Calhoun. “But we’re playing against them just for bragging rights for our fans and get that trophy back. It’s definitely the biggest game of the year for us.”
Ole Miss owns a 62-43-6 lead in the series and a 20-14-3 mark in Starkville, although its last win at Davis Wade Stadium was in 2003.
The Rebels reclaimed the Golden Egg Trophy last year in Oxford, rolling up 532 yards of offense in a 31-17 victory. Ole Miss trailed 10-7 early in the second half but answered with 17 straight points to end the third quarter and take the momentum.
Rebels running back Jaylen Walton rushed for 148 yards and a touchdown, and tight end Evan Engram had 176 receiving yards.
State had 445 yards in the game, with Dak Prescott accounting for 330 yards and two touchdowns, while De’Runnya Wilson caught eight passes for 117 yards and a score.
It took overtime the last time the two Magnolia State schools met in Starkville. Prescott came off the bench in the fourth quarter to tie the game at 10 and plowed his way into the end zone on fourth down to begin the overtime period.
Nickoe Whitley then stripped Bo Wallace of the ball at the goal line, and Jamerson Love recovered in the end zone to give the Bulldogs a 17-10 win.