OXFORD, Miss. (AP) — Matt Corral threw for two touchdowns as Ole Miss raced to a 14-0 first quarter lead and held off a late Mississippi State surge Saturday to defeat the Bulldogs 31-24 in the Egg Bowl rivalry.
Ole Miss (4-4, 4-4 Southeastern Conference) snapped a two-game losing streak in the rivalry, erasing last year’s painful one-point loss after Elijah Moore drew an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty in the end zone, pushing back a PAT that failed in the final seconds.
Saturday, Moore responded with 12 receptions for 139 yards, including four catches to convert on third and fourth downs. Moore entered the game leading the nation in receptions (10.6 per game) and yardage (159.3). Corral was 24 of 36 passing for 385 yards with touchdowns of 81 yards to Braylon Sanders and 48 yards to Dontario Drummond as Ole Miss built a 21-7 second quarter lead and never trailed. Snoop Conner and Jerrion Ealy added touchdown runs of 1 and 8 yards, respectively.
Freshman Will Rogers threw three touchdown passes for Mississippi State (2-6, 2-6) including 6 and 11 yards to Malik Heath. Rogers finished 45 for 61 passing for 440 yards and pulled the Bulldogs within 24-21 on a 7-yard strike to Austin Williams. Rogers directed Mississippi State to an opportunity on the final play from the Ole Miss 36-yard line, lofting a pass to the end zone that was knocked down by A.J. Finley.
Mississippi State: A rivalry loss was disappointing, but not unexpected in
the start of an extensive rebuilding job for coach Mike Leach. The Bulldogs have improved in November, despite playing consecutive games with less than 50 players on the active game roster. Freshmen, sophomores and first-year newcomers dominated the playing time, highlighted by Rogers.
Ole Miss: Coach Lane Kiffin took a low key approach to the rivalry game with media and fans, but the Rebels surged to a 14-0 first quarter lead and made it stand up. Corral wasn’t spectacular, but was good in clutch situations as the defense turned in its best performance of the season, limited Mississippi State to 39 yards rushing and a turnover that set up an early touchdown.
Mississippi State: The Bulldogs host Auburn on Dec. 12.
Ole Miss: The Rebels visit No. 5 Texas A&M on Dec. 12 , after being originally scheduled for Nov. 21.
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