“I think it really was a strong effort by our defense, an incredible effort by our defense,” said head coach Mike Leach after the game. “Defensively, we had a lot of really key plays and key stops that I thought were huge.”
While the old adage that defense wins championships is certainly true, Mississippi State proved playing solid defense can help win trophies too. The Bulldogs’ defense played a crucial role in claiming a 24-22 victory over Ole Miss and helped return the Golden Egg Trophy back to its pedestal inside the Seal Football Complex in the early morning hours on Friday.
The Bulldogs limited Ole Miss to just 4-17 on 3rd down conversions and turned the Rebels over on downs on 4th-and-2 from the MSU 6-yard line trailing 16-14 late in the third quarter. Zach Arnett’s defense also held Ole Miss to its lowest rushing output of the season at just 78 yards.
“(Dart) is a great athlete and we knew about (Quinshon Judkins) and the other running backs that they have,” said defensive end Randy Charlton. “We had to make sure that we kept (Dart) in the pocket and contain him because if we gave him one lane, he’s going to take it. We most definitely understood that.”
Charlton’s late-game heroics will certainly go down with the many memorable moments associated in Egg Bowl lore. The fifth-year senior from Miami, Florida who transferred in from USF in 2021 was proud to do his part to aid his teammates in reclaiming the Golden Egg Trophy for the first time since 2019.
“It was a surreal moment to be able to secure that win for my team,” Charlton said.
Mississippi State head football coach Mike Leach met with the media following the game to recap the big win. Video is courtesy of Hail State Athletics.