Mississippi State University was founded on February 28, 1878, as the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Mississippi and located in Starkville.
They played their first football game in 1895, losing to Union
University 21-0. That same year they chose the colors of maroon and white but
had no mascot name. Football was so bad their first two season, they did not
score a point, so football was dropped between 1897 and 1900. A new team was
formed in 1901 under the mascot name of Aggies. The Aggies won their first
game over Ole Miss 17-0 in Starkville, and the rivalry began.
Mississippi State dominated this heated rivalry early on, in fact they won
fourteen straight games over the Flood between 1911 and 1926. Ole Miss broke
the streak in 1926, at Starkville with a 7-6 win over the Aggies, Flood fans
tried storming the field to tear down the goal posts and a brawl broke out.
The two schools decided to adopt a trophy the winner would display until the
next meeting, thus began the Egg Bowl Trophy. Ole Miss has dominated
Mississippi State since the first Egg Bowl in 1927, winning 50, losing 20
and tying 5.
The Aggies chose a new mascot name in 1940, becoming the Mississippi State
Maroons. This lasted until 1961, when they chose to play under the nickname
of Bulldogs. The combined record of the Aggies, Maroons and Bulldogs is 469
wins, 505 losses and 39 ties. They have won no national championships and
one SEC Championship way back in 1941. MSU has had 38 players designated
All-Americans in college football.
The Bulldogs play in Davis Wade Stadium, Scott Field. The stadium was
initially built in 1924, and is the second oldest stadium in Division One
football. The capacity today is 55,082. MSU has never had an
undefeated-untied season, the closest was 1940, when the Maroons went
Mississippi State enters this week's Egg Bowl game with a 2-8 record, 0-7 in
the SEC. State opened the season with a win at home over Murray State 38-6,
then lost at Auburn 28-0. The Bulldogs won over Tulane 21-14 and have since
lost seven straight games, including Georgia 23-10, LSU 51-0, Florida 35-9,
Houston for homecoming 28-16, Kentucky 13-7, Alabama 17-0 and last Saturday
at Arkansas 44-10. In common opponents with Ole Miss, MSU is 0-5 while the
Rebels are 1-4. Ole Miss beat Kentucky 13-7.
This will be the 102nd meeting between Ole Miss and Mississippi State and
the 78th game played as the Egg Bowl. Ole Miss leads the overall series
58-37-6. In games played in Starkville, the Rebels lead the series 20-9-3.
74% of the time, the team leading at halftime has gone on to win the game.
Last year in Oxford, the Rebels won 20-3.
Head coach of the Mississippi State Bulldogs is Sylvester Croom. Croom, in
his second season, has a record of 5-15 and is 0-1 versus Ole Miss.
after the Alabama loss, Croom predicted MSU would "beat Ole Miss' butt."
Croom played and later coached under Bear Bryant at Alabama. He coached in
the pros at Tampa Bay, San Diego, Indianapolis, Detroit and Green Bay before
taking over the Bulldog program.
Statistically, the Bulldogs and Rebels are evenly matched. Both teams have
trouble scoring points and both teams have trouble stopping their opponents
on third down. Mississippi State has given up 36 quarterback sacks on the season
and the Bulldogs have the SEC's best pass rusher, Willie Evans, who has 13 sacks.
Offensively, the Bulldogs are a 2-back set team with Jerrious Norwood as
their featured running back. State's offensive coordinator-quarterbacks
coach is Woody McCorvey, a 1972 graduate of Alabama State where he played
QB. McCorvey coached at Clemson, Alabama, South Carolina and Tennessee prior
to joining Croom at State.
MSU will likely start 2 seniors, 2 juniors, 2
sophomores, 3 redshirt freshmen and 2 true freshmen on offense. The Bulldogs
offensive line averages 311 per man. Their run-pass ratio is about five runs
for every four passes. Key MSU offensive players include:
- QB 7 Michael Henig, rFr., 6-0, 175 - 49-of-115 for 516y, 42.6%, 0 tds, 4
int, his net rushing is (-86) yards
- QB 14 Omar Conner, Jr., 6-0, 220 - 86-of-167 for 903y, 51.5%, 8 tds, 5
int, played WR at Arkansas
- TB 12 Jerrious Norwood, Sr., 6-0, 205 - 157 carries, 932 yards, 5.9
average, caught 18 passes for 91 yards
- FB 41 Bryson Davis, Jr., 6-1, 265 - 5r-9 - 1.8 ave, caught 11 for 71 yards
- FL 11 Will Prosser, Jr., 6-3, 205 - 28 receptions, 286 yards, 10.2 average
- SE 19 Tee Milons, Sr., 5-9, 171 - 18 receptions, 214 yards, 11.9 average
- C 50 Chris McNeil, Sr., 6-4, 295 - Won the Bulldog Award in the Spring.
Defensively, Mississippi State is a 4-3-4 team. Their defensive
coordinator-defensive backs coach is Ellis Johnson, a 1975 graduate of The
Citadel where he played defensive end. Johnson coached at East Carolina,
Southern Miss, Alabama, Clemson and The Citadel prior to coming to MSU.
State will likely start 2 seniors, 5 juniors, 3 sophomores and 1 true
freshman. The Bulldogs' defensive line averages 275 pounds per man, their
linebackers 222 and defensive backs 193. The Dogs' defense has 26 sacks and
eight interceptions. Key defensive players include:
- MLB 2 Quetin Culberson, Jr. 6-2, 220 - 46 solo + 26 assist, 72 total
- FS 34 Jermaine Johnson, Jr. 5-11, 210 - 44 solo + 19 assist, 63 total
- LE 36 Willie Evans, Sr., 6-2, 270 - 37 solo + 16 assist, 53 total, 13
sacks is best in SEC
- LC 4 Kevin Dockery, Sr., 5-9, 185 - 33 solo + 16 assist, 49 total
- SLB 29 Clarence McDougal, Sr., 6-0, 220 - 31 solo + 17 assist, 48 total
Key special teams players for MSU include:
Punter - # 43 Blake McAdams, Fr. - 65 punts, 42.0 average
Punt Returns - # 10 Jonathan Lowe, So. - 5.3 average per return, Norwood and
Pegues could return punts
Place Kicker - # 37 Adam Carlson, rFr. - 2-3 FG, 2-2 PAT
KO Returns - # 3 Derek Pegues, Fr. - 28 returns, 20.0 average, long 51
THOUGHTS: This will be an emotional game as all Egg Bowls are. The Rebels need
to score early and take the home crowd out of the game. The Rebels cannot let the
Bulldogs hang around and build momentum. The Rebels must contain Norwood and get
pressure on Henig. Ole Miss' special teams must play better.
Whatever the outcome, look for this to be a better-than-average football game despite the records of the two teams. The intensity level will be high.