Saturday, November 26, 2011
Bulldogs put Rebels out of their misery
By Chris Low
Mississippi State offensive guard Addison Lawrence said earlier this week that he thought Ole Miss would "kind of lay down" if the Bulldogs jumped on the struggling Rebels early.
That was about the size of it Saturday, as Mississippi State raced out to a 28-0 lead in the early minutes of the third quarter and cruised to a 31-3 victory over Ole Miss at rain-soaked Scott Field. It was Mississippi State's third straight win in the Egg Bowl, marking the first time in nearly 70 years that the Bulldogs have won three in a row in the series.
Mississippi State (6-6, 2-6) gained bowl eligibility with the win, the second straight season that Dan Mullen has led the Bulldogs to a bowl game. The Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl or AutoZone Liberty Bowl is their likely destination.
A pair of seniors came up big in their final home games. Quarterback Chris Relf ran his record to 3-0 against Ole Miss. He passed for a pair of touchdowns and now has seven passing touchdowns and one rushing touchdown in three career games against the Rebels. Running back Vick Ballard rushed for 144 yards on 23 carries. He had a 25-yard touchdown run and also caught an 18-yard touchdown pass.
After just missing 1,000 yards a year ago, Ballard surpassed the 1,000-yard rushing figure Saturday with his big night.
Mercifully, for Ole Miss, the season is over. The Rebels (2-10, 0-8) last won just two games in a season in 1946. Houston Nutt walks away after seeing his Rebels lose their last seven games. In their last three losses to Mississippi State, LSU and Louisiana Tech, Ole Miss was outscored by a 110-13 margin.
Whoever the new Ole Miss coach is will inherit a program that has lost 14 straight SEC games.