"It means a lot, " Gerri Green said of the annual grudge match between Mississippi State and Ole Miss. "This is the game that we look forward to just to go out there and represent for the school that you chose. I chose Mississippi State and I am playing to win. I want to win."
For players who have grown up in the Magnolia State, the battle for the Golden Egg is something that remains a topic of conversation all year long. While other games are big and impact the overall win/loss record, no big year is complete without the Egg.
"It's big," Green offered. "Growing up in Mississippi, you have to pick a side and then stick with that side, so that's why it is so important to get the 'W' this weekend."
The Rebels bring a unique set of challenges, despite having some of their top offensive weapons on the shelf. The Bulldogs will prepare for a talented freshman quarterback, Shea Patterson, as well as a lengthy group of wide receivers. Green reports that he has been impressed by what he has seen from the true freshman signal caller in Oxford.
"They are an explosive offense," Green said of the Rebels. "They are always clicking with the big time receivers. Shea Patterson has shown that he is going to be their future quarterback. He has done well in these last two games. He is someone that we are going to have to look out for to make sure that their offense doesn't get to rolling."
While the Rebels are battling a pretty severe bout with the injury bug, Green expects the long time Bulldog rivals to be ready to come play come Saturday afternoon.
"They are a good team and we know that they are going to bring the intensity," Green said. "We are going to have to match their intensity and go out there and fight this weekend."
Ole Miss will look to send their seniors off with a win in their final home game. Given the same opportunity last weekend, Mississippi State was unable to seal the deal. The Bulldogs will now look to send their seniors out with a win on the road in Oxford and with the chance to best their arch-rivals one final time.
"It would mean a lot to be able to do that," Green said of bringing home the Golden Egg. "It is still disappointing that we weren't able to get them a win in their last time in Davis Wade Stadium. So to get a win this weekend in the Egg Bowl, I know it would mean a lot to those guys to finish their careers that way."
In order to fill a bowl slot, Mississippi State needs some help, in fact, a lot of help. The first step towards earning a bowl bid with a 5-7 record is to beat Ole Miss on Saturday. By securing a victory, the Bulldogs could be selected providing their Graduation APR rank is among the top four of the 5-7 teams at season's end.
For now, State must be content to play spoiler and then hope for the best. The realization that the Bulldogs were likely out of the bowl picture really set in with Green on Sunday.
"It was a downer. You feel like you put in so much work and now you're not going to get that chance to find enough wins to get bowl eligible," Green shared. "It hurts, but it makes a guy like me who has more eligibility want to get in the weight room and work even harder this off-season."
The past two weeks have not been the best of days for the Mississippi State defense. While the season has had its' ups and downs, the last two games have been brutal for a defense that has struggled to find a real sense of itself. Green hopes that his unit can put it all together and find a way to end the year on a high note.
"We know that we are capable of it. We've put it on film," Green shared. "We have shown that we are capable of being a good defense. We just have to put that defense on the field this weekend and then end the season with that defense going into the off-season. We feel like if we can do that then we are going to have a good day on Saturday."
Mississippi State and Ole Miss will tee it up and kick it off on Saturday at 2:30. The SEC Network will handle the broadcast duties. The Rebels are a touchdown favorite according to most odds makers.