Ole Miss rolls in Egg Bowl win

STARKVILLE, Miss. - Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze and select players met the media following the Rebels' 38-27 win over Mississippi State.

QB Chad Kelly:

On his performance in the Egg Bowl: “It’s huge to get a win in this game. It means everything to this university, to our players. I’m just excited to be a part of this great team.” On Kelly running more: “Just more designed runs. That’s it, and sometimes when it’s not there you’ve got to tuck it and run.” On the team’s performance: “I thought we did good. I missed on a couple of things, a couple of over-routes. It’s another SEC game, another hard-fought win. Coming into someone else’s stadium and coming out with a victory is huge.” On picking up his fumble and gaining 17 yards: “I saw a big hole, and I don’t know how it slipped out or if someone hit it or whatever. I had to get back on it, and I did.” On the designed run plays for him: “I’m not really sure. Coach Freeze just kind said ‘Hey, we’re going to start running you more.’” On Damore’ea Stringfellow: “Huge. He’s big, aggressive. Just a big target, huge weapon. I’m glad he’s on my team.” On the season overall: “It was a good season. We lost a heartbreaker to Arkansas, of course. We win that, we’re in the SEC championship right now. Besides that, though, there’s always room for improvement, but we did good. We came out with a victory in two of our rivalry games. There’s always room for improvement. Next year, that’s what we’re going to keep doing; we’re going to keep working.” On being the first Ole Miss QB since Eli Manning to win in Starkville: “It’s a huge honor. There’s been some great quarterbacks and players who’ve come through here. Being one of those guys that comes to a hostile environment and win is huge.” On his regular season: “It was good. As the season went on, I got even more comfortable. I was hitting about my fifth read tonight. Going through my progressions. I wish I could have done that more earlier in the season. But from a personal level, I think I did a good job. I give all the credit to my offensive line and the players around me. They’re great players. I’m happy that they were on my team this year.”

LB C.J. Johnson:

On the win: “It means a lot. People from back home, all the grief I’ve gotten for this game. It’s great to come out with a win.” On carrying the Egg around, keeping it: “It means a lot. This is a big game in this state, not only for our fans but their fans as well. It’s always great when you can win this game. There’s another 365 games you get to talk about it. Anytime you win a game on the road in the SEC, it’s a great win. But to do it in a rivalry game like we did tonight, that was awesome.” On winning in Starkville for the first time since 2003: “They told us all week it doesn’t matter. Our environment changes, but we don’t. That’s something that we preached all week. That’s what we did tonight.” On getting pressure on Dak Prescott: “I think it was a combination of a lot of things, and I think a lot of it had to do with our ability to rush the passer. I don’t think they did a good job of blocking us. (Ole Miss defensive line) coach (Chris) Kiffin did a great job of getting us in certain calls to rush the quarterback the whole game. We did what we do. We took a lot from the Alabama film. We knew we’d probably get a similar game plan that what they got. Watching that game definitely helped us out a lot, and we were able to do some of things they did.” On the season: “Starting in August we were thinking championship. To think we were a 4th-and-25 play away from being in Atlanta, I think it shows how these guys fought. It’s tough to play 10-straight games, especially in the SEC. To come out and finish in a rivalry game and dominate like we did, I thought that was a great bounce-back for us.” On the bowl game: “To be honest, as long as it’s somewhere sunny.”

RB Jordan Wilkins: 

On if Chad Kelly’s play opens up the running game: “It does. Chad’s just a baller. He makes incredible plays, opens things up for us. Sometimes you’ll be like, ‘What is he doing?’ And then oh, dang. Chad’s just a baller. What he does helps our team our tremendously.” On his 39-yard touchdown run: “Just an inside-zone type of play. The o-line opened it up perfectly for me. I just tried to get in there and do what I can do. I think there was one defender left. I made him miss and scored a touchdown.” On if he considered the run the dagger: “You never know. Crazy things happen in football. Kind of try to stay level-headed and remember there’s still the whole fourth quarter to go.” On the game: “Coaches had a great game plan for us. We came out and tried to execute it to the best of our ability. We prepared really hard all week. That showed out on the field.”

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