This and That

Denzel Nkemdiche

Ole Miss sports information provides a thorough play-by-play for the media after games, but it's a nervous habit of mine to take my own game notes and to circle the "big moments." Looking back over them Sunday morning, there was circle after circle after circle from the 41-24 Rebel Egg Bowl victory. Here's a brief recap of real-time game notes.

* Are you kidding me? Ole Miss fans are doing the fabulous "Lock The Vaught" pregame with fans locking arms and rocking back and forth to a Led Zeppelin tune and the Bulldog band is blaring the whole time? Seems a little classless to me.

* First drive it's obvious the Rebels are tuned in. Donte Moncrief beats double coverage for a 42-yard catch in traffic and then Coach Hugh Freeze and the offensive staff pull out a new twist. Bo Wallace runs the read option but pulls up and hits TE Jamal Mosley streaking down the sideline all alone for a 25-yard score. Great call that sucked in the Bulldog defenders and set the tone for the game. 7-0 less than two minutes in.

* Kickoff coverage breaks down - again. 100 yards the other way. Returner Jameon Lewis looks like he's shot out of a cannon right up the gut 100 yards. 7-7.

* The Rebs drive again to the State 3. Wallace scrambling tries to force a pass, pick. What were you thinking, brother?

* Bulldogs drive to the Rebel 29, but Cody Prewitt breaks up a 3rd-and-5 pass that forces a 41-yard field goal attempt - wide left.

* A shanked punt gives the Bullodogs good field position and just four plays later Chad Bumphis, a thorn in the Rebs' side for a couple of years, gets behind coverage for a 42-yard TD from Tyler Russell, flushed from the pocket by a torrid Rebel rush. 14-7, MSU.

* Wallace has an open field for at least a 10-yard gain but tries to go deep, underthrowing Jamal Mosley. Another pick. All week long, the coaches preached - take care of the ball. So far, two picks in the first quarter. That won't fly, Bo.

* A 35-yard hookup with Vince Sanders and 11-yarder to Ja-Mes Logan sets up a 43-yard field goal try by Bryson Rose. Drills it. 14-10, 13:36 left in 2nd quarter.

* Another shanked punt sets up MSU at the Reb 40. On 4th-and-2 at the Rebel 18, the MSU offensive line does some kind of arm pumping, choo-choo train routine as they approach the line to go for it. Sawyer breaks up the pass attempt, the ball goes over and the Rebel sideline, led by OL Coach Matt Luke, starts arm-pumping the Bulldogs back. The gauntlet has been thrown down. It's on now.

* From the Reb 23, Wallace throws a dart to a streaking Moncrief, who reaches down below his knees for the catch, stumbles briefly, gathers himself and outruns the Bulldog secondary for a crowd-erupting 77-yard TD. Feed Moncrief erupts from the stands. 17-14 Rebs.

* The crowd has not quieted and there goes Bumphis again. Another bust in the secondary and he streaks down the sideline 68 yards. Sawyer, who didn't practice all week due to a bum shoulder, stays with the play and drags him down at the Reb 7, then the defense stuffs the Dog attack and forces a field goal. Sawyer save followed by a huge stand, 17-17.

* Wallace fumbles in the pocket giving MSU, the ball on the Reb 33, but DB Dehendret Collins picks off a deflected Russell pass and returns it to the 31. Bullet dodged.


FEED MONCRIEF!
Thomas Wells

* 17-17 at the intermission. Coming off the field, Freeze has a gleam in his eye. "We have three turnovers, a breakdown on special tams and two shanked punts and we're still tied," he smiled wryly. "If we just play decent in the second half, we win." Why would he think that? Simple - the Rebs had 306 yards of offense in the first half. Cut out the mistakes and this offense won't be stopped by the Bulldog defense.

* To start the second half, the Rebel defense forces a three-and-out. Critical to regain momentum and control.

' * On the Rebs' first second-half possession, it's tempo time. Nine straight runs lodge the ball on the MSU 24, where the march stalls, but the message has been sent. Ole Miss is playing fast now and it's obvious MSU DT Josh Boyd and his crew don't like it. Some heavy breathing going on for the team in white and gold. Gold? Since when is that an MSU color? Rose is solid on a 41-yarder. 20-17, Ole Miss.

* Russell is hit at release by E.J. Epperson. Uh, E.J.? Is that right? Not sure he even played against LSU the week before. Denzel Nkemdiche, the Tazmanian Devil, picks off the fluttering, wayward pass and sets the Rebs up at midfield.

* Run, facemask, run, run - FEED MONCRIEF! 21-yard TD pass. 27-17, 6:47 to go in the third. Crowd is going wild as the video board plays Feed Moncrief and Donte obliges as if he is feeding himself. It's crazy now. Full tilt on the adrenaline rush and frenzy. This game is over - just a matter of how much now. State is visibly shaken.

* Another three-and-out for the Reb defense and starting field position at the State 41 for the hot Reb offense. Rush, facemask, rush - FEED MONCRIEF from 16 yards out. Lather, rinse, repeat. More frenzy, more camera on Moncrief, more electricity. 34-17, nighty-night, Bulldogs. See ya later, Dan. By the way, leave the Egg.

* Enter QB Barry Brunetti in the fourth quarter. Freeze sees something he likes. Run the read-option, eat clock, move the chains. Brunetti takes advantage of his moment in the sun, which have been rare for him this year. He works it down to the MSU 16 and then Bo finds Sanders, who gets in on the feeding frenzy, for the Rebs' final score. 41-17, 11:44 to go in the game.

* The Bulldog fans are packing up and heading home. The Rebel student section is waving and shaking their car keys at them. It is a silent departure - their section, except for their still annoying band, is emptying quickly.

* Back-to-back sacks by E.J. and C.J. (Johnson) smother Russell and Brunetti and Jeff Scott, who gained 111 on the night, eat up turf and clock. Rose misses a 42-yarder, but at this point, who cares? I do. I want to hang 50 on them.

* State tacks on a meaningless TD. Who cares? I do. I want a second-half shutout, but what the hell. This is sweet.

* The clock ticks off and the team is waving for the students to join them on the field for the celebration. The students jump the rail - security doesn't even try to stop them. It's bedlam in the south end of the stadium.

* The Golden Egg is hoisted. Normalcy returns to Ole Miss and Oxford.

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