Nick Fitzgerald would exit the game on the second drive of the game for Mississippi State. At the end of the game when I wrote this, it was at best a dislocation of his ankle and at worst, something more severe. The Bulldogs turned the football over five times. They also committed 9 penalties for 88 yards. And the Bulldogs still almost pulled it out.
A glance at the stat sheet looks like a dominant Mississippi State victory. Here is how Mississippi State did in comparison to Ole Miss in what most people consider the key statistical categories.
- Mississippi State outgained Ole Miss 501 total yards to 355 yards.
- The Bulldogs ran for 294 yards to 108 for Ole Miss.
- Mississippi State had 27 first downs to 11 for Ole Miss
- The Bulldogs held on to the football for 15 minutes longer than Ole Miss.
- Ole Miss completed 10 passes to Mississippi State’s 14.
- Ole Miss only had two third down conversions.
But in the end, the one stat that mattered most was five turnovers for Mississippi State. Add on to it the fact that Nick Fitzgerald went down and it took over three quarters for Keytaon Thompson to get comfortable in the game, it was a recipe for disaster and that’s exactly what happened.
When Mississippi State has lost the Egg Bowl since Dan Mullen took over as head coach, I’ve always been mad because there hasn’t been a single one I felt the Bulldogs couldn’t win. This one was different.
I certainly wasn’t happy, but mad wasn’t really how I felt. Keyaton Thompson has tons of talent and it finally started to show about 7 or 8 minutes into the fourth quarter. But when an offense loses the quarterback that it is specifically tailored to, expecting it to click on all cylinders when that player exits the game is hoping for a lot.
It’s not impossible. A look across the field to see what Ole Miss did when Patterson went down is evidence of that. But doing it on the fly in the middle of the game with your biggest rival is asking for a lot.
This one was tough to swallow as a fan of the Bulldogs. It feels like you served the game up on a silver platter for Ole Miss and they took advantage of it. To say the least, I won’t be watching any replays or highlight films of this one.