THE BIG PREVIEW
MSU VS. Mississippi
It's rivalry week here at The Big Preview, and WE'RE SO FULL OF RIVAL HATE. Also, we really just want a win, because we want to go bowling for a fourth straight year, and you know they say that Birmingham is beautiful this time of year* (*does not apply to Legion Field).
With no Dak Prescott, maybe no Tyler Russell, and a freshman quarterback probably at the helm, does State have a chance? Damian Williams did play past his freshman status last weekend in Little Rock, and for the Bulldogs to have any chance on Thanksgiving night, we'll need him to do it one more time.
In preparation for the 110th edition of the Egg Bowl rivalry, we've prepared for you a Totally Serious Opponent Preview, a Game Preview, our Matchups, Preview, Egg Bowl Memories, and even some Starkville eats recommendations from our T-Braden's Gameday Domination archives. It's win or stay home for the holidays for us Bulldogs, so make sure you read up to get prepared for Thursday night!
Click any of the four links below to scroll directly to the section that you're looking for (each section also features a button at the end to take you back to the top of the page):
Totally Serious Opponent Report by James Carskadon
Game Preview -- Mississippi State vs. Mississippi by justinrsutton
Matchups Preview by Metal Building Dawg
Egg Bowl Memories from FWtCT
Braden's Gameday Domination - Little Dooey's by tbradenbishop
Totally Serious Opponent Report - Egg Bowl Edition
by James Carskadon Follow @jamescarskadon
Ah, Ole Miss. That red solo cup-loving, mascot-confused, frat swoop of a university to the north of Starkville. The school has been a natural rival for Mississippi State since MSU was formed in the 1870s. Back then, Ole Miss higher ups were not interested in forming a school of agriculture and engineering, so a land-grant institution was formed in Starkville, or so the legend goes.
However many bitter feelings were present when MSU was founded, the split typifies the long-standing division between the two schools. Ole Miss is filled with a bunch of highfalutin good ol' boys. Mississippi State is a cow college filled with rednecks. There is some truth to both, but to make broad generalizations about the populations of both universities obviously misses some of the nuance of both. Mississippi is not divided into good 'ol boys and rednecks, and the state's two largest public universities reflect that fact. As Mississippians, Rebels and Bulldogs have much more in common than they sometimes care to admit. But that doesn't make for a fun rivalry. So what exactly is it about Ole Miss that makes Bulldog fans' blood boil? A few starting points are below:
- With John Grisham holding degrees from MSU and Ole Miss, neither can fully claim the best-selling author.
- We get it. William Faulkner is from Oxford. You read the Cliff's Notes version of The Sound and the Fury in high school just like we did.
- The Mannings are a nice family and three of them happen to be really good at playing quarterback. But that's still no excuse for an 18 MPH speed limit on campus.
- The pretentiousness of tailgating in the Grove.
- MSU fans may be bitter that their sideshow of a basketball star (Renardo Sidney) did not get the Bulldogs to the Sweet 16, unlike Ole Miss' sideshow of a basketball star (Marshall Henderson).
- Hugh Freeze must be cheatin' to get all them recruits, Pawwwlll!
- Any team that can't claim a legitimate mascot deserves to be made fun of, and it might as well be their rivals that do it.
Which brings us to Thursday's matchup, in which the fightin' Hugh Freezes will attempt to ruin MSU's chances at reaching the promised land that is the BBVA Compass Bowl. The Rebels have a slew of freshman talent, and unlike under Ed Orgeron and Houston Nutt, they might actually stick around for a while. This should be worrisome to the cow college to the south, but Dan Mullen paid his penance by tweeting Bible verses regularly, so things should be turning around on the recruiting trail any day now. With that said, MSU's best hope of winning Thursday includes Freeze skipping the game to go fishing and spend time with his family. Some would say that's impossible, but if there's one SEC coach that would, it's Hugh Freeze. Regardless, the Rebels are not an overwhelmingly better team, despite holding a better record than MSU. So look for an interesting game Thursday, and also be prepared to see lots of bright red pants interspersed among the more common blue jeans in Davis Wade Stadium.
Game Preview - Mississippi
by justinrsutton Follow @justinrsutton
To borrow a phrase, the records can be thrown out the window when the Mississippi State Bulldogs and Ole Miss Rebels meet up in the Battle for the Golden Egg. Ole Miss comes into the game with seven wins and the Bulldogs need to pick a win to gain bowl eligibility (ironically, perhaps to the BBVA bowl). This is nearly identical to the situation the Bulldogs faced when they traveled to Oxford for the 2012 edition of the game which was a victory for the Rebels.
