Saturday, November 24, 2012
Rebels claim Egg Bowl, bowl berth
By David Helman
There's probably no better way for Ole Miss to claim bowl eligibility than with a win against its arch-rival in the 109th edition of the Egg Bowl. The Rebels reached the magical number of six wins Saturday night in a 41-24 pasting of Mississippi State -- Ole Miss' first win in the series since 2008.
Simply put, the Bulldogs had no answer for an explosive Ole Miss offense that picked up right where it left off in last week's explosive performance in the loss to LSU. Sophomore quarterback Bo Wallace had an impressive performance, but the story of the game has to be sophomore receiver Donte Moncrief, who abused the Mississippi State secondary on seven receptions for 173 yards and three touchdowns. The gaudy yardage total is a new career high for Moncrief, who had set a personal best just last week with 161 yards.
Mississippi State kept pace in the first half with help from its defense and special teams. Bulldogs kick returner Jameon Lewis notched the longest play in Egg Bowl history when he returned Ole Miss' first kickoff of the night 100 yards for a touchdown. The defense got in on the act when Mississippi State picked off two Wallace passes in its red zone to kill two Ole Miss scoring opportunities.
Bulldogs wide receiver Chad Bumphis had plenty of production himself, as he tallied six receptions for 146 yards and two scores. But after forcing a 17-17 halftime tie, Mississippi State fell behind. The Rebels outrushed the Bulldogs 234-30 en route to 24 unanswered points after the intermission. Bumphis eventually added a consolation touchdown to end the onslaught in the game's waning seconds to set the final margin.
With the win, Ole Miss put the skids on a three-game losing streak, allowing the Rebels to advance to the postseason for the first time since 2009. The Bulldogs finished the regular season 1-4 after a 7-0 start.