Ole Miss grinds past Mississippi State in the Egg Bowl

Published 11:41 pm Thursday, November 23, 2023

STARKVILLE (AP) — Quinshon Judkins rushed for 119 yards and a touchdown, and No. 12 Ole Miss clamped down on defense to beat rival Mississippi State 17-7 on Thursday night in their annual Battle for the Golden Egg.

Jaxson Dart threw a 26-yard touchdown pass to Caden Prieskorn early in the fourth quarter to give the Rebels (10-2, 6-2 SEC, No. 12 CFP) a 10-point lead. Judkins scored on a 2-yard run in the third to put Ole Miss ahead 10-7.

“I’m really proud of our players,” Ole Miss coach Lane Kiffin said. “I thought our guys played great defense pretty much the whole night. We played really well in the second half running the football and then finished well running the football. We weren’t perfect by any means. Excited to get the trophy back.”

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Will Rogers passed for 207 yards and scored on a 1-yard plunge that gave the Bulldogs (5-7, 1-7) a 7-3 advantage with 8:33 left in the third. But a targeting penalty on MSU linebacker DeShawn Page kept the ensuing drive alive, and the Rebels went 75 yards in 10 plays to regain the lead.

The road team has won six of the past eight Golden Egg match-ups.

Ole Miss’ high-powered offense was shut out in the first quarter for the first time this season and held to just a field goal in the first half. But the Rebels went into the locker room with a 3-0 lead despite a season low for points in any half.

Caden Costa kicked a 36-yard field goal for Ole Miss in the second quarter to cap a 66-yard drive that took 13 plays and 6:22 off the clock.

Mississippi State drove 71 yards for a touchdown in 4:55 on its first possession of the second half.

Ole Miss finished with only 307 yards of total offense and was held below 100 yards passing as Dart finished 14-of-26 for 96 yards and a touchdown. Judkins carried 28 times and became the third Rebels running back to eclipse 1,000 yards twice in a career.

It was a tough defeat for a Mississippi State team led by interim coach Greg Knox the last two weeks after Zach Arnett was fired following a loss to Texas A&M. Knox helped spark the Bulldogs, even driving a four-wheeler onto the field Thursday.

“Great group of seniors that took control, led this team. I can’t thank them enough for all they did through the tough times,” Knox said. “They did everything they could to hold this team together and I appreciate them.”

The Bulldogs had 303 yards of offense, but averaged just 3.4 yards per carry. Rogers completed 25 of 39 passes and had his second career rushing touchdown.

Rogers was emotional after what could be the four-year starter’s final game for the Bulldogs.

“It would have been so easy to quit after everything that we’ve been through on and off the field. People can say what they want to, but we’re not quitters,” Rogers said. “Coach Knox did a really good job. I’m proud of the team and the real fighters. It would have been easy to tap out and let a really good team come here and walk all over us. I gave it my all.”