Coming out of Tupelo High School (#themblankets) most folks felt that Chad Bumphis would be a star for the Mississippi State Bulldogs. In his first Battle for the Golden Egg, the wide receiver made sure to make an impact on the game and give the home crowd something for which to cheer with a dazzling 33-yard touchdown run.
The play stands out as spectacular for a variety of reasons. First of all, it came on a fourth and nine play. Secondly, it put the Bulldogs firmly ahead of Ole Miss late in the third quarter. Thirdly, and most of all, Bumphis made six Rebels miss him while dancing around in the area the size of a phone booth.
Watch the play again. One defender looks to tee off on Bumphis, who moves and absorbs a glancing blow that wipes out not only the player going after Bumphis, but another Ole Miss defender as well. Bumphis then jukes a few Rebels out of their jocks before winning a foot race to the end zone.
On a larger scale, one has to wonder where Mississippi State football stands today if the Bulldogs, who came heartbreakingly close to bowl eligibility in 2009, had lost that game to finish with four wins. Much of the swagger in the Bulldog program came after Dan Mullen and company won the game. Had they lost, would that have materialized? No one will ever know, thanks in part to Bumphis.