The Ole Miss Rebels and Mississippi State Bulldogs have faced each other on the gridiron 116 times, a series that dates all the way back to 1901. The Egg Bowl has typically fallen on Thanksgiving Day, as last season's meeting was the 29th on the holiday.
Mississippi State won that game 21-20 in thrilling (and controversial) fashion, letting the Bulldogs retain possession of the Golden Egg Trophy. (The game also resulted in both teams hiring new head coaches, but for different reasons.) The Rebels still lead the all-time series 62-48-6, if you include a couple of forfeited victories by Mississippi State and a couple of vacated wins by Ole Miss.
No matter what side you root for, this one of the most bitter rivalries in all of college football. Here are 10 things you may not know about the Egg Bowl.
1. The awarding of the Golden Egg began in 1927
Mississippi A&M (as Mississippi State was then known) had beaten Ole Miss in 13 consecutive games leading up to the matchup between the two rivals on Thanksgiving Day 1926, but the Red and Blue's 7-6 victory snapped the streak and supporters stormed the field in Starkville in an attempt to tear down A&M's goalposts.
Fights ensued, and in an effort to increase sportsmanship the following season, the two student bodies announced a trophy would be awarded to the winning team. The students fashioned a golden trophy with a football on top that resembled an egg, and Ole Miss beat the Aggies 20-12 in Oxford to claim the Golden Egg for the first time. The 2015 matchup will be the 88th game since the trophy was introduced.
2. The term "Egg Bowl" was coined in 1977
The Clarion-Ledger newspaper in Jackson, Mississippi, is credited with coining the term "Egg Bowl" and first used it in print in the 1977 in the headline: "Egg Bowl Is Up For Scramble." Adding "bowl" to the Battle for the Golden Egg helped raise the stakes for the rivalry game in which neither team would likely be invited to a postseason bowl. In the Nov. 20, 1978 edition of The Clarion-Ledger, Steve Doyle wrote:
"In a year in which neither team will be remembered, the Battle of the Golden Egg is a bowl game. Intense, heated, unbelievable in its lore, this one is for supremacy of the season. Bragging rights, recruiting edges and sheer pride are the guts of it. Every cliche you've ever heard about a single game applies to it."
Editor Tom Patterson dedicated an entire week's worth of coverage to the Egg Bowl in 1978. The name caught on among media members, and has stuck.
3. Mississippi State has won the Egg Bowl as the Aggies, Maroons, and Bulldogs
Before officially becoming the Mississippi State Bulldogs in 1961 (though the nickname “Bulldogs” dates back unofficially to at least 1905), when the school officially became Mississippi State University, the Mississippi A&M Aggies (1901-32) and the Mississippi State College Maroons (1933-60) each defeated the University of Mississippi in the Battle for the Golden Egg.
4. Mississippi A&M beat Ole Miss twice in a single season
Like nearly every rivalry in college football today, Ole Miss and Mississippi State square off once a year. Also like many of the biggest in-state rivalries in the nation, the Rebels and Bulldogs battle in the final game of the regular season. However, in 1918, Mississippi A&M defeated Ole Miss on both Nov. 28 (by a score of 34-0) and Dec. 7 (13-0) — the first and only time the two schools have met on the gridiron in a single season.
5. Mississippi State holds the longest winning streak in series history
Mississippi A&M was in complete control of the football rivalry series with the University of Mississippi from 1911-25. The Aggies won 13 straight over the Red and Blue, which included 10 shutouts. The 65-0 victory in 1915 still stands as the most lopsided result in the history of the series.
6. Ole Miss holds the longest unbeaten streak in series history
Ole Miss may have lost 13 in a row in the series, but the Rebels held Mississippi State winless in the Battle for the Golden Egg from 1947-63 with a record of 14-0-3 during that span. After beating Ole Miss 20-0 in 1946, the Bulldogs didn't secure a victory over the Rebels again until a 20-17 upset in '64 — a span of 18 years without a victory is the longest drought in series history.
7. Jackson, Columbus, Tupelo, Clarksdale and Greenwood have all hosted the rivalry
The first two football games between Ole Miss and Mississippi State were played in Starkville, and the third edition was hosted in Oxford. From 1926-72 and in every year since 1991, the series has alternated between the campuses of the two institutions. However, 29 Ole Miss-Mississippi State football games have been played in the state capital of Jackson (including every year from 1973-90), with Columbus (1904), Tupelo (1915-17), Clarksdale (1919), and Greenwood (1920-21) all hosting the rivalry in its early years.
8. When Ole Miss and Mississippi State tied, they shared the Golden Egg
The introduction of overtime in 1996 means ties are no longer allowed in college football, but six Ole Miss-Mississippi State football games have ended in ties, with five of those occurring after the introduction of the Golden Egg. In most rivalry trophy games, the last team to win would retain the trophy another year in the event of a tie. However, the Golden Egg spent half the year with each school until its rightful owner won it again. Traditionally, the schools would have shared the trophy in 2013. Instead, Mississippi State won it outright 17-10 in overtime — the first and only overtime game in Egg Bowl history.
9. One player started for both Ole Miss and Mississippi State in the Egg Bowl
It's rare for fans to cross from one side of the Ole Miss-Mississippi State rivalry to the other, but it's even rarer for a player to do it. However, there have been three players to letter for both football programs. The most well known in Breck Tyler, a wide receiver and the son of former State head coach Bob Tyler, who is believed to be the only player to have started for both the Rebels and Bulldogs in the Egg Bowl. Tyler played for the Bulldogs from 1977-78, and transferred to play for the Rebels in 1980-81.
10. Mother Nature saved the Rebels in 1983
There have been many dramatic games in Egg Bowl history, and many iconic moments that live in series lore. However, there was just one instance in which Mother Nature made her preference known. In 1983, in the name now known as “The Immaculate Deflection,” Mississippi State kicker Artie Crosby lined up for a 27-yard field goal with 24 seconds left in the game. What appeared to be a strong and accurate kick was met by a stronger gust of wind (reportedly measuring 40 miles per hour) that knocked the kick down and preserved a 24-23 Ole Miss victory.
— Written by Nicholas Ian Allen, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Follow him on Twitter @NicholasIAllen.
(Top photo courtesy of Getty Images)