Dan Mullen: Identifying His Top 10 Wins at Mississippi State

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Nov 28, 2013; Starkville, MS, USA; Mississippi State Bulldogs quarterback Dak Prescott (15) advances the ball during the game against the Mississippi Rebels at Davis Wade Stadium. Mississippi State Bulldogs defeat the Mississippi Rebels with a score of 17-10 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Spruce Derden-USA TODAY Sports

Number 6: 2013 Egg Bowl

During the 2013 season, much of the talk about the state of college football in Mississippi centered on Ole Miss and second year Ole Miss Head Football Coach Hugh Freeze. Freeze had signed a historic recruiting class for the Rebels in February of that year, and that coupled with the Rebels win over Mississippi State in 2012 had most believing Ole Miss was well on their way to competing for SEC West supremacy and Mississippi State scrounging around for a way to stay relevant.

The setup
Mississippi State was 5-6 entering the Egg Bowl after an overtime victory over Arkansas during the prior week. If the Bulldogs wanted to go to a fourth consecutive bowl, they needed to beat Ole Miss and they were going to have to do it with their third string quarterback Damian Williams.

Tyler Russell was injured on his final play against Arkansas, and Dak Prescott had been injured at the end of the Texas A&M game earlier in the month of November. Russell was listed as questionable and Prescott had been ruled out by Dan Mullen earlier in the week. Much to everyone’s surprise, Russell showed up to the game in street clothes, and Prescott was in uniform for the game, though Coach Mullen had said Prescott would not play although a Nashville doctor had ruled Prescott was good to go.

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Ole Miss came into the game with a very up and down season. The Rebels ended a three game losing streak against LSU earlier in October which sent the Rebels on a four game wining streak. Ole Miss entered their game with Missouri in the next to last week of the season 7-3 and had an opportunity to make a splash with two more wins over the Tigers and Bulldogs. A loss to the Tigers ensured the Rebels would likely end the season outside of the polls, but much like the 2009 season for the Rebels, a win in the Egg Bowl would be the key to a great bowl game or a disappointing one.

The result
Much like the 2010 game against Florida, this game was controlled by the defenses. Damian Williams struggled to move the ball against the Ole Miss defense, and Bo Wallace made numerous mistakes against the defense of Mississippi State.

Mississippi State looked prepared to enter the locker room at the half with a 7-0 lead. The defense had forced Ole Miss to punt right around midfield with a minute left to play in the half. A bad decision to field the punt inside the five yard line by Jameon Lewis gave the Bulldogs terrible field position.

Mullen went into super conservative mode and ran three straight quarterback keepers and lost yardage on every play. On fourth down, Ole Miss brought pressure on the punt, blocked the kick, and recovered it in the end zone for a touchdown.

Ole Miss took the lead in the third quarter on a field goal, and would hold the lead until late in the fourth quarter. The Rebels looked to be in control because Mississippi State’s offense was completely ineffective with Williams at the helm, but Mullen did not want to put Prescott in the game due to his previous injury.

Nov 28, 2013; Starkville, MS, USA; Mississippi Rebels quarterback Bo Wallace (14) dives for the loose ball in the end zone as Mississippi State Bulldogs defensive back Jamerson Love (5) reaches for the fumble during overtime at Davis Wade Stadium. Mississippi State Bulldogs defeat the Mississippi Rebels with a score of 17-10 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Spruce Derden-USA TODAY Sports

This would change at the start of the fourth quarter. Williams would throw an ill advised pass which Ole Miss Safety Cody Prewitt would intercept. Prescott informed Mullen he wanted in, and Dak  would begin to warm up on the sideline.

Prescott led the Bulldogs to a late field goal with just over two minutes remaining in the game to tie the game at ten. He led them again to field goal range, before the end of the game, but this time it would not go through the uprights.

In overtime, the Bulldogs would drive to down to 4th and goal from the Ole Miss two yard line. Instead of opting for a field goal, Dan Mullen put the game in the Hands of Dak Prescott.

Prescott kept the football on a quarterback draw and ran straight into the end zone for the go ahead touchdown. Then Ole Miss had their chance to tie or win the game.

The Rebels proceeded to march down the field from the 25 in their possession during overtime. Bo Wallace looked like he had an easy path to the endzone on the final play of the game, but Mississippi State Safety Nickoe Whitley came from behind and knocked the ball free from Wallace’s hands. The ball would bounce into the end zone and be recovered by Jamerson Love to seal the victory and the fourth straight trip to a bowl game for Dan Mullen and Mississippi State.

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