Mississippi State claims bragging rights with win over Ole Miss in Egg Bowl

By A.J. Giardina – bio | email

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) -  The annual Egg Bowl has become a fierce rivalry.  There's no love lost between Mississippi State and Ole Miss.

Coach Houston Nutt's 4 and 7 Rebels were looking forward to this game, especially after the Bulldogs shocked the Rebels in Starkville last season.

Could Ole Miss upset the 7 and 4 Mississippi State Bulldogs?

It looked good early.  The Rebels recovered a fumble and  Ole Miss running back Jeff Scott exploded 16 yards for a touchdown.  The PAT failed and the Rebels led 6-0.

Mississippi State took control of the game in the second quarter.  Bulldogs quarterback Chris Relf fired a 15 yard touchdown strike to Chris Smith.  The PAT gave Mississippi State a one point lead 7-6.

The Rebels added a field goal before Chris Relf rolled to his right, pulled up and tossed a 33 yard touchdown pass to LaDarius Perkins.  Coach Mullen would call on the same duo and they responded.  Relf connected with Perkins on a 36 yard touchdown and the Bulldogs led 21 to 9.

It looked like the Bulldogs would run all over the Rebels when running back Vick Ballard of Pascagoula got the call, the ball and an 8 yard touchdown propelling Mississippi State in front 31 to 9.

It ain't over till it's over and Ole Miss would close the gap 31-23 late in the fourth quarter.  Jeremiah Masoli avoided a Rebels rush, stepped up and hit Ja-mes Logan on a 24 yard touchdown completion and Ole Miss had a ray of hope, trailing by 8 points with 4:21 remaining.

The Rebels defense forced a Mississippi State punt but the Bulldogs would put the clamps on Masoli, coming up with a sack on fourth-and-24 with 59.4 seconds left on the clock.

The 25th ranked Bulldogs wrapped up the 2010 Egg Bowl in Maroon and White.  That's two consecutive victories over their arch rivals.  Mississippi State closed out the regular season with 8 wins and 4 defeats.  The Rebels under Houston Nutt didn't live up to high expectations, especially after Masoli was ruled eligible to play for Ole Miss.  The Rebels ended the season with a disappointing 4-8 record.

"I give our seniors credit," Mullen said after the game. "They bought into everything we've tried to do. They believe in our program, believe in this coaching staff, everything we're tried to do. They've done an unbelievable job to get us do this point. "

Freshman running back Ladarius Perkins stood tall for the Bulldogs.  He caught three passes for 140 yards and two touchdowns.  He also rushed for 98 yards on 13 carries.

Masoli led Ole Miss (4-8, 1-7) with 261 yards passing, a touchdown and one interception.

Mississippi State (8-4, 4-4) finally defeated Ole Miss in Oxford.  The last time the Bulldogs beat the Rebels on the road was back in 1998.

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