The Bulldogs enter the matchup with many more questions than the Rebels. Mississippi State has seen its top two quarterbacks injured, and apparently, Dak Prescott will not play in the Egg Bowl as a nerve injury has not healed as quickly as hoped. This leave Damian Williams and Tyler Russell as the most likely options for quarterback, and Russell is not in the best of conditions either. In a most grim scenario, the Bulldogs will be one hard hit from Sam Cowart having to play significant snaps for the Bulldogs.
One area that has to have the Bulldogs feeling more confident over the past few weeks is the defensive side of the football. The Bulldogs have forced ten turnovers over the last three weeks, and if they can put Bo Wallace into a few tough spots, Mississippi State might be able to force a few more this week.
On the Ole Miss side of things, the Rebels have had an exciting season with wins over Texas and LSU. However, at 7-4, the Rebels would only be one game ahead of Mississippi State if they lose on Thursday night. Without a doubt, that loss would take a bit of the luster off of the Ole Miss season.
For fans of one or the other, there is no bigger week and no bigger game (no, not even LSU, Ole Miss fans) and the winning team and its fans will have bragging rights until the 2014 edition.
Tyler Russell (day to day), LaDarius Perkins (expected to play)
Out for Season
Fred Ross, Dee Arringon, Jay Hughes, Justin Malone
Matchup Breakdowns: MSU vs. Mississippi
by Metal Building Dawg Follow @croomdiaries
This is a great matchup. It's about as close as it gets.
Category (SEC rankings)
|3rd down conversions||11th||5th|
|Opp. 3rd down conversions||3rd||11th|
One big question for me is how will Ole Miss' offensive line handle MSU's D-line? They have been a little suspect at times this year and struggled against Missouri's group. If State can pressure Wallace, keeping it out of the hands of their big play WR the Dawgs could have a lot of success on that side of the ball.
We have to assume after the events of last Saturday Damian Williams will not only start but play the duration. If so, can he do it? The good news is the game is in Starkville, and he's got some playing time under his belt, plus two weeks working with the 1's. Will OM dial up some unique coverage to keep him guessing and confused? Will Williams be able to run the ball? Will Mullen/Keonning be looking to pound and pound away against a less than stellar run defense with Damian and Josh Robinson?
It's a rivalry game and anything can happen. Sometimes the matchups on paper don't have anything to do with who might win in the game because one guy/unit/team just wants it more. The MSU offensive line is going to have to want it more and provide lanes for the backs. The WRs are going to have to block their tails off...and when they get a ball thrown in their direction they need to make a play and help Williams out.
State's D will have to play nasty. Beniquez Brown and Kaleb Eulls have really stepped up the last few games and we'll need more from them in this one. Denico Autry needs a repeat performance of last week. All hands on deck, this one is for all the marbles.
Egg Bowl Memories
This Thursday will be the 110th playing of the annual Egg Bowl rivalry, and all of us here at For Whom the Cowbell Tolls have witnessed some great times and some bad times through the years that we've been involved with the maroon and white side of the rivalry. With that being said, we all thought we would take a minute to share an Egg Bowl memory, or several Egg Bowl memories. We hope you'll do the same in the comments.
One of the Egg Bowls that I will always remember was the 1998 Egg Bowl. I opened up a checking account at a bank that was giving away season tickets just so I could get tickets for the Egg Bowl in Oxford that year.
I had no idea how amazing that game would be for Mississippi State fans. The Bulldogs picked up the win on their way to an SEC West title, and Tommy Tuberville decided to leave town after the game. All in all, it was an awesome game for any Mississippi State fan.
The 2007 Egg Bowl will always stand out to me. I was still a senior in high school, but I was sitting in the student seats in the endzone. Many, including some in the group I was with, left at the end of the third quarter. Looking back, it's hard to blame them. The Bulldogs had looked dreadful up until that point. But two weeks after Anthony Johnson's 101-yard interception return for a touchdown against Alabama, there was a sense that MSU could somehow spark another big play. Then came the Derek Pegues punt return for a touchdown, which along with Johnson's interception return would go on to be the most memorable moments of that season (or the entire Croom era, for that matter). I was blessed to be a student, or a high schooler posing as a student, during the 2007, 2009, and 2011 Egg Bowls. All three games were great, but Pegues's punt return is one of my all-time favorite MSU experiences.
Metal Building Dawg
The 2005 Egg Bowl was the only one we would win in my 5 years of college. The game was super depressing going in as both teams were horrible. They only thing I remember is Jerious Norwood running like crazy in his final game and all the people around me smoking - which was extra noticeable since I had my little brothers with me in the student section. I think that memory was burned into their brains about MSU students and they ended up at Auburn. Sad.
