You would be hard pressed to find a more spirited competitor or a player more respected in the history of MSU football than John Bond. It would take far more words and time that I can possibly type to explain how important John Bond was to Mississippi State football. So, I'll let someone who coached him explain his importance, Emory Bellard.
"People really don't understand how great a quarterback John Bond was. I believe he was the first quarterback in the history of the NCAA to throw and pass for over 2,000 yards. He was one heck of a player. He could throw it well and was a fine runner. I don't believe you could have found a better quarterback in the entire NCAA than John Bond."
[The legendary John Bond was gracious enough to spend some time with me to discuss his Egg Bowl experiences. Here are John's Egg Bowl memories.-Steve]
John, when you hear the words Egg Bowl what immediately comes to mind?
"Well, I whipped them four times and they won two (laughs). I was born in Starkville and grew up with the rivalry, so I know what it means to people. You play a lot of games, but this one is the big daddy. No matter how your season went you could mend a lot of wounds by winning the Egg Bowl."
When you think about your four Egg Bowl experiences which do you remember the most, the ones you won or the ones you lost?
"Well, I'll be honest I remember those two that got away more ('81,'83). That was a very bitter pill to swallow and it still is. We lost the one with the blown field goal and lost another on a pass interference call."
Coach Bellard told me a similar story. Were you aware that the SEC office sent a letter claiming that they may have made a mistake on that call?
"Yeah, I sure was. I was in Canada and ESPN was just a fledgling network. ESPN was reporting about the letter and I immediately called Coach. You know there were like 60,000 people in that stadium that day and that official was the only person who saw that call that way. Even to this day I have Ole Miss people come up to me and say that was a bad call."
What about 1980?
"1980 was my freshman year and it was wet, rainy and nasty and everybody was mad at each other. It was just like any other Egg Bowl. Two teams fighting hard to get a win. After that game I was The Clarion-Ledger Player-of-the-Week, the national Back-of-the-Week and the Sports Illustrated Player-of-the-Week. The score was close, but we should have won by a larger margin. I had a touchdown run called back and a few other things here or there. I did have a 60-yard run in that game that really got things going."
Would that run be your fondest Egg Bowl memory?
"Oh, yeah that's it without a doubt."
"The 1982 team had the best offense that MSU has ever had. A lot of people probably don't realize that. We put up a lot of points that year. The thing I remember about that game was nobody on that team was thinking about the next level (NFL). All they were focused on was winning the Egg Bowl. Walking off the field that day felt great. You've got people slapping you on the back and giving you high fives because you had just whipped the Rebels. Shoot, I'm like those ole timers, I'd try to whip them in tiddly winks."
Living here in Baton Rouge I know you're not a real popular guy around these parts. If I understand correctly you are the only quarterback in the history of the SEC to sweep the LSU Tigers all four years as a starting quarterback.
"Unless Stan White (from Auburn) did it I think that's right, but I'm not sure if Stan started all four years. What's funny is that I met a guy down there with the Shriner's that's a huge Tulane fan. He asked me to be the grand marshall in a parade because he said, 'JB you're the ultimate Tiger killer' (laughs)."
(Editors note: Stan White played QB at Auburn from 1990-93 and did not play against LSU in '90 or '91)
I know you still follow the program very closely. What do you feel about the overall direction of the program?
"We are going in the right direction. Coach Croom has a great lineage. He knows what we want and what we need. He is not a person who is going to bend the rules and he will bring in the honest and hardworking players we all want at MSU. Coach Croom will not compromise. I think we will all have a program we can be proud of."
John Bond, one of the most beloved players in MSU history, beat then No. 1 ranked Alabama as a true freshman in 1980. He played in the 1980 Sun Bowl and the 1981 Hall of Fame Bowl and earned Most Valuable Player in both. He also helped lead MSU to two top 20 finishes in the Associated Press' season-ending poll. John later came back to MSU and worked as a graduate assistant and now resides near where he grew up in the shadows of Davis Wade Stadium.
See you at the Egg Bowl and here's wishing our team a big Bulldog victory.
Steve Robertson writes The Robertson Report for the Dawgs' Bite, Powered by GenesPage.com website. Steve's email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.