Charles Clark gears up one last time for Rebs

Charles Clark knows this is it. This is his last Egg Bowl game. This is his last football game in college.

The 6-foot, 195-pound senior from Green Cove Springs, Fla., says wrapping things up in this year's Egg Bowl is important to him, although he didn't know too much about the rivalry when he was growing up in Florida.

"It means a great deal," he said of the game between Ole Miss and Mississippi State. "When I first got here, that was the first thing I heard my freshman year. ‘Are y'all going to beat State?' I knew then it was a big rivalry. Me being from Florida, I knew about Florida-Florida State. These type games are big."

Forget that the Rebs and the Dogs are 3-8 for a moment with only one Southeastern Conference win each. This one matters.

"Emotions run high," Clark said. "No matter how your season has been, you have to get up. This is the last game. You want to go out with a win."

Clark is 2-1 in Egg Bowls so far. He and the Rebels won the first two – 31-0 at State and 20-3 at Ole Miss – but lost last season 35-14 at MSU.

"My freshman year we knew we were going to a big bowl game," he said. "Winning (over State) was icing that year. But these last few years, we haven't been fortunate enough to go to a bowl game. You always want to finish the year off with a win, wherever that is. And that is this Saturday here."

Clark knows Mississippi State will show up ready for war.

"They're a good team that is dangerous. In the SEC they've showed they can beat anybody. They won at Alabama. They'll be up for this game and give it their best shot. We have similar teams. We both have three wins. Both teams will be high and ready to play."

Clark says another losing season wears on you as it does the whole team. But he likes the fact that the Rebels have stuck together and fought and almost pulled off several big wins, like last Saturday night's 23-20 OT loss at LSU.

"For the most part we've stayed together as a team, even during the rough times," he said. "We've been getting better this season and staying positive for the most part. We've had to do that, and it seems to be paying off.

"It's not tough to come back and play again this week. We went down to LSU and left it all on the field. But after that game was over, it was time to look ahead. We have to gear it up one more time and leave it all out there on the field again, this time for the whole season.

"Coach O preaches staying positive, to come in on Monday after a win or a loss and move on. To work each day and come back the next week ready to play. Put everything behind you and move on."

On Saturday, Clark and the Rebels will do just that one last time in 2006.

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