STARKVILLE — In case you slept through Mississippi State’s snoozefest of a 45-7 win against FCS opponent Abilene Christian, here’s a quick recap.
It was cold. The announced attendance of 54,638 was generous, at best. But, at least there was no pregame announcement warning of rabid bats this time around.
On the field, MSU slept walked through a good portion of the night. Stephen Guidry must have coated his gloves with butter before kickoff. Kylin Hill ran for a lot of yards. Offensively, the Bulldogs have still failed to record a passer that throws for 250 yards. The defense looked dominant at times, susceptible in others that a more competent opponent would probably have taken advantage of. The Bulldogs scored 45 points, but it felt like it should have been more.
In short, meh.
“Across the board, offense, defense and special teams, we have to play much cleaner,” MSU coach Joe Moorhead said.
But good news! A made-for-TV Thanksgiving event is coming to a Davis Wade Stadium near you. The quick turnaround is more than enough to forget how ugly this game was at times.
At his usual Monday press conference, Moorhead put on his best front that he was taking a game against an FCS opponent as seriously as the rest of them, proclaiming he wasn’t going to start scouting Ole Miss until the clock hit zero Saturday. That wasn’t exactly true.
“Yeah, I lied. I looked at them this week,” Moorhead said.
Considering how much the Egg Bowl means to the fans, and what it could mean for the future of the program, it’s hard to blame the coaching staff for getting a head start on the scouting.
Ole Miss certainly has been.
The Rebels were on a bye, and spent their Saturday night eating popcorn while watching MSU’s taffy pull with Abilene Christian. By kickoff Thursday night, Ole Miss will have had nearly two weeks to prepare for MSU, while the Bulldogs will be coming off a short week with a banged-up roster. Willie Gay, Lee Autry and Marcus Murphy will be expected to be available, but it’s still going to be a struggle to have all hands on deck for MSU.
“I don’t make the schedules, I’m not involved in that decision making process,” Moorhead said. “They have the luxury of having the bye week and a bunch of days to get ready. We’re coming off a short week, but it is what it is. We’re not going to complain and make excuses.”
We’ll have more time in the upcoming days to dissect the matchup in-depth. For now, all you need to know is the moment the clock hit zero, the players couldn’t stop thinking about the upcoming rivalry matchup.
“Egg Bowl week…,” MSU linebacker Erroll Thompson tweeted after the game.
Kylin Hill, who’s played in two Egg Bowls, has been giving his teammates an education of what to expect against the Rebels.
“I already told the young guys. This week is one you can’t play around with,” Hill said. “This is basically the Super Bowl for us.
“You haven’t seen a rivalry game until you’ve seen the Egg Bowl. It means a lot to these fans, so you cannot go out there and lose the game.”
Thanksgiving will determine if the Bulldogs extend their program-long bowl streak to 10 years, or if this season turns out to be nothing more than the most disappointing in a decade.
“We’re going to have to bring it,” MSU quarterback Tommy Stevens said.
Hodge is the former sports editor for The Dispatch.