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FRIDAY FLASHBACK: Egg Bowl 1978

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#1
GoldenRebel

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Nov. 25, 2011

FRIDAY FLASHBACK rewinds to some of the memorable Ole Miss games from this week's all-time series. This week we look back at the Rebels' 1978 Egg Bowl victory over Mississippi State.

Sloan works first miracle for Rebels

By Jerry Potter

Clarion Ledger Sports Writer

He was towering above everyone, a beam of light shining on his face. After 10 weeks Steve Sloan, the messiah of Ole Miss football, had worked the first miracle.

His underdog Rebels had beaten the Mississippi State Bulldogs 27-7 before 47, 012 frenzied fans at Mississippi Memorial Stadium. It was time for smiling, a time for rejoicing.

"Our season has had a lot of thrills and disappointments," said Sloan, who was standing on a chair as TV cameras filmed his every move. "I think this will be a tremendous boast to our program. Our guys gave all they had and played as hard as they could play.

"I'm very proud of our team, because this was a different team from the one we started with."

Indeed the names may never go down among the greats of Ole Miss football, but Barry Kanuch, Quentin McDonald, Brian Moreland, Les Kimbrough, Hoppy Langley and John Fourcade have had their say. They have had a hand in beating Mississippi State on a day when they were eight-point underdogs in a year when overall they had been losers.

The victory closes Sloan's first year as head coach of the Rebels at 5-6 overall and 2-4 in the Southeastern Conference. State finished at 6-5 and 2-4. But for one day the Rebels were miracle workers.

They trailed in about every statistic but the final score. Their defense gave up 449, 363 of it through the air. It bent, but only broke once in the third quarter when James Jones threw a halfback pass to Mardye McDole for a 29-yard touchdown play.

Otherwise, the Rebel defense was walking on the water, giving up big passes and then making big plays, recovering fumbles in its end zone and intercepting passes near the goal line.

In all, the Rebs picked off three Bulldog passes and forced seven fumbles, recovering four of them. Many of the big plays came in the fourth quarter, when Ole Miss managed to score 10 points while just trying frantically to hold onto a 17-7 lead.

The Rebs got three early in the period when Langley kicked a 43-yard field goal, his second of the day. The first was a 24-yarder in the second quarter.

From here on out, it was a matter of Mississippi State knocking on the door, but getting no answer. Right after Langley's field goal, quarterback Dave Marler drove the Bulldogs from their 20 to the Ole Miss 11 before fumbling the center snap.

McDonald, who until this point had been known mostly for his nickname, "Egg McMuffin," recovered the fumble. Normally an end, he was playing nose guard on this series.

Six plays later Ole Miss gave the ball back on a fumble, and within a minute State was knocking on the door from the two-yard line. Jones tried a sweep but he fumbled into the end zone and Jerry Spore recovered for the Rebs.

By now Marler was forced to throw in desperation, and Moreland intercepted one of his passes on the 15 and returned in to the eight. Ole Miss scored in three plays with Leon Perry getting the final three yards.

It was his second score of the day. The first came in the second quarter when he ran five yards after John Peel had recovered a fumble on State's 29.

Moreland, a linebacker, was the only member of the "no-names," who was once a "name." A year ago in the upset of Notre Dame, he earned National Lineman of the week honors. But this fall, injuries limited him to a backup role.

                "We had a lot of big plays," said Sloan, "but I think the biggest for us was the pass Les Kimbrough caught."        

                Kimbrough, who had caught six passes for 67 yards in the previous 10 games, came in at flanker and hauled in a 67-yard TD toss from Fourcade late in the second quarter.

                "Les is a walk-on senior who just earned a scholarship this fall," explained Sloan. "I couldn't think of a better person for something like this to happen to."

                State Coach Bob Tyler could probably think of someone, but he didn't think breaks or misfortune had anything to do with the outcome. "It was not a game of breaks," he said. "We just didn't do it."

                Indeed, Ole Miss did everything Sloan had predicted it must do to win. It got good field position, controlled the ball and made the big plays on defense.

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#2
bbqit

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Du-te la dracu 'LSU

#3
1dawgfan09

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#5
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