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Horrific end to first half hurts Mississippi State in 31-21 loss to Ole Miss

The Ole Miss phantom sniper strikes again

NCAA Football: Mississippi at Mississippi State Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports

A heartbreaking sequence to end the first half of this year’s Egg Bowl would haunt Mississippi State on the way to a 31-21 loss to Ole Miss.

The sequence began with an Ole Miss defender suddenly grabbing his leg and faking an injury in an effort to halt the Bulldogs momentum on a drive. Ole Miss has developed a habit of utilizing this ploy under head coach Lane Kiffin.

What soon followed was even more difficult to witness. Three straight passes were dropped by Mississippi State receivers, each of which would have been touchdowns and likely sent the Bulldogs to the half with a 13-10 lead. Instead, the Bulldogs settled for a field goal attempt, which was missed. It was freshman kicker Noland McCord’s second miss of the game.

What was otherwise a strong performance by Mississippi State in the first half would not carry over into the third quarter.

Ole Miss would extend its lead over the course of the second half, leading 24-6 before a huge interception by junior Mississippi State linebacker Jett Johnson gave the Bulldogs some life.

Sophomore quarterback Will Rogers finally found the end zone on an 11-yard TD pass to sophomore receiver Jaden Walley following the interception.

Both teams would then trade scores on the way to a relatively quiet finish by Egg Bowl standards.

Ole Miss junior quarterback Matt Corral finished the game completing 26 of 34 passes for 234 yards with 1 TD pass and 1 interception, while Rogers finished completing 38 of 58 passes for 336 yards and 1 TD pass.

In the closing moments of the game, broadcaster Greg McElroy offered commentary on both the lack of sportsmanship shown by the recent trend of faking injuries and the relatively clean game played by both teams. McElroy also deemed the Bulldogs a momentum based team, a sentiment that could not be more true this season.

Ole Miss moves to 10-2 (6-2 SEC) on the season, while Mississippi State drops to 7-5 (4-4 SEC).