Last Monday, Bob Carskadon announced that Mississippi State is allowing the fans to vote on the top-10 games in Scott Field history. For another week, fans can nominate games using the hashtag #HailStateVote on Twitter. After that, Mississippi State will compile the best 25, and fans can vote on the top-10 from that list.
Yesterday, I discussed numbers 6-10. Today, it's the top-5.
#5 – 2007 vs #21 ALABAMA
With #21 Alabama deep in MSU territory and just seconds before halftime, I told my roommate sitting next to me, "The best case is we hold 'em here, force a field goal, and it's a 12-3 game at half. That wouldn't be too bad..." And then, Anthony Johnson picked off John Parker Wilson and raced the full 100 yards for a touchdown to give MSU a 10-9 halftime lead. I was in the student section and it was a MADHOUSE. If any student tells you they actually SAW AJ cross the goal line, they're lying. When he hit midfield, he was easily in the lead with several escorts, and every student was already falling down, hugging, or high-fiving someone. State went on to win 17-12 behind a stellar defensive performance. AJ's pick-6 is the greatest single play I've ever experienced.
#4 – 2000 vs #3 FLORIDA
One week after dropping a heartbreaker at South Carolina, Steve Spurrier and #3 Florida rolled into town. And they got RAN OVER. In the most dominating team rushing performance I can recall, Dicenzo Miller and Dontae Walker combined for 328 rushing yards and State netted 351 as a team, holding Florida to NEGATIVE 78. Read that again. Florida rushed 22 times for NEGATIVE 78 yards. Of course, this is the game when two straight snaps sailed over the head of Florida's QB, netting a 47-yard loss. Facing 3rd-and-57 Spurrier took a safety, giving MSU a 5-0 lead early on. State held a slim 24-23 lead going into the 4th quarter, but blew it open from there. Even the final score of 47-35 is a bit deceptive, as Florida scored a touchdown on the final play. However, they were unable to kick the extra point or go for two... because we were too busy tearing down the goalposts.
#3 – 1940, #16 MISS. STATE vs #11 MISSISSIPPI
I don't expect this to crack the final top-10, but it should. Easily. Imagine the anticipation leading up to this - still, the highest combined ranking in Golden Egg history. #11 ole miss was 8-1 (3-0 SEC) and tied with Tennessee for the conference lead, while #16 Mississippi State was still holding on to an undefeated 7-0-1 record. State started hot, with a 53-yard kick return and 29-yard run putting us deep in rebel territory. Three plays later, Toxie Tullos scored from the 7 and we never looked back. Later, Billy Jefferson found Blondy Black in the endzone on 4th & goal from the 4, and State was up 13-0 at half. Wilbur Dees took the 2nd-half kick from State's 20 to ole miss's 6, and two plays later, Harvey Johnson crossed the goal to give State a 19-0 lead. The win put State at 8-0-1, and blew ole miss's chances of winning the SEC Title. We finished the season at 10-0-1, including a victory in the Orange Bowl.
#2 – 1999, #18 MISS. STATE vs #23 MISSISSIPPI
The kick and the pick. You know about this one. State faced a 6-20 deficit in the second half, and was still down 13-20 late in the 4th quarter. On the final drive, QB Wayne Madkin led State 88 yards for the tying touchdown - a 38-yard pass to CJ Sirmones who was WIDE open on the right sideline. With seconds left, ole miss inexplicably tried to throw downfield (rather than kneeling and going to overtime), and Robert Bean tipped, leaned back, and kicked the ball in the air. Eugene Clinton grabbed it and raced down the left sideline, going out of bounds at the 27 yardline. Scott Westerfield promptly hit the 44-yard field goal and State completed the quick comeback, leading 23-20. This has to be one of the best Battle of the Golden Egg finishes - in my mind, only challenged by last year's version.
#1 – 1998 vs #9 ARKANSAS
Brian Hazelwood kicked FIVE field goals, including the game-winning 27-yarder with 7 seconds left to give Miss. State (7-3, 5-2) the 22-21 win and the lead in the SEC West with one game left. After being intercepted twice in the 4th quarter, Wayne Madkin came up CLUTCH on our final drive, converting 3rd-and-18 with a pass to Kelvin Love, who stretched out and barely reached the 1st down. On the next set of downs, Madkin converted 4th-and-15 with an 18-yard pass to Kevin Cooper. A great game against a top-10 opponent. A fantastic finish with great plays by Madkin, Love, and Cooper, and Hazelwood on that final drive. Goalposts coming down. State gaining the SEC West lead, eventually advancing to play in Atlanta for the SEC Championship. Absolutely THE BEST win in Scott Field history.