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Bulldogs run over Rebels in Egg Bowl win

Mississippi State University

OXFORD, Miss. — Nick Fitzgerald ran for career-high 258 yards and two touchdowns and also threw three touchdown passes to lead Mississippi State over Mississippi 55-20 in the Egg Bowl on Saturday night.

Mississippi State (5-7, 3-5 Southeastern Conference) has won five of eight Egg Bowls under Coach Dan Mullen. This rivalry victory, in front of a 66,038 fans on the Rebels’ home turf,  was particularly impressive.

“Every time you win it, it’s awesome,” Mullen said. “Every time you lose, it’s awful. Because it sticks with you. What an unbelievable feeling.”

The Bulldogs finished with 457 yards rushing and averaged nearly 10 yards per rushing play. Aeris Williams added 191 yards rushing and two touchdowns, but it was Fitzgerald who had the biggest gains, including runs of 70 and 61 yards.

“It’s a phenomenal feeling,” Fitzgerald said. “It’s always great when you’re running and no one’s around you. To do it in a big time game like this in front of this crowd, it’s unreal.”

Ole Miss (5-7, 2-6) was led by freshman quarterback Shea Patterson, who threw for 320 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. Akeem Judd led the Rebels with 107 yards rushing.

Mississippi State jumped out to a 27-10 lead by midway through the second quarter largely thanks to big running plays for Fitzgerald and Williams. Ole Miss has struggled with its linebacker play all season and the Bulldogs were eager to exploit that weakness in the middle in the field, hitting the Rebels again and again for big gains.

Ole Miss rallied late in the second quarter with 10 straight points to pull within 27-20 by halftime, but the Rebels were outscored 28-0 in the second half.

“It stinks and I hate it for the fans, the university, the seniors and everybody involved with this program,” Ole Miss Coach Hugh Freeze said. “It’s a very disappointing night.”