They call it the Egg Bowl, but the annual Miss Ole Miss Mississippi football game has nothing to do with the state’s agricultural prowess. According to the Department of Agriculture, Iowa is actually the largest egg producer in the U.S. (15%), followed by Ohio and Indiana (both 9%). Mississippi isn’t even mentioned in this “Egg-STAT-ic” post from 2021.
So what’s up with nicknames? Well, that’s what happens when fans need something shiny to distract them from the malice, and the headline writer decides to do it himself.
Let’s start with the trophies and initial nicknames. Although the game dates back to 1901 — State won the first game and Ole Miss won the second — postgame prizes weren’t awarded until 1927. And the reason for the change is practical: Once the game is over, officials need something to hold the audience’s attention once the game is over. A year ago, a massive brawl broke out among the fan base. So, to “foster clean sportsmanship,” both student groups commissioned a trophy called the “Golden Egg.” It’s golden, shiny, and beautiful…and because it’s blunter than a regular football and doesn’t have any raised edges to mimic the stitching of a football, it just looks like a golden egg.
Fast-forward half a century and 1978 to The Clarion-Ledger’s game-day edition. Executive editor Tom Patterson — perhaps tired of an unnecessarily long nickname, perhaps for some pun-inspired style — penned the headline, “Egg Bowl Up for Scramble.” Egg Bowl Evolves from Shorthand to an Official-Un The official nickname, which both schools use interchangeably with “Battle of the Golden Eggs.”
But that’s all behind the scenes. They could call it the battle of the shaggy soybeans (the state’s largest agricultural export), and it’s still a draw. While Alabama-Auburn, Michigan-Ohio State and Florida-Florida State may have greater national relevance in terms of their impact on the national title race, no game has generated more than Mississippi State-Ole Miss dramatic. (One SEC power broker once told ESPN’s Mark Schlabach that the rivalry “makes Ohio State-Michigan and Auburn-Alabama look like Sunday school.”) Their first When games were played, there was an hour delay as Ole Miss blamed State for playing non-students.
There have been a lot of quarrels and too much trivia between the two schools. When Dan Mullen was the head coach of the Bulldogs, he refused to call Rebs by his first name. Instead, he simply referred to the “northern school” in the interview. The internal game schedule utilizes a slight, replacing Ole Miss in TSUN.
The two current coaches actually get along quite well these days, but the two programs still couldn’t help but quarrel. They can’t even agree on basic facts. Although they both see Ole Miss as the series leader with a 64-48-6 record, Mississippi State said the game was played 27 times on Thanksgiving, while Ole Miss put the number at 30.
Regardless of your record book subscription, the game will be played for the 119th time this year on Thanksgiving (7 p.m. ET, ESPN). To get you ready, here are some of the funniest games in Egg Bowl history.
1983: Perfect deflection
Sometimes nicknames can be misleading. “Perfect deflection” isn’t really a deflection at all — unless you believe in cosmic events. With 24 seconds left in the game, Mississippi State relinquished a 17-0 lead and trailed 24-23 with a game-winning shot within reach. Artie Crosby attempted a 27-yarder and it looked to be going well — good height, good line, everything. State fans started celebrating. But then the ball just stopped at the apex. As if Mother Nature had snapped it herself, strong winds blew the ball to the far left of the goal post.
Mississippi State coach Emory Bellard marveled: “In all my years of coaching, I’ve never seen a kick kick back. Stopped the ball.”
1999: Draft picks and kicks
This game may be the best in the history of this game. It’s one of those rare occasions when both schools are ranked: Ole Miss No. 23 and Mississippi State No. 18. The Rebs led 20-6, but the Bulldogs fought back to tie the game with 27 seconds left.
Instead of playing overtime on the road, Ole Miss had Romaro Miller open in the frontcourt. Except Robert Beane blocked the pass and kicked it into the air. Eugene Clinton got it and was intercepted near the 50-yard line and brought the ball back to 27 with 8 seconds left. Scott Westfield followed with a 44-yard game-winner. Once Ole Miss went out of bounds on the kickoff return, fans rushed to the field.
2013: Darke announces his arrival
Legends are created in competitive play. He played as a starter before Dak Prescott led Mississippi State to the No. 1 ranking in 2014, and before he set a school record and became a fourth-round pick a year later As a sophomore in his first season, dealing with an arm injury sidelined him two games before the Egg Bowl. And in the first three quarters against Miss Ole, he was on the sidelines.
But with the Bulldogs trailing by a goal with 11 minutes left, Prescott convinced Mullen to play him. After removing the rust on his first drive, he advanced the offense 59 yards in 13 plays to secure the game-tying field goal. Then, in overtime, he ran for the winning touchdown.
2019: Costly dog pee fines
Mississippi State escaped with a 21-20 win after Ole Miss WR Elijah Moore celebrated a touchdown by pretending to urinate like a dog and the Rebels missed the ensuing extra point.
First, there needs to be some background on egg bowls to end all egg bowls. Because if you thought the 2019 game was the first time an Ole Miss player pretended to urinate on a Mississippi State University field, you’d be wrong. Two years ago, after a pregame scrimmage, DK Metcalf scored a touchdown late in the third quarter, raised his leg to imitate a dog peeing, and received a 15-yard penalty.
To make sure the fire is still burning before heading back to Starkville, let’s not forget AJ Brown’s touchdown at the end of the third quarter at Oxford and the shoving that turned into a bench brawl. Every player from both teams was penalized.
OK, now into 2019. There have been wild games and crazy finishes throughout Egg Bowl history, but none produced more fireworks than 2019. After a tied first half, the Bulldogs took the lead on Garrett and Schrader’s 5-yard touchdown run in the third quarter. That seemed to be the case, as Ole Miss kicked twice and had an interception in the fourth quarter. But then, with 2 minutes left in the game, Matt Corral, who replaced starter John Rhys Plumlee, led the Nets with 80 rushing yards in 11 plays. With just 4 seconds remaining at the 2-yard line, Corral found Elijah Moore in the end zone and it looked like a tie. Except Moore repeated Metcalf’s antics, raised his leg in front of the referee and was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct. The touchdown remains the same, but you can guess what happened next. Luke Logan missed the field goal 15 yards back from the penalty spot and the State won.
In a game where both managers were on fire, neither man was spared. A few days later, Ole Miss fired Matt Luke and replaced him with headline-grabbing Lane Kiffin. Not to be outdone, Mississippi State fired Joe Moorhead and made a name for himself in Mike Rich.