‘We understand the importance’: Ole Miss football has already flipped the page to Mississippi State

On3 imageby:Ben Garrett11/19/23


Ole Miss and Mississippi State over the last decade have essentially traded off wins in their annual in-state rivalry showdown, the ‘Battle for the Golden Egg.’

The Rebels have six wins since 2012, compared to five for the Bulldogs. Ole Miss has won two of the last three, but Mississippi State claimed a 24-22 win in Oxford last season and has won three of five.

Put simply, the two-touchdown favorite Rebels can expect to have their hands full when they travel to Starkville on Thanksgiving, where they last won in 2021. Actually, they’ve won two of three since 2017.

“Need to work to get this trophy back,” fourth-year Ole Miss head coach Lane Kiffin said. “We screwed it up last year, so now we have a short week to get ready for that.”

Ole Miss and Mississippi State kick off at 6:30 p.m. CT on ESPN.

The Rebels (9-2, 5-2 SEC) entered the weekend No. 13 in the latest batch of College Football Playoff rankings. They’re vying for their second 10-win regular season in school history. Should they win their bowl game, too, they’ll have their first-ever 11-win campaign.

“Coach Kiffin brought an energy to Oxford, and it’s epic,” Ole Miss safety Trey Washington said Saturday. “You can see it in the stadium, and I think you can see that we feed off of that every home game.”

Ole Miss is likely headed to Florida for the postseason, especially after Missouri’s win over Florida on Saturday. The Bulldogs (5-6, 1-6) are playing for bowl eligibility before they turn to an off-season in search of a new head coach. 

Mississippi State has already moved on from Zach Arnett after only one year.

“We have to be ten toes down and where our feet are,” Ole Miss quarterback Jaxson Dart said. Dart had his seventh-career 300-yard passing game in the 35-3 win over ULM. He added three touchdowns. 

“We have to make sure that we don’t get too high or too low. It’s funny because when you go out to the Square or out of town, people tell you, ‘We don’t care if you don’t win any other game. We just care that you win the Egg Bowl.’ 

“We understand the importance of it, and we’re excited to go to Starkville and compete.”

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Kiffin said the Rebels, on a short week, have already begun preparations for Mississippi State.

Actually, Ole Miss got to work Saturday afternoon, just hours removed from the win over ULM.

“I’m super confident,” Dart said. “I feel like we’ve been through a lot this year and have been able to bounce back from adverse situations. I have no doubt in our guys and our preparations for this week.”

Washington is an Alabama native and compared the Egg Bowl to the Iron Bowl. The Iron Bowl, like the Egg Bowl, is played annually, but between the Crimson Tide and Auburn.

Washington on Saturday intercepted his third pass. He’s tied with John Saunders, Jr., for the team lead.

“It’s very similar to the Iron Bowl, especially since it’s on Thanksgiving and primetime,” Washington said. “Probably more than the Iron Bowl since that’s on Saturday with the rest of the games. 

“We look to represent Mississippi well.”

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