Egg Bowl was one to remember

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 29, 2000

Ole Miss’ M&M boys – Deuce McAllister and Romaro Miller – maneuvered a really good Mississippi State team into a corner after a slow start and struck late.

But it wasn’t like it was all McAllister and Miller, because it absolutely wasn’t, what with the Ole Miss line stepping up with smaller and less troops to call State’s more heralded hands. I didn’t think it could happen.

To be sure, I guessed a Mississippi State victory, and early on it looked like I was right. But State appeared to let down a mite, and Ole Miss stepped it up a big notch. Both teams’ fans realize that was what happened.

Email newsletter signup

Once McAllister hit high gear he was dominant, and it was a good thing because State’s truly strong halfback had blasted Ole Miss pretty good for an early 16-0 lead. And don’t forget that for the game, MSU player of the game Dontae Walker rushed for 121 yards and three touchdowns.

Which brings me back to McAllister, Rebel player of the game with three rushing TDs and a touchdown pass thrown as he and his team sailed from that 16-0 deficit to their 45-30 Egg Bowl triumph.

The game was simply one of the better ones in this marque series. It was a shame State’s fine quarterback Wayne Madkin, who passed the Bulldogs to that early lead, unfortunately became ill had to leave the game. You never know …

And then there’s the University of Southern Mississippi, which is not being mentioned here just incidentally. No sir, after all, the Golden Eagles are good enough that they essentially finished midway of the Conference USA standings at 4-3, en route to a jaunt to the Mobile Bowl Dec. 20 to play TCU, despite losing to East Carolina last Saturday.

And Delta State – how about the Statesmen making a run in the NCAA Division II playoffs! The Statesmen sashayed past Catawba College 20-14 last Saturday into this Saturday’s big game with the 12-1 North Dakota State Bisons. DSU’s moving on.

Bowl talk has already started. It’s interesting, too, but we haven’t seen anything yet. LSU blew what could have been the Tigers’ best bet for a good bowl invitation had they beaten Arkansas. But, no, the Bengals keeled over 14-3. The Southeastern Conference is nevertheless bowl haven nearly every football season.

The Ole Miss-Mississippi State Egg Bowl at Oxford has to rank among the best games of that day and weekend. Again, I had picked State to win, but as good as State’s defense is, it couldn’t contain Ole Miss’ offense that was splendid once it cranked up. Both State and Ole Miss had representative teams in 2000, and bowls would do well to look ’em over – not look over them.

HURRIED HASH: Blocking and tackling is always the attention-grabber of an outstanding two-way lineman, and certainly that was the case with Adams County Christian’s hunk of a guard and tackle (yes, both at the same time it sometimes seemed) Justin Thornton. Justin COULD block and tackle! Or can, let’s say.

And The Natchez Democrat has told area readers how he got the attention of Mississippi Private School Association All-Star game selectors for their All-Star contest this Friday at Mississippi College.

Well, I just want to reiterate that the South All-Star team got a real hoss in ACCS coach Bo Swilley’s Justin Thornton, son of Ivy Ray and Deborah Thornton. The nearly 6-2, 255-pound quick guard-tackle can move a &uot;ton&uot; of humanity! I know – I’ve seen the big guy who’s quick for his size do it at ACCS games. Watch him if you can Dec. 1.

Glenvall Estes is a long-time sports columnist for The Natchez Democrat.