Johnson, Myles Share Common Goal

Robert Johnson and Gabe Myles wear the same school colors, sit in the same meetings and run a lot of the same plays, but when it comes to the Battle for the Golden Egg the pair of Bulldogs are different. Myles, the son of former Bulldog great Eddie Myles, grew up rooting against the Rebels and for daddy's alma mater, Mississippi State. Johnson came around much later.

"I didn't really catch on to the Egg Bowl until one of (Sylvester) Croom's last years, when we had the punt return by (Derek) Pegues," said Johnson. "I was just really a college football fan and it wasn't really a state thing to me back then. I was just a football fanatic. I didn't pay a lot of attention to the Mississippi State and Ole Miss thing when I was growing up."

The "Mississippi State and Ole Miss thing" was a very big deal in the Myles' household. Redshirt freshman Gabe Myles cut his teeth in the shadows of Davis Wade Stadium and eventually led Starkville High School to a state championship.

Born and bred a Bulldog, Myles learned early in life that the battle for in state supremacy was fierce.

"The day that I was born, I was born into this rivalry," Myles explained. "I will always bleed Maroon."

While Myles and Johnson both signed on with Mississippi State eventually, both were heavily recruited by Ole Miss. For Johnson the pursuit from the Rebels went into the final weeks of January as the folks in Oxford worked overtime to get the Oak Grove superstar on campus for an official visit.

"During recruiting, I really started getting down in to it," said Johnson. "I made the decision to come here. In the end, it got pretty wild. I just sat down and talked about which school was the best for me. State was just the perfect one for me. It's just family here and I have family in Starkville. There was really no other decision that would have been right for me."

Myles made his decision much earlier in the process, but he gave the Rebels an honest look before following in his father's footsteps to Mississippi State.

"When I sat down and thought about my decision, I tried to set the rivalry aside," Myles shared. "At the end of the day, it had to be about my education and about what I planned to major in. I weighed all of my options and looked at what would be best for me after football too.

"In the end, I always wanted to be a Bulldog, so I had to be in the Maroon and White. It is where my heart is."

While Johnson, a fifth year senior will be playing in his final Egg Bowl, Myles will be playing in his first. The talented freshman expects the battle to be intense.

"I expect a hard fought game," Myles explained. "We hate each other. You have to keep your mind in the game. I know that there is going to be a lot of trash talking. They are going to try to throw us off of our game. I expect this to be the hardest fought game that I have ever played in, but it's going to be fun."

While supporters of both teams are locked into a year round battle of bitterness, Myles reports that he will have some friends on the other sideline this Saturday. While those friendships are important to him, he will set those aside until after the final horn sounds.

"I played with Kailo Moore, Derrick Jones and Tony (Conner) in the All-Star game," said Myles. "I kind of know them, but we'll speak after the game. We're not friends on the field. They chose to go to Ole Miss.

"They will be my friends after the game, but the other guys over there that I don't know I guess you would say I have hatred for them. They're in the wrong color jersey."

With a win over Ole Miss, Mississippi State will clinch at least a share of the SEC Western Division title and potentially a berth in the FBS college football playoffs. Myles reports that the rivalry removes any chances of the Bulldogs looking ahead to what may come.

"We are going to give all we got this week regardless of what else there is," Myles said. "There is no question that we will give all we have in this game. This is the most important game of the year. We will give everything to win this game.

"Everybody has their eyes set on the mission. We want to keep the Egg Bowl trophy here. There is a real quiet aggression around here. Everybody knows what we have to do."

While Johnson and Myles arrived in Starkville at different times with different views of the Battle for the Golden Egg, they share a common goal this Saturday.

Johnson reports that despite what the Bulldogs have accomplished this season by winning three games against top ten opponents and riding the top spot in the national polls for five weeks, that there is still a very important check mark to make on the 2014 Bulldog check list.

"This season will be complete with a win over Ole Miss," said Johnson. "We have to win this game. It's a must. I couldn't live with a loss."

The Bulldogs will travel to Ole Miss this weekend for the 111th meeting between the two schools as the favorite. The game will be broadcast nationally on CBS Sports at 2:30 central.

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