Bulldogs, Rebels play for keeps
Football is fun again in Mississippi. The nation’s college football fans and media are certainly paying attention.
We had an exciting Soul Bowl last week between two rivals in Jackson State and Alcorn. This week all eyes will be on Mississippi on Thanksgiving night as we turn our attention to the Egg Bowl between old rivals No. 8 Ole Miss (9-2, 5-2) and Mississippi State (7-4, 4-3). Kickoff is at 6:30 p.m. Thanksgiving evening in Starkville.
Both teams will go bowling, but both have more to gain with a win. Ole Miss is playing for a New Year’s Six Bowl bid and a 10-win season. State with a win could finish second in the West and have an eight-win season that could result in a better warm-weather bowl and possibly sway a couple of in-state recruits.
Ole Miss used another solid defensive showing and the passing arm of Matt Corral to defeat Vanderbilt, 31-17. The Rebels finished their home season by winning all seven home games played at Vaught-Hemmingway Stadium.
Mississippi State used the passing arm of Will Rogers to roll over outmanned Tennessee State, 55-10, in their tune-up for the Rebels. Rogers broke two school records in the contest as he now holds the single-season records in passing touchdowns and passing yards.
What can you say about Southern Mississippi head coach Will Hall? The last two weekends, the creative Hall ditched his traditional offense and went to the Wildcat formation to highlight his best offensive players. Frank Gore Jr., the son of NFL great Frank Gore, took the snaps, and the results finally ended an eight-game losing streak as the Eagles won over rival Louisiana Tech, 35-19. Gore passed for two scores and ran for another while wide-receiver Antavious Willis also entered the act and threw a TD pass. USM (2-9) will host Florida International on Saturday afternoon.
Jackson State Head Coach Deion Sanders has put the Tigers football program back in the national spotlight. Sanders led the Tigers (8-0, 10-1) past Alcorn, 24-10, in the “Soul Bowl.” It was the 75th meeting of the state rivals, and the game was played before a sellout crowd of 59,000 in Mississippi Veterans Memorial Stadium. It is JSU’s first division title since 2013, and the reward is a showdown with SWAC Western Division winner Prairie View in two weeks. The division winners meet in the SWAC Football Championship game that will be played in Jackson on Dec. 4.
The Tigers last won the SWAC football crown in 2007. JSU made a clean sweep of the state as the Tigers defeated Delta State, Mississippi Valley and Alcorn. Alcorn had a run of six consecutive division titles before being unseated by Prairie View this season.
There was some very sad news this week about former Southern Mississippi and Southern Methodist head football coach Bobby Collins passing. Collins was a Laurel native who played at Mississippi State. Collins was 48-30-2 as head coach of the Eagles from 1975-81 and was 43-15-1 at SMU.
Odds & Ends
No. 3 Alabama, with their win over No. 25 Arkansas, won the Western Division championship and will meet No. 1 Georgia for the SEC title.
Former Mississippi State football coach Dan Mullen was fired this past Sunday as the Gators (5-6, 2-6) lost to Missouri in overtime.
Dale McKee, a Waynesboro resident, has been writing sports in Mississippi since 1973. Listen to Dale’s Brouhaha Sports Show with Marshall Wood on Tuesday at 6 p.m. on WABO FM 105.5 in the Waynesboro area. To listen to the broadcast on your computer or smartphone anywhere in the world, go to Google Chrome, go to wabo105.com and click listen live. This week’s guest is former Ole Miss quarterback John Fourcade.