OXFORD, Miss. — Mississippi State freshman quarterback Will Rogers had another impressive game, completing 45 of 61 passes for 440 yards and three touchdowns, but the Bulldogs (2-6) came up just short in a 31-24 loss to the Ole Miss Rebels (4-4) Saturday evening in the 93rd Egg Bowl at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium.
Freshman wide receiver Jaden Walley also followed up last week’s impressive game with another one, making nine catches for 176 yards receiving. Sophomore wide receiver Geor’quarius Spivey finished with five catches for 97 yards.
Junior receiver Malik Heath hauled in four catches for two scores, while junior receiver Austin Williams tallied six catches for 31 yards and a score.
The Bulldogs added 16 carries for 39 yards rushing. Rogers led the team with 26 yards rushing on four carries. Freshmen running backs Dillon Johnson and Jo’quavious Marks added six carries for 21 yards and four carries for 10 yards, respectively.
Defensively, State gave up 385 yards passing and two TDs to Ole Miss sophomore quarterback Matt Corral.
MSU was hurt by big plays again this week. Junior safety Landon Guidry was beat by two Ole Miss senior wide receivers on long touchdowns, a 48-yarder to Dontario Drummond and an 81-yarder to Braylon Sanders.
Ole Miss junior wide receiver Elijah Moore led the team with 12 catches for 139 yards receiving.
The Bulldogs also gave up 163 yards rushing in the game. Jerrion Ealy led the Rebels with 93 yards on 18 carries.
A pair of MSU defenders in sophomore safety Shawn Preston Jr. and senior linebacker Erroll Thompson finished with double-digit tackles. Preston finished with 12 and Thompson finished with 11.
Ole Miss got on the board first when the Rebels ended a five-play, 54-yard drive with a 48-yard strike to Drummond to make it 7-0 with 6:03 left in the first quarter.
Mississippi State threatened on the ensuing drive, making it all the way down to the 1-yard line before Williams fumbled and Ole Miss senior defensive back Deane Leonard returned it 84 yards down to the MSU 16-yard line. Sophomore running back Snoop Conner punched it in from a yard out to give the Rebels a 14-0 lead with 16 seconds left in the opening quarter.
Mississippi State then got on the board when Heath made a nice 6-yard snag in the back of the end zone to make it 14-7 with 13:37 left in the half.
Sanders’ 81-yard catch then made it 21-7 Rebels with 9:44 until halftime.
Ole Miss senior kicker Luke Logan’s 26-yard field goal increased the Ole Miss lead to 24-14 with 13:40 to play.
Rogers then fueled a 10-play, 75-yard drive that ended in a 7-yard TD pass to Williams to make it 24-21 with 7:51 left.
The Rebels then went 77 yards on nine plays and scored on an 8-yard run by Ealy to increase their lead to 31-21 with 4:48 left.
Mississippi State made it a one-score game again when junior kicker Brandon Ruiz made a 25-yard field goal to make it 31-24 with 2:08 left.
The Bulldogs had a chance to send the game to overtime, but Rogers’ desperation attempt as time expired was swatted to the turf to seal the Ole Miss win.
MSU will return home for its next matchup. The Bulldogs welcome No. 22 Auburn to Davis Wade Stadium on Dec. 12. Kickoff time and television information for the contest will be announced soon.