Woe and Eight

STARKVILLE - Coach Ed Orgeron walked into the media room adjacent to Scott Field and didn't wait to sit down or hear a question. He simply began speaking about what was on everyone's mind.

"Obviously it was a turning point on that fourth down call when we went for it," Orgeron stated. "We didn't get it done, and it seemed to turn the tide."

It most assuredly did.

Mississippi State (7-5, 4-4) woke up after 50-plus minutes of slumber to score 17 unanswered points in the final 7:51 and snatch the Golden Egg from the Rebels' grasp with an improbable 17-14 victory in front of 51,727. MSU is headed to a postseason bowl, while Ole Miss (3-9, 0-8) finishes the year winless in the SEC for the first time since 1982.

The Rebels were comfortably in control with a two-touchdown advantage and faced a 4th-and-1 at their own 49 at the ten-minute mark of the final quarter. BenJarvus Green-Ellis took the handoff on the left side but was quickly bottled up by a host of Bulldogs. The possession changed, and so did the momentum.

MSU converted three of its final four drives into scores and sent the maroon-clad crowd into euphoria with a 48-yard game-winning field goal by Adam Carlson as just 12 seconds remained on the clock.

Following Green-Ellis' unsuccessful fourth down effort, State drove 46 yards in six plays and cut the lead to seven with a 4-yard strike from Wesley Carroll to Anthony Dixon.

After a Rebel three and out, State drove back into the Ole Miss red zone before Ashlee Palmer intercepted Carroll on a crossing route to keep the visitors with the lead. Less than four minutes remained, but Ole Miss again struggled and had to give it back.

South Panola product Derek Pegues picked up the poorly placed rugby punt by Justin Sparks and raced 75 yards to knot the score with 2:38 left. The MSU defense stepped up a final time afterward and set the stage for Carlson's kick.

The Rebels failed to get a first down on their final five drives of the afternoon. A monumental bog down that couldn't have been expected considering the first three stanzas.

With 15 minutes remaining and two scores ahead, Ole Miss had amassed twice the total yards and 10 more minutes of time of possession. However, only 29 more yards would come from the offense.

The Rebels ran out to their lead with a possession-spread attack that featured a big day from Green-Ellis. In his final game as a Rebel, the senior totaled 117 yards on 29 carries. Brent Schaeffer received his first start of the season and finished with 169 yards of total offense (54 rushing).

Ole Miss took the opening kickoff and promptly grabbed the lead on a 14-yard scamper by Green-Ellis. It culminated a 75-yard drive in 12 plays.

In the third quarter, Schaeffer found Hodge on a 13-yard pass connection to extend the lead. That finished a 62-play drive.

While the Ole Miss controlled the ball for three quarters, the Rebel defense dominated the State running game for the full 60 minutes. Dixon accumulated just 11 carries and 26 yards, and Christian Ducree was ineffective with 5 touches and seven yards. Dixon did catch seven passes for 101 yards.

Johnny Brown led Ole Miss with seven tackles, while Tony Fein and Palmer finished with six and five stops respectively.

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