Dan Mullen: Identifying His Top 10 Wins at Mississippi State

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Sep 5, 2015; Oxford, MS, USA; general view of the stadium before the game between the Mississippi Rebels and the Tennessee Martin Skyhawks at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

Number 4: 2010 Egg Bowl at Ole Miss

Mississippi State and Ole Miss were going in completely different directions when the Egg Bowl rolled around in 2010. Mississippi State was trying to secure a New Year’s Day Bowl, and Ole Miss was just trying to play spoiler like the Bulldogs had done to them a year earlier.

The Setup
Dan Mullen had quickly established his name as one of the up and coming coaches in college football. After leading the Bulldogs to a slightly surprising 5 win season in 2009, Mullen had the Bulldogs on the sup of an 8 win regular season, something the school had not done since the 1998 season when the Bulldogs won the SEC West to advance to the SEC Championship Game.

Ole Miss saw their season get off to a disastrous start when they lost their home opener to FCS school Jacksonville State. Houston Nutt brought in graduate transfer Jeremiah Masoli to ease the loss of Jevan Snead who unwisely entered the NFL Draft the prior season. The Rebels only had 4 wins, and were simply hoping to hold on to home field advantage and pull off an upset.

The result
Ole Miss put up a good fight at the beginning and at the end of the game. It was just in between where they lost the game.

Ole Miss got out to an early 7-0 and then 9-7 lead. Mississippi State would not retake the lead until almost the halfway point of the 2nd quarter. Once they did, they began to take control.

Dan Mullen and the Bulldogs would push their lead out to 31-9 thanks in large part to the play of Chris Relf. Relf didn’t always play well, but when Ole Miss was on the field, he was a like a shark that smelled blood in the water.

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The fourth quarter saw Dan Mullen take his foot off the gas after being in control for most of the game. Despite playing as poorly as the Rebels did, Ole Miss had the ball late in the game with one last chance to tie the game trailing by 8.  The Bulldogs would force the Rebels to turn the ball over on downs and sealed the win.

This was huge for two reasons. One, it sealed the Bulldogs invitation to the Gator Bowl on January 1st. And two, it was the first time a road team had won the Egg Bowl since Ole Miss and Eli Manning had come to Starkville in 2003.

Next: Eyes of the Nation on Mississippi