Sophomore wide receiver A.J. Brown had a monster game as he returned home to Starkville and helped Ole Miss reclaim the coveted Golden Egg from archrival Mississippi State Thursday night.
In a stunning upset, the Rebels defeated the 14th-ranked Bulldogs 31-28 in the Egg Bowl and moved to 6-6 on the year, giving Interim Head Coach Matt Luke a legitimate claim to the permanent position, in the opinion of many fans.
MSU’s star quarterback Nick Fitzgerald suffered a gruesome ankle injury early in the first quarter, putting him out of commission and leaving backup Keytaeon Thompson in charge for the rest of the game.
Ole Miss (6-6, 3-5 SEC) had to hold off a late fourth-quarter rally by the Bulldogs, who racked up 22 points and set Ole Miss fans’ nerves on edge in the closing minutes of the game.
“I am so happy for these seniors – they went 3-1 over Mississippi State,” Luke said after the game. “They have gone through so much adversity this season.”
The Rebels got off to a fast start as senior running back Jordan Wilkins found pay dirt from 22 yards out in the first quarter.
After Fitzgerald went down, only three field goals were made between the two sides. Ole Miss would then take a 10-6 advantage over Mississippi State at the half.
The Landshark defense was locked in against Mississippi State as they forced five turnovers in the game. Senior DeMarquis Gates led the way with 13 tackles while his teammate, junior Breeland Speaks, was right behind him with 12 tackles on the night.
Quarterback Jordan Ta’amu found Brown for a 77-yard reception to push the lead out to 17-6 early in the third quarter. Brown ended the night with six receptions for a total of 167 yards and one touchdown. He now holds the single-season total-yards record for Ole Miss.
Ta’amu’s other touchdown pass of the night was to D.K. Metclaf for a 63-yard reception to open the game up. Ta’amu finished the night passing for 247 yards with two touchdowns and one interception.
Wilkins tallied 110 yards rushing and two touchdowns in the game. He finished his career as the first Rebel to rush for over 1,000 yards in a season since Dexter McCluster in 2009.
Adam Brown is the sports editor of HottyToddy.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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