STARKVILLE • Quarterback Tommy Stevens was unable to play in Thursday’s Egg Bowl for Mississippi State due to an upper body injury sustained last week against Abilene Christian.
The Bulldogs instead turned to true freshman Garrett Shrader to make his fourth start of the season and first since Oct. 26 at Texas A&M. Shrader guided his team to a 21-20 victory, becoming the first true freshman signal caller to start the Battle for the Golden Egg for the Bulldogs since Damian Williams in 2013.
“He certainly didn’t play a perfectly clean game but for a true freshman under those circumstances to make a couple of fourth-down conversions, the way he ran the ball and distributed to the playmakers, The kid’s got an incredibly bright future,” said MSU coach Joe Moorhead.
Shrader completed 10 of 14 passes for 108 yards and rushed 12 times for 19 yards and two touchdowns. Shrader scored on a 1-yard run in the second quarter and 5-yard run in the third.
“The run game was working better for us and that’s what we ultimately relied on,” Shrader said.
MSU junior quarterback Keytaon Thompson played for the first time all season.
Thompson caught an 8-yard pass from Shrader and was on the field once more in the second half lined up as a wide receiver.
“We had a whole package in there for KT,” Moorhead said. “KT’s a guy we wanted to get on the field in some capacity but the way Kylin (Hill) was running it and we were moving the sticks, we didn’t have to go into the rest of it.”
Late in the second quarter, State punter Tucker Day dropped a punt but instead of picking the ball up and kicking it, Day scooped it and took off down the field and was dropped well short of the first down marker.
Ole Miss made the Bulldogs pay for the blunder with a nine-play, 49-yard drive and tied the game at 14 on a 5-yard touchdown run by Jerrion Ealy.
KEY NUMBER: 15
Ole Miss wide receiver Elijah Moore was flagged for a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty after catching a 2-yard touchdown pass to pull the Rebels within one point with four seconds remaining in the game. Moore mimicked a dog urinating in Mississippi State’s end zone.
“I’m here. This is my team, this is my school and this is my program. You’ll have to drag my Yankee ass out of here.” – MSU coach Joe Moorhead
The Bulldogs extend their bowl streak to 10 and wait to find out their destination. Ole Miss opens the 2020 season against Baylor on Sept. 5 in Houston, Texas.
Egg Bowl Bites
MSU’s victory was the first for the home team in the series since 2014 and the Bulldogs’ first Egg Bowl win in Starkville since 2013. ... Erroll Thompson led MSU with 11 tackles and forced a fumble. ... Jacquez Jones paced Ole Miss with nine stops. ... The Bulldogs finished with four sacks and Ole Miss had three.