No. 25 Bulldogs, Rebels set for Egg Bowl rivalry


No. 25 Bulldogs, Rebels set for Egg Bowl rivalry

OXFORD, Miss. (AP) There's much at stake in this year's Egg Bowl.

No. 25 Mississippi State (8-3, 4-3 Southeastern Conference) is trying to win four in a row in the rivalry for the first time since the 1940s when the teams meet on Saturday at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. Mississippi (5-6, 2-5) is one victory away from bowl eligibility for the first time since 2009.

Bulldogs coach Dan Mullen said what makes the rivalry so special is there aren't many areas of the Magnolia State that are dominated by one of the two fan bases. Instead, there are Bulldogs and Rebels sprinkled together in almost every city.

There's no avoiding the other group.

``It's a neighbor-to-neighbor (rivalry), which makes it an even bigger game,'' Mullen said.

First-year Mississippi coach Hugh Freeze is well of aware of the demographics.

He grew up outside of Senatobia, Miss., which is about a 45-minute drive from Oxford, and his personal experience with the rivalry is longstanding.

And he badly wants the Golden Egg to make a return to Oxford.

``I actually have family members that are on the other side,'' Freeze said. ``I have great respect for some coaches down there, also. I won't get into the name calling. We have great respect for them. We want to beat them as bad as they want to beat us. I understand the impact it has on the program, our fans and the people of this state. We're going to go about it the right way and try to beat them that badly on Saturday.''

Ole Miss might love a lopsided win, but oddsmakers see the game as a close one, giving the Rebels a slight edge.

Mississippi State recovered from a three-game losing streak last weekend by beating Arkansas 45-14 in Starkville. The Bulldogs are led by quarterback Tyler Russell, who has thrown for 2,503 yards and 21 touchdowns and already owns several single-season passing records.

The Rebels will counter with an undersized but speedy defense that is second in the SEC with 31 sacks. Linebacker Denzel Nkemdiche is the poster child, a 5-foot-11, 203-pound redshirt freshman who leads the Rebels with 12 tackles for a loss.

``They have a really good defense,'' Russell said. ``We have to go play. I feel like if we do the things we need to do, we will take care of business. If not, we won't.''

The issue for Ole Miss has been playing four good quarters. The Rebels have had a late lead against Texas A&M, Vanderbilt and LSU this season, but let all three games get away.

There are certainly valid excuses for the late breakdowns. Ole Miss is young in several spots and doesn't have much depth.

But players say those shortcomings shouldn't matter, especially when it comes to the Egg Bowl and earning a chance at the postseason.

``We're definitely ready,'' Ole Miss offensive lineman Emmanuel McCray said. ``We have a lot of coaches that played for the university, so they have the same passion ... It's a little more intense, but it's still calm. You don't want to be overemotional.''

Even though he's from the northeast, Mullen has always been passionate about the rivalry during his four years in Mississippi. He's seen firsthand how it can hit close to home.

His neighbor in Starkville is an Ole Miss fan. And when Mullen's 3-year-old went to visit his friends next door last week, Canon Mullen was rooting for ``The School Up North.''

Albeit against LSU.

Canon and the neighbor's children were all watching SEC football like a lot of kids in this state and several were rooting for the Rebels to beat the Tigers.

``Since we lost to LSU the week before, he was not real high on LSU at that point,'' Mullen said with a grin. ``He wouldn't mind seeing them lose.''

But that'll change Saturday. Now it's the Rebels who are the enemy.


Follow David Brandt on Twitter: www.twitter.comd/davidbrandtAP

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Redskins vs. Jets Preseason Week 2: Date, time, TV channel, live stream, how to watch

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Redskins vs. Jets Preseason Week 2: Date, time, TV channel, live stream, how to watch

After a fight-filled start to joint practices between the Redskins and Jets, the Skins' 2018 NFL preseason schedule continues Thursday night at Fed Ex Field against New York. 

Week 2 of the NFL preseason still doesn't provide a lot of answers to questions about team performance, but it begins to reveal the depth the Redskins could have this season.

One storyline that won't be taking place, is the return of former Redskin Terrelle Pryor, who told reporters after Monday's practice he won't be playing in the game.

The Redskins have bigger things to worry about though, like who will replace rookie Derrius Guice, who's now out for the year with a torn ACL.

The Redskins also have one less name in the fight for receiver depth as well, after Robert Davis suffered a season-ending leg injury as well. 

Ahead of Thursday's preseason matchup, here's everything you need to know to watch.


Who: Washington Redskins vs. New York Jets

What: Game 2 of the 2018 NFL Preseason

When: Thursday, Aug. 16, 2018, 8:00 p.m. ET

Where: Fed Ex Field, Landover, MD

TV Channel: ESPN

Live Stream: Watch ESPN

Radio: Redskins Radio Network

Point Spread: Washington, -3

Over/Under: 39.5

Weather: 90 degrees, partly cloudy


5:00 PM: Redskins 100
5:30 PM: Redskins Nation
6:00 PM: Best of the Sports Junkies
7:00 PM: Redskins Kickoff Live


Week 1: Thurs., 8/9, vs. New England Patriots, 7:30 p.m. (L, 26-17)

Week 2: Thurs., 8/16, vs. New York Jets, 8:00 p.m. (ESPN)

Week 3: Fri., 8/24, vs. Denver Broncos, 7:30 p.m. 

Week 4: Thurs., 8/30, vs. Baltimore Ravens, 7:30 p.m. 



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You can see why players get along with Jay Gruden so well in these Mic'd Up segments

You can see why players get along with Jay Gruden so well in these Mic'd Up segments

Most coaches would've let it go. In fact, plenty wouldn't have even noticed. But Jay Gruden couldn't resist.

He just had to get on Quinton Dunbar for his cutoff