Ole Miss coach Houston Nutt had taken refuge in the locker room when someone handed Mississippi State’s Dan Mullen a microphone on the field Saturday at MSU’s Scott Field.
“There’s certainly one program in this state that’s definitely on the rise, going in the right direction, and that’s right here in Starkville,” Mullen told the frenzied crowd after Mississippi State crushed then-No. 20 Ole Miss 41-24, basically erasing the Rebels’ Capital One Bowl hopes.
“I didn’t hear any of that,” Nutt said Sunday, after the Rebels’ coaching staff reviewed game film from their poor showing in Starkville.
Does it raise the intensity of the Egg Bowl rivalry for the future?
“Absolutely,” Nutt said.
The Rebels (8-4, 4-4 in the SEC) seemed to be lacking intensity in the second half of their loss to State, but that was just the start of it. The Bulldogs turned to backup quarterback Chris Relf against Ole Miss, and they racked up 24 first downs and 317 yards on the ground.
“Our defense played their worst game of the season,” Nutt said. “Missed tackles, missed assignments. Our (defensive) front always has been our strength. They just did not play their best game.
“Each week, it’s who the best team is in a three-hour period, and we weren’t (Saturday).
“We used a lot of energy, a lot of bullets in the last couple weeks (in victories over Tennessee and LSU),” Nutt said. “I couldn’t help but in my mind think about 45-0 last year (the Rebs’ margin over State in Starkville) … They (the Bulldogs) were 4-7 going in, but you have to throw all the records out.”