For the 2007 Egg Bowl I was watching the game with my in-laws. We were down 14-0 in the 4th quarter and everyone was giving up but I was still optimistic that we had a chance despite playing like garbage for 3 quarters. The comeback was awesome, and being the only one in the room that kept the faith we could win was a feather in my cap, at least for a day.
Instead of trying to figure out which of my many Egg Bowl memories is best, I'll just give you my first. It was the 1994 edition. Not only is it the first Egg Bowl I remember, but it was also the first time I ever attended an away game. I went with my grandfather, a WW-II era alum who inducted me into the wacky world of Mississippi State fandom. It was a fairly dreary day in Oxford, though I'm not sure it rained during the game. For some reason I starkly recall looking at a large, dead-looking tree throughout the afternoon--it was off to the side of the stadium and plainly visible from our nosebleed seats. The specifics of the game are hazy now as I look back, though obviously I remember the outcome. One of the few things that is vivid, however, is the image of a surly (no-doubt drunken) ass of a rebel fan who sat a couple of rows behind us. He loudly bemoaned every call and non-call, and enjoyed his ever-so-clever "F*** State, F*** State" chant during our fight song. I was somewhat perplexed and embarrassed at the same time--perplexed because my seats at home games around old-school alums of my grandfather's ilk never made me privy to such idiocy, and embarrassed in the same way one would have been watching the movie Clerks with one's parents as a twelve year old. I wish I could say the game ended with my grandfather going off on the guy George Costanza style, but I can't--the dude left before it was over and we stayed to watch our team celebrate on the sidelines.
In 1999, my family and I were vacationing at Disney World during Thanksgiving, and more importantly, the Egg Bowl. After a day at the parks, we went to the ESPN Zone restaurant to eat dinner and watch the game. I remember there being a decent amount of both MSU and Ole Miss fans gathered to watch the game there, and I was really surprised given how far away from Mississippi we were (I was young, so Florida might as well have been mars far away from home to me). As the game grew late and State continued to trail by a convincing margin, we left the restaurant and went back to our hotel room, conceding a win to the Rebels. It was only after we got ready for bed and my dad just so happened to turn the game on -- just to "see how bad it ended up" -- that we saw that MSU was not only back in the game, but that we had a chance to tie it, or even win. I may have witnessed the score, the pick, the kick on TV in Orlando high fiving my dad quietly so as not to wake up my sister and mom, but that will always be a fond Egg Bowl memory for me.
T-Braden's Gameday Domination - Little Dooey's
by tbradenbishop Follow @tbradenbishop
Editor's Note: In celebration of our first ever win at Arkansas last week, this week we bring you a favorite of our from the Gameday Domination archives: Little Dooey's. Here's what our own tbradenbishop had to say about the Starkville BBQ staple before last year's Auburn Game:
Welcome to Starkvegas, Aubie. Without further delay, our first choice for fantastic tailgate grub in Starkville is... The Little Dooey.
Location: Starkville and Columbus (two locations)
Rating: Five TBB Stars (out of five)
ODDS AND ENDS: The Little Dooey, or Little Dooeys or even Dooey's, is the epitome of fine barbecue in Starkville. It's received loads of praise from various ESPN, CBS, ABC, Jefferson Pilot, Raycom, etc. commentators for over 20 years. They also hang magazine covers all over their restaurant showing they have renown smoked and fried recognition.
For almost 15 years, they allowed their customers to write on tables, chairs, and walls to show their pride in the food, hometown and Bulldogs, but that's recently been changed due to unknown management reasons.
They have an inside dining area, outside enclosed patio, and a small bar. Really cool venue options for everyone.
MENU SUGGESTIONS: It's hard to beat the Dooey nachos when you pick an appetizer. Be careful. Buying the large will result in ruining your entree, but you will be stuffed. Their salads are solid, but their fish and barbecue are what put this place on the national food map. Their sides are truly special, too. I suggest the fried pickles, waffle fries, or fried okra. They often have miscellaneous desserts made by local folks on sale in their case. The chocolate pie is quite clutch. For entire menu options, click here.
WARNING: If you decide to go, be ready for a long line and/or a wait on food. They pride themselves in saying they're not a fast food joint. And they aren't. Take for example the chicken on a stick; if ordered, it's a least a 20-45 minute wait. But dude, it's worth it. It's my go-to favorite with ranch and homemade honey mustard. Period.
Eat, Ring, and Be Happy
Photo by Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports
- Tyler Russell photo included in the injury report courtesy of Bob Levey -- Getty Images
- Little Dooey's image courtesy of @TheLittleDooeys
- Editing, style and layout by thecristilmethod