Second-Half Surge Costs Rebels Egg Bowl At State
STARKVILLE, Miss. (AP) - Little-used backup quarterback Chris Relf accounted for three second-half touchdowns, as the Bulldogs upset No. 20 Ole Miss 41-27 in the Egg Bowl on Saturday.
Ole Miss (8-4, 4-4 SEC) couldn't stop the one-two combination of Relf and Anthony Dixon, who finished with 133 yards and a touchdown. Dixon has 1,390 yards in 11 games, breaking James Johnson's school record by seven yards.
The defense also came up with several big plays, including a 64-yard interception return for a touchdown by Corey Broomfield that sealed the victory.
Charles Mitchell added two interceptions for the Bulldogs (5-7, 3-5), who won't go to a bowl this season but got the pleasure of possibly knocking the Rebels (8-4, 4-4) out of second place in the SEC's Western Division and a plum bowl assignment if LSU beats Arkansas later Saturday.
It was the sixth straight win for the home team in the series and the 10th in the last 11 games. The Bulldogs carried the golden egg-shaped trophy given to the winner to the end zone and celebrated with fans after the win, which came a year after an embarrassing 45-0 loss.
They danced as a group to the song "Who Let the Dogs Out,'' and generally celebrated as if they had won a bowl game. The Bulldogs had nothing to gain from the win except bragging rights, while the Rebels had plenty to lose. Yet a week after upsetting then-No. 8 LSU, setting itself up for the Capital One Bowl, Ole Miss was listless and Mississippi State was inspired.
Relf had been Tyson Lee's backup and shared playing time all season, but was often given the short hook after mistakes. This time he played most of the second half and dominated Ole Miss with 131 yards rushing, averaging 10 per carry on his first 10 and 8.7 yards overall.
The run specialist also stung the Rebels with touchdown passes of 2 and 34 yards, rallying the Bulldogs from a 13-10 halftime deficit.
The second scoring pass - a 34-yard lob to Chad Bumphis, who broke three tackles on the play - came on fourth and 9. Relf also mined the edge of the Ole Miss defensive front on the option for several big runs, clinching the game with a 10-yard power rush with 10:56 left.
The Bulldogs gave up 385 yards, but were stingy inside the 20. The Rebels' most success came on long pass plays for touchdowns - 20 yards to Shay Hodge, 48 yards to Markeith Summers and 52 to Dexter McCluster.
The Bulldogs held McCluster under 100 rushing yards to snap a four-game streak against SEC opponents, but he still managed 145 all-purpose yards. Jevan Snead finished with 275 yards passing and three TDs, but his three interceptions were costly.
With 96 yards receiving and a touchdown, Hodge set the single-season school record for receiving yards and became the first Rebel to surpass 1,000 yards (1,023).
MSU 41, Ole Miss 27, 4Q, 4:53: After surrendering a pick-six, Snead comes back with a screen pass to McCluster,who races 52 yards for the score. However, Ole Miss is unable to convert the onsides kick and is down two scores with less than five minutes left.
MSU 34, Ole Miss 20, 4Q, 10:56: Relf continues his strong second half, breaking free for a 10-yard TD run. It is his third TD accounted for in the half. The 34 points is the most allowed by the Rebel defense this year.
MSU 27, Ole Miss 20, 4Q, 14:53: Facing its biggest fourth-quarter deficit since the Alabama game, Ole Miss responds immediately on the first play of the quarter with Snead flinging a 48-yard TD pass over the top of the defense to Markeith Summers. Of Summers four TD receptions this year, three have been 45 yards or longer. Snead also connected with Hodge for 25 yards on the drive, leaving Hodge just five yards shy of the 1,000-yard mark.
MSU 27, Ole Miss 13, 3Q, 0:38: After a Snead interception, State strengthens their lead after Relf fires a 34-yard scoring pass to Chad Bumpis, who caught the ball at the 10-yard line and fended off defenders en route to the end zone.
MSU 20, Ole Miss 13, 3Q, 4:07: After holding the Rebels, the Bulldogs drive for a TD with Chris Relf tossing a two-yard TD to a wide open Marcus Green behind the defense off play-action.
Ole Miss 13, MSU 13, 3Q, 11:38: State ties the game with the opening drive of the second half, using a Depasquale 48-yard FG.
Ole Miss 13, MSU 10, 2Q, 1:01: The Rebels answer quickly with a 20-yard TD strike from Jevan Snead to Shay Hodge, who was drapped by a defender in the endzone. With the reception, Hodge sets the Ole Miss single-season record for receiving yards and needs just 30 more yards to become the Rebels' first 1,000-yard receiver. He also needs two more TD catches to tie the Ole Miss career mark.
MSU 10, Ole Miss 6, 2Q, 3:22: Anthony Dixon's 2-yard TD dive to the pieline was reviewed by officials in the box, but the play was upheld to put State on top for the first time today. Dixon also collected a key 13-yard reception from Tyson Lee as part of the nine-play, 81-yard drive.
Ole Miss 6, MSU 3, 2Q, 11:08: After exchanging turnovers (McCluster fumble lost, then Trahan interception), Rebels get another FG from Shene, a 28-yarder to end a seven-play, 28-yard drive over 2:38. Pat Patterson hauled in a 17-yard pass to highlight the drive.
Ole Miss 3, MSU 3, 2Q, 14:57: MSU also gets a FG out of their opening drive, a 28-yarder by Derek Depasquale. By the way, the opening quarter lasted a brief 24 minutes.
Ole Miss 3, MSU 0, 1Q, 7:54: Joshua Shene connects on a 26-yard FG to cap a 13-play, 60-yard drive. Among the key plays on the drive, on a faked punt, Billy Tapp tossed 20-yard first-down completion to Reggie Hicks on a 4th-and-2 at the MSU 36-yard line. It marked the first reception of Hicks' career.
NOTES: Patrick Trahan recorded his first career interception in the second quarter and returned it 28 yards in the second quarter ... Dexter McCluster lost just his second fumble of the year in the second quarter ... Captains for the Rebels are Kendrick Lewis, Dexter McCluster, John Jerry and Marcus Tillman.
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