BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - In 2009 coach Dan Mullen's speech to Mississippi State fans following a 41-27 Bulldogs win over Ole Miss, still fires up Rebel coaches, players and fans.
Mullen exclaimed, "There's certainly one program in this state that is definitely on the rise going in the right direction, that's right here in Starkville!"
Ole Miss coach Houston Nutt told WLOX in August that statement and subsequent billboards boasting of the Bulldogs win didn't sit well with him and his staff. It didn't take long for the coaching staff to always remind Ole Miss players of the loss and they would do so once or twice a week.
Nutt said, "Actually it started back in January in winter workouts, spring workouts." He added, "That was a bitter bitter pill the last regular season game. And even our seniors that graduated that year...they would it bring up to our players, the younger players, they would say, ya'll have to do something next year."
The next year has arrived and Ole Miss players are eager for the annual Egg Bowl confrontation. Nutt will have his Rebels fired up for the game and if Ole Miss comes out and plays as well as it did in a 43-36 setback to 5th ranked LSU this past weekend, the Rebels have a shot at upsetting 25th ranked Mississippi State.
Bulldogs head coach Dan Mullen never says Ole Miss. It's not in his vocabulary. He admits rivalries are difficult and his goal is to beat that other school up North.
"I've never seen a big rivalry thing where everybody was buddy buddy. It doesn't seem to work out that way," Mullen stated. "Sure there's respect there but the respect is maybe kept inside a little bit more than being let shown at all times."
Mullen has Mississippi State on the right path. However two consecutive losses against Alabama and Arkansas has tapered some of the Bulldogs momentum. A win over Ole Miss would give the Bulldogs momentum and bragging rights for another year.
Mississippi State is rated a 3 point pick over Ole Miss.