As a "Yankee" born and bred, nothing and I mean NOTHING prepares you for Saturday in the South. I've been to countless Jets games, Giants games, Bengals games, Falcons games, Saints games, you name it. NOTHING compares to a Saturday night game in the South. It doesn't matter if it's the grand-daddy of all SEC football -- Alabama -- or if it's UAB, Troy University, Samford, UNA, whatever. Saturday in the South IS football. I kid you not, I get chills up and down my arms when the band comes out. And when the national anthem plays in the stadium, the little hairs on my neck prickle. Being in the stadium on Saturday is truly electryfing.
This was our family's first official Egg Bowl's experience -- we had a lovely drive to Oxford on Saturday morning, visited with T a little, pre-gamed a little bit, busted out the corn-hole game and made a round of the Grove. Cosmo made his famous raspberry Corona-ritas (a recipe I found on Pinterest and he now loves to make for the games).
The weather was absolutely GORGEOUS and once the sun went down, we were all snuggly in our Ole Miss sweatshirts and hats. KJ really gets into the games and looked super cute in her Ole Miss jersey. She loves to do the "Are You Ready" (provided by James Franco this week!) and she also made Cosmo and I "lock the Vaught" with her. http://vimeo.com/53180740 She also likes to do the "Landshark" hand motion. A bunch of students made a video/rap called "Feed Moncrief" and they played it several times during the games. Somehow KJ already knew all the words. She said it had been going around You-Tube. http://hottytoddy.com/feed-moncrief/
The game was very exciting and I'm glad Bo finally cut his hair. Right out of the gate, less than 2 minutes into the game, his first long pass was a beautiful 42-yard missile to Moncrief. They stuck with what works and used the play over and over and over. Bo threw for 294 yards and five touchdowns -- including three to Moncrief. After going into the tunnel tied up at the half, the Rebels had a huge second half to beat Mississippi State 41-24 for the first Egg Bowl win under Coach Hugh Freeze, the first Egg Bowl win since 2008 and became bowl eligibile for the first time since 2009. The energy on campus is so exciting this year. The kids LOVE Coach Freeze and have whole-heartedly supported the team from the very first game. The student section totally ROCKS each and every game.
Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen's personality has added some spice to the Egg Bowl in recent years with the Bulldogs dominating the series and not being afraid to gloat about it (one of the highlights of the game was a short video clip shown during the final minutes of the game -- Coach Mullen's locker room speech where he promises "we will NEVER lose to this team" while holding the coveted Egg Bowl Trophy). The heightened emotions on Saturday were evident even at the coin toss, when the captains from both teams had to be separated by officials. And the action started early with Ole Miss needing less than two minutes to score a touchdown. The Rebels scored two plays later on a 25-yard pass to Mosley. A packed Vaught-Hemingway Stadium went wild, but the celebration was short lived. Mississippi State returned the ensuing kickoff 100 yards to tie the game at 7-7. It was the first of many early mistakes for the Rebels. Bo was Bo and had flashes of brillance combined with catastrophic plays. Although he threw two touchdowns in the first half, he also threw two interceptions and lost a fumble. Mississippi State pushed ahead 14-7 late in the first quarter on a 42-yard touchdown pass. Ole Miss responded with a 43-yard field goal by Bryson Rose and then pushed ahead 17-14 when Wallace found Moncrief on a 77-yard touchdown pass. But the Rebels exploded in the second half for 24 straight points while Mississippi State's offense managed just 115 yards after halftime. Wallace had no turnovers in the second half.
After the game all the Rebel fans rushed onto the field (jumping over the wall is more like it). Security finally wised up and just opened up the gates for everyone to calmly walk on. So of course KJ had to lay down on the 50 yard line.