STARKVILLE - With their postseason fate on the line, Mississippi State held on for a dramatic 21-20 victory against in-state rival Ole Miss at Davis Wade Stadium in the 92nd Battle for the Golden Egg to keep the trophy in Starkville.
State has now claimed three of the last four and seven of the last 11 Egg Bowl matchups. The one-point win is Mississippi State's narrowest margin of victory in the 116-game series. The previous mark was a 9-7 decision on Nov. 30, 1937 in Oxford, Mississippi.
Garrett Shrader hit on 10-of-14 of his pass attempts for 108 yards, and Kylin Hill led the Bulldogs' rushing attack with 132 yards on 27 carries, highlighted by a 28-yard gain.
Hill's rushing output brings his season rushing total to 1,347 yards, putting him 44 yards shy of the single-season rushing record. With his eighth 100-yard rushing game of the year he has tied the MSU (6-6, 3-5 SEC) single-season record set by Anthony Dixon (2009) and Nick Fitzgerald (2016). Hill has now run for 2,474 yards in his career, moving past James Johnson (1997-98) for ninth in MSU program history.
Deddrick Thomas compiled 49 yards on 4 receptions, including two 20-yard receptions in a pair of drives that both culminated in scores.
For the sixth time this season, Mississippi State struck first as Shrader connected with Thomas and Farrod Green for two 20-plus yard receptions before Nick Gibson found paydirt from 27 yards out. Gibson's carry capped a four-play, 72-yard drive with 6:42 on the clock in the first quarter. MSU is undefeated when scoring first.
On State's first possession of the second quarter, Shrader high stepped into the endzone to extend the Bulldogs' lead to two scores. The drive was highlighted by six Kylin Hill carries, totaling 46 yards.
Two Ole Miss (4-8, 2-6 SEC) rushing touchdowns by J.R. Plumlee and Jerrion Ealy in the second quarter evened the game at 14-14 at halftime.
In the third quarter, Thomas caught a pass from Shrader to land at Ole Miss' 13-yard line. Three plays later, Shrader broke free for a five-yard carry into the end zone to complete a seven-play, 40-yard drive.
With four seconds remaining in the contest, Ole Miss' quarterback Matt Corral found Elijah Moore in the endzone for a two-yard touchdown reception to put the game in question. With the game on the line, Rebels' kicker Luke Logan's extra point attempt sailed wide right, preserving State's one-point advantage.
Erroll Thompson paced the Bulldogs' defense with 11 total tackles, ignited by seven solo stops and one tackle for loss. Cameron Dantzler followed with a career-high nine tackles, while Marcus Murphy and Jaquarius Landrews recorded eight each. Thompson leads the Bulldogs in tackles with 84, fueled by eight seven-plus tackle games.
State has now held 22 of its 25 opponents below the 200-yard rushing mark and is 14-8 when doing so.
Murphy matched his career-high in tackles and grabbed an interception. Willie Gay Jr. and Brian Cole II each recovered a fumble. The three turnovers brought State's takeaway total this season to 23. Entering the contest, the Bulldogs ranked third in the SEC in turnovers. MSU has collected at least one takeaway in 25 of their last 28 games, including an interception in 19 of those games.
The Bulldogs, bowl eligible for a school-record 10th-straight season, now await their 2019 postseason plans. Bowl game matchups will be officially announced Sunday, December 8th.