The Egg Bowl Remembered with Don Smith

#15 Don Smith took the snaps for the Bulldogs between the years of 1983 and 1986. The dual threat quarterback is fourth All-Time at MSU in career passing yards. Smith's 1985 campaign was the second most prolific season ever for a Bulldog passer. Don went on to play five seasons in the NFL and scored a touchdown for the Buffalo Bills in Superbowl XXV. Don now give us his Egg Bowl memories.

SR: Don, thanks for taking the time out to speak to me. I know I speak on behalf of all Bulldog fans when I say you are one of our Maroon and White legends.

DS: Thanks, I really appreciate you saying that.

SR: Let's take a little time and talk about the Egg Bowl and what it means to people in Mississippi.

DS: Well, the main thing is it is for the state's bragging rights that we could have over Ole Miss for a whole year. No matter what our schedule or our record was the entire year this game was one we wanted to win. It was a game that could help us in recruiting and give us some Mississippi pride.

SR: When you look back over your own career what Egg Bowl games really stand out?

DS: I can tell you it was the one when we were in Jackson and Artie Cosby was kicking a field goal. We had a chance to win that game and the wind held that field goal up. I don't think the wind has ever blown that hard in Mississippi before. (laughs) He kicked that field goal and it got between the uprights and just kind of hovered there like a bird in the air. The wind blew it back. That was a tough loss for us.

SR: Now take me back a bit and talk about the emotions of that moment. You had called a couple of timeouts trying to let the wind die down and then the field goal still came up short.

DS: It was just one of those situations where you are just kind of in awe. You see the kick go up and we have had confidence in Cosby all year from that range. He had been Mr. Consistent or Mr. Clutch all season. We called those timeouts to try to make sure that the wind wasn't the reason that the field goal didn't go.

It just let all the air out of us. Here was a game that we had in our grasp and because of a freak of nature we lost it. (laughs) You can't question an act of God. It just wasn't meant for us. As good as we played, I guess it just wasn't meant to be.

Cosby had a real strong leg and he hit the ball well. I mean he had some torque on it and it hung up there for the longest. It was like time stood still for a few moments. I am sure a lot of fans remember that kick. I know I will never forget it.

SR: When I think of Don Smith I think of that guy streaking down the sidelines at Neyland Stadium to beat Tennessee. What are your fondest memories of your playing days?

DS: I will be totally honest. My best memories was the camradarie of meeting guys from all over more than a game. Getting to know the coaching staff and the family atmosphere that was there the entire four years that I was there. That's what I really look back on. It was an experience that I would extend to anyone who has the opportunity to go to college.

There is nothing better than going to college and getting to know guys from different walks of life. You learn a lot from different people with different cultural backgrounds. Garry Frank was from Wisconsin. Garry had never really been around a lot of African-Americans growing up and in high school. It was a lot different for him. He turned out to be one of the greatest guys and one of the greatest friends that you would ever want to meet. He is a class act guy all the way.

It was just great to get to know all of those guys. I still keep up with some of those guys I played ball with even today, like Tyrone Keyes.

Straton Karatassos is a lifelong friend. I would bet that just about every guy that has ever gone through Mississippi State calls Strat. When you have those personal problems in life, you know you can always call Strat and get advice from him. He is well respected throughout the Mississippi State organization.

I was blessed to have a succesful football career and I thank God for that. The appreciation from the fans means so much to me. I came back as an honorary captain for the Auburn game this year. The fans were very receptive and that really makes you feel good. To be able to come home and receive the love that the fans exemplified that day is wonderful, because it is so heart felt.

I love Mississippi State and I love the fans. If you talk to any of the guys that have played there, that's the thing we all appreciate the most. I know it's true for me.

SR: Speaking of the fans is there a game, other than the Tennesse game, that's an obvious one, where you feel you came through big for the fans?

DS: I would say when we played against Southern Mississippi and I had two touchdown runs back to back. That was one of the highlights of my career. I really enjoyed that one a lot. Those two exciting moments were really special.

SR: I believe that was your sophomore year in Jackson and State won 27-18.

DS: That is exactly right. It was my sophomore year and it was a big game for us.

SR: Let's talk a little about how you see the current state of Mississippi State football and what you expect for the future.

DS: Mississippi State is one of those teams that has some talent at some key positions. I think they are a couple of players away from having an Auburn or an Alabama claiber of team. I think Coach Croom is doing a wonderful job with those guys.

I think what really hurt them this year is when the quarterback got injured in the first game. That hurt them a lot. This kid had worked hard all summer to win the starting job and I am sure all of the guys had a lot of confidence in him. When you have have confidence in a player like him and then you lose him to injury, regardless of what some people may say, it does something to your psyche. It hurts your team. You have prepared for his style of play and now you don't have him.

Henig has great pocket presence. You can tell he has the right mindset in reading defenses and things like that. I am sure the offensive line had a lot of confidence in him. I know when I played in Buffalo, the lineman had confidence in Jim Kelley. I could see the line at MSU had confidence in him before he got hurt.

When he came back he looked really sharp and the team improved. If he can stay healthy next year, I believe they are just a couple of plays away from doing some really, really positive things there. I think the future of Mississippi State is promising.

I have been watching Mike play and he has the pocket presence you need to have at this level. He is the real deal. He is just one of those players that has just got it. The players and coaches knew that he had it and I feel his pain for him getting injured. I know he is depressed and that he wants to be out there with his team. He could come out next season and really do some good things. Mike is going to be fine.

For him to out and beat Alabama was very big for him. That just boosts his ego and gives him the confidence to know he can play with the big boys. This kid is really good.

This team should have beaten Georgia and should have beaten Kentucky. They are only a couple of plays away from having a really good season. If Henig can stay healthy, he could be special.

SR: So, what does Omarr have to do this weekend to be succesful and win the Egg Bowl?

DS: I have no doubt that Mississippi State is going to win. Omarr is due for one real big break out game. Hopefully he can put it all together this weekend. If he can play with a lot of confidence and stay within the system, I think he will be fine. I think if he can put some trust in his offensive line and put some trust in the players around him he will do well.

SR: So what are you doing for yourself now?

DS: I own my own installation business. I have a crew that installs carpet and I have a painting crew. I have another crew that goes out and sets up hotels and gets them ready for the public.

SR: Thanks for taking time out to do this Dom

DS: Not a problem and Go Dogs!

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