In the Southeast United States, many college rivalries are evident.
The Iron Bowl (Alabama-Auburn), Florida State-Florida, The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party (Florida-Georgia), and the Governor’s Cup (Kentucky-Louisville) all come to mind. But one very intense rivalry plays on without the national attention that other rivalries in the South receive.
The University of Mississippi Rebels, commonly known as Ole Miss, and the Mississippi State University Bulldogs have met 109 time over the last 112 years, typically in late November, for each teams’ final game of the regular season. From 1901 until 1926, this rivalry was heavily dominated by Mississippi State, which was then called Mississippi A&M.
A&M and Mississippi first met on the gridiron in 1901, when Mississippi State’s mascot was known as the Aggies and Ole Miss’s mascot was the Flood. The Aggies dominated the rivalry, and that’s putting it nicely, in the early years winning 17 out of the first 24 games played between 1901 and 1926. (The Flood and Aggies did not meet on the field from 1912-1914) But that 1926 game changed the rivalry forever.
In 1926, the Flood, who would be renamed the Rebels in 1936, beat the Aggies, who would be renamed the Maroons when A&M became Mississippi State College in 1932 and then renamed again to become the Bulldogs in 1961, three years after the school became known as Mississippi State University, 7-6 for the team’s first victory in the rivalry since 1910.
After the victory, the Ole Miss fans stormed Scott Field (now known as Davis-Wade Stadium at Scott Field, and is still home to Mississippi State’s football team) and made an attempt to steal A&M’s goal posts.
According to OleMissSports.com, “Irate Aggie supporters took after the ambitious Ole Miss group with cane bottom chairs, and fights broke out. The mayhem continued until most of the chairs were splintered.”
The goal posts stayed put, and injuries were reported, but the Flood and their fans were still extremely excited. In the last 13 games, all victories for A&M, Ole Miss had been outscored 327-33 and by an average of 25-3.
Due to the mayhem that erupted in Starkville, members of Sigma Iota, an Ole Miss honorary society, proposed the idea of a trophy that the winning team could take home with them, instead of the winning team’s fans going after the goal posts. The trophy that was proposed and later accepted was modeled after a football from the time period covered in gold and placed on a pedestal. Up close, stitches are even visible. Fans noticed that the trophy essentially looked like a golden egg and beginning in 1927, the game between Mississippi State and Ole Miss became officially known as the “Battle of the Golden Egg.”
Since the institution of the Golden Egg, the domination of the rivalry has switched sides. Ole Miss leads Mississippi State by a record of 54 wins for the Rebels to 25 wins for the Bulldogs and 5 ties. There have been many defining moments for the series in the years since the institution of the trophy.
In 1978, the game became colloquially known as the “Egg Bowl” after Steve Doyle of the Jackson, Miss., Clarion-Ledger declared that that year’s Battle of the Golden Egg would serve as a de-facto bowl game for the two schools as the Bulldogs owned a 6-4 record and the Rebels had a 4-6 record and neither team would make a trip to a bowl game that season.
Five years later, in 1983, the Rebels claimed a hard fought 24-23 victory over Mississippi State, in a game that was affected by 40 mph winds that knocked down a potential 27-yard game-winning field goal by Bulldog kicker Artie Cosby. This game has come to be known as the “Immaculate Deflection.”
In 1999, the Bulldogs entered the fourth quarter down 20-6, but rallied to tie the game. With 20 seconds left on the clock, Ole Miss decided to pass the ball instead of taking a knee to send the game to overtime. The pass from quarterback Romero Miller was deflected by the hands and foot of Mississippi State cornerback Robert Bean and then intercepted by defensive back Eugene Clinton and returned to the Rebel’s 34 yard-line. Bulldog kicker Scott Westerfield then came out and knocked in a 44-yard field goal to give the Bulldogs the victory, their first in three years. This game has come to be known by the name “The Pick and the Kick.”
Those are just two of the many exciting games that have come out of this intense rivalry, and it doesn’t look as if there will be any boring moments in this year’s Egg Bowl, which will take place on November 28. Just look at Mississippi State’s uniforms. Hopefully, the profile of this rivalry will continue to increase and it will never be forgotten.
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