The annual Egg Bowl game between Ole Miss and Mississippi State will be played for the 114th time on Thanksgiving night in Starkville.

The home team has won 13 of the last 17 contests. Ole Miss leads the series which was first played in 1901, 63-45-6.

Both teams are playing for a lot in this year’s game. Mississippi State is 8-3 and has a chance to win 10 games this season. Ole Miss players want to win for interim head coach Matt Luke. A win could help Luke move that interim tag to permanent.

 The Ole Miss players have had to deal with a self-imposed bowl ban in February and their head coach being fired in July. Luke has one point in his favor in that he has led Ole Miss to a 5-6 record, a record that Hugh Freeze achieved in 2016 with lots more talent.

Ole Miss Athletic Director Ross Bjork said a couple of weeks ago that he wanted to name a head coach after the November 25 games were played. The NCAA is not helping as they have dragged their feet announcing the penalties so the head coaching candidates will not know the situation that they will be inheriting.

The Egg Bowl game always has intrigue. Ten years ago, Ed Orgeron was fired the following day after his Rebels blew a 14-0 fourth period lead. Twenty years ago, Rebels quarterback Stewart Partridge hit Corey Peterson on a 2-point conversion with eight seconds to play to give Ole Miss a 15-14 win.

 

 Rivalry Week

This is rivalry week as we have the Iron Bowl contest heading the list of back yard brawls.  Auburn hosts Alabama while Clemson and South Carolina, Vanderbilt and Tennessee, Florida and Florida State, plus Georgia and Georgia Tech do battle. Nationally, we have Ohio State and Michigan plus Washington and Washington State. It is always a fun weekend and upsets are a norm.

 

 Odds & ends

Dan Mullen agrees with the old saying "there are no ugly wins." That was the case as MSU scored twice late to edge Arkansas, 28-21. It was not pretty by any means, but in the end the Bulldogs improved to 8-3.

The Ole Miss defense played outstanding in the second half, but the offense never got on tracked as Texas A&M whipped the Rebels, 31-24. Nine fourth-period penalties did not help the Rebels' cause.

Southern Miss walloped Charlotte, 66-25, to gain their seventh win of the season. The Golden Eagles are bowl bound and will play at Marshall this week. Mississippi players Xavier Thigpen (West Jones), Devin Farrior (Wayne County) and Tavarious Moore (Quitman) were a trio of 23 players playing their last game in the Rock.

USM defensive back Kelsey Douglas intercepted two passes and returned both for scores. He is the son of former NFL player Derrick Douglas. The last time a USM player took two picks to the house in one game was in 1967. Larry Usery intercepted Terry Bradshaw of Louisiana Tech four times and returned two for scores.

Jackson State (3-8) upset Alcorn, 7-3, last Saturday.  The Braves (7-3) will still represent the SWAC East in the final championship game for the SWAC conference. The Braves will play either Grambling or Southern University in Houston on December 2.

Delta State rallied to defeat Bowie State, 45-35, in the opening round of the Division II Football Championship. DSU (9-3) will now travel to top-ranked West Alabama this Saturday.

The Saints stormed back from a 31-16 deficit in the final three minutes to trim the Redskins, 34-31, in overtime. The Saints have now won eight straight and will travel to the L.A. Rams this Sunday.

Dale McKee, a resident of Waynesboro, has covered Mississippi sports for more than 40 years. He writes a weekly sports column. You can contact Dale at ddmckee18@yahoo.com