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The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

Flops and drops: Bulldogs waver in Egg Bowl

Adam Sullivan | The Reflector

Junior linebacker Jett Johnson intercepts the ball early in the fourth quarter.

It was a tough night for Bulldog fans, as MSU lost the Egg Bowl via a final score of 31-21 at home on Saturday, dropping MSU to a 7-5 record on the regular season while allowing the Rebels to secure their 10th win of the year. While MSU remains bowl eligible, this more than likely locks Ole Miss into a New Years’ Six bowl, while MSU will probably wind up somewhere a bit closer to home. 

Looking back on the game, the Bulldogs had their chances, but when it mattered most, the team did something they haven’t done all year drop open passes. On the same drive, sophomores Woody Marks and Tulu Griffin dropped well-thrown touchdown passes in the end zone for what would have been a huge exclamation point before the teams took it to the half. Head coach Mike Leach was asked about what these drops meant to the game by reporters after the final buzzer had sounded.

“I mean, we haven’t dropped three balls in a row in a long time … I know we’d be seven points better. You know, I think everybody was locked in. In a game like this it’s a fine line between being too wired up … In a game like this, everybody cares,” Leach said. 

Everybody did in fact care, and that was evident in the emotions and efforts displayed by the key players on both sides. In the second half,  junior middle linebacker Jett Johnson blew the top off of Davis Wade Stadium when he intercepted Matt Corral and returned the pick for a huge gain into Ole Miss territory. 

“Big momentum play, I guess. (I’m) very thankful for that pick. We ended up scoring off of it, so that was big. I wish I was a little bit faster, maybe I could have housed it,” Johnson joked with reporters after the game. 

Johnson attributed it to defensive coordinator Zach Arnett’s playcalling, saying he called the perfect play and Johnson was “just there.” Johnson was “just there” all night, in fact, as the Tupelo high school alum posted 11 total tackles on the night.

Another big story line from this game is the impressive amount of “injury time-outs” that were called at the accord of the Rebels. Obviously, we here at the Reflector do our best to point out the facts, and the facts are that every time a Mississippi State University drive seemed to be gaining momentum, an “injury timeout” would be taken due to an Ole Miss player falling down on the field with apparent leg cramps, with some instances taking place half a minute after the play had been blown dead. The Reflector previously wrote a piece on the woes of SEC officiating earlier this season, which you can look back at here.

Judging by the fan response to the loss, one could easily assume that this was the last game of the year for this Bulldog team, but that is not the case. MSU is still bowl eligible, and with seven wins will have a wide array of bowls they can be selected to. Only time will tell where December takes this team, but rest assured, the 15 extra practices are a welcomed gift for the coaching staff and this young team.

About the Contributor
Tanner Marlar
Tanner Marlar, Former Managing Editor
Tanner Marlar served as the Managing Editor from 2022 to 2023. He also served as the Sports Editor from 2021 to 2022.
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Flops and drops: Bulldogs waver in Egg Bowl