Mississippi St. 31, Mississippi 3

Vick Ballard rushed for 144 yards and scored two touchdowns,

LaDarius Perkins added two more touchdowns and Mississippi State

easily beat Mississippi 31-3 on Saturday night in the Egg Bowl.

Mississippi State (6-6, 2-6 Southeastern Conference) now has a

three-game winning streak in the Egg Bowl for the first time since

1942 and also earned bowl eligibility for the second straight

season.

Ole Miss (2-10, 0-8) finished a miserable season that included

10 losses for the first time in program history and ends coach

Houston Nutt’s four-year tenure. Nutt’s resignation was announced

on Nov. 7, but he remained to coach the last three games, which the

Rebels lost by a combined score of 110-13.

Nutt ends with a 24-26 overall record at Ole Miss, including a

10-22 mark in conference games. The Rebels have lost 14 straight

SEC games.

Third-year Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen has injected new

life into the rivalry since his arrival in Starkville, with a

smack-talking persona that’s been backed up with dominant

victories. The Bulldogs unveiled new uniforms for Saturday’s game,

with gold numbers, gold shoes and the phrase `Hail State’ replacing

each player’s last name on the back of the jersey.

From the very first snap, it was evident Mississippi State was

the better and more motivated team. Relf rushed for 12 yards on the

first play and then 17 more on the second as the Bulldogs

methodically moved downfield. The 11-play, 68-yard drive ended on

an 18-yard touchdown pass from Relf to Ballard that gave the

Bulldogs a 7-0 lead with 5:35 remaining in the first quarter.

Mississippi State stretched its lead to 21-0 by halftime on a

36-yard run by Perkins and then a 20-yard pass from Relf to

Perkins. To seal any doubt, Ballard rushed for a 25-yard touchdown

early in the third quarter to push the lead to 28-0.

Relf didn’t have to throw much, but was effective when he did,

completing 8 of 13 passes for 70 yards, two touchdowns and one

interception.

Ole Miss never could get moving on offense. Its only sustained

drive lasted 12 plays and 47 yards before Bryson Rose kicked a

28-yard field goal in the third quarter. Enrique Davis rushed for

32 yards on 12 carries while Donte Moncrief caught four passes for

20 yards.

The game had a fitting ending, with Ole Miss quarterback Barry

Brunetti leveled at the 3-yard line by the Mississippi State

defense as he was trying to score a touchdown. The Davis Wade

Stadium crowd roared its approval as the Bulldogs stormed the field

and Mullen raised the Egg Bowl trophy above his head.

Brunetti completed 12 of 22 passes for 112 yards.

The Rebels didn’t exactly rally around their outgoing coach,

losing by lopsided margins to Louisiana Tech, LSU and Mississippi

State since it was announced Nutt would not return.

Nutt was paid about $2.7 million this season to oversee the

collapse. He’s also owed a $6 million buyout.

The search for the Rebels’ fifth coach in 17 seasons now begins

in earnest. Whoever it is will have plenty of work ahead

considering Ole Miss is 1-15 in the SEC – including the 14-game

conference losing streak – over the past two seasons and resides in

arguably the hardest division in college football.