Rebels Run Away

Defensive Coordinator Dave Wommack and Offensive Coordinator Dan Werner couldn't have been more pleased with the way the Rebels played in their 41-24 Egg Bowl victory.

In the first half of the Egg Bowl Saturday night in Vaught-Hemingway Stadium, the Ole Miss defense missed a couple of basic assignments that resulted in two big plays for Mississippi State.

DC Dave Wommack did not panic at halftime.

"We told them if they would just make sure they did their assignments, we would shut them down in the second half," said Wommack. "I could see it from the pres box.

"We were able to slow their run game down without using extra people in the box and we were able to get pressure with a four-man rush. That's a winning formula is you just do your assignments correctly and don't make silly busts."

After giving up 218 yards in the first half, the Rebel defense heeded Wommack's advice and allowed only 115 yards in the second half, 75 of those coming at the very end of the game with the Rebels in a soft, prevent look.

"I was proud of them. I told them at halftime this was it. It was all or nothing and this was the last time they would put on their pads for a long time, some of them forever, if they didn't quit making senseless mistakes," he said. "They came out focused nd played one snap at a time and just completely shut down the MSU offense until the very end when it didn't matter and they were celebrating a little."

Mississippi State rushed for only 30 total yards on 25 attempts, a 1.2 yard average.

"In the first half they it us on a counter where the LB slid the wrong way, but other than that, they didn't get much going," Wommack explained. "Every time they rushed for less than a hundred yards, they lost and every time they rushed for over a hundred yards, they won. That held true tonight too.

"(DL Coach) Chris (Kiffin) told me he thought his front four could stop the run and get pressure on the QB, so we didn't have to get fancy or send extra people much. When we would stop their run, we were able to cut the rush loose and got several three-and-outs."

Donte Moncrief
US Presswire

This one was really sweet for Wommack for many reasons.

"In my heart, I knew we were due to finish a game. We started getting better about midway through the season and then we had a rash of injuries," he explained. "Those kids missed valuable reps and some game time that threw us out of our rhythm.

"But they were tough and kept coming back and kept bouncing back from injury and heartbreaking loses. I knew with their determination that they were due and it paid off tonight."

Chad Bumphis was able to sting the Rebels a couple of times in the first half, but got very little action in the second half.

"Chad is a a great receiver but his two big catches came on busts. We didn't bust in the second half," Dave stated. "I really like Tyler Russell too. He's a fine QB, but we were able to hit him a bunch in the second half and take him out of his game."

Wommack said this win was deserved.

"The way these kids competed all year and bought in with what we were teaching them, even with a bunch of heartbreak, this is a special group. This is a group that cared about each other and about their university," he closed. "I could not be prouder of them."

Werner said the offensive formula was simple - run the ball and open up the pass.

The Rebs rushed for 233 yards and kept the Bulldogs on their heels with their balance and their tempo.

"Those big defensive linemen didn't like the tempo game and when we gashed them with the run several times, that opened up the passing game," Werner said. "We were not fancy - we were just solid.

"Our offensive linemen wore down their DL, our receivers were excellent, Bo came around in the second half after three turnovers in the first half and Jeff Scot, Randall Mackey and Barry Brunetti ran the ball hard and effectively. By the end of the third quarter, State appeared to be out of gas and we kept going at them with the tempo. It ate them up."

Once the run game got going, State was easy pickings in the passing game and Donte Moncrief feasted with three TD receptions and 173 yards receiving.

"He's just a big time player. Special. What else can I say?" he asked. "With us running the ball, they couldn't double him and he can't be covered by one guy, in my opinion."

Randall Mackey
Bruce Newman

The Rebs "ate them up" to the tune of 527 yards of total offense and basically had their way with the Bulldogs.

"If we hadn't had those three careless turnovers, this one could have been really one-sided," Werner noted. "The kids were really focused all week and we put in a lot of time this week.

"There was a lot on the line for us tonight - the rivalry, the bowl at stake, our pride. We hunkered down on this one for sure."

Werner said he told the offense at halftime that if they would simply take care of the ball, this game was in the bag.

"I could feel it. The tempo was wearing them down and the only time we were stopped is when we stopped ourselves. We played terrible in the first half and it was still tied at halftime," he noted. "I told them to just play decent and we would walk away with this game. By decent I meant no turnovers because the plays were there to be made.

"The first two drives of the second half produced a field goal and a TD. It was of to the races then.

And the Egg came home. . . .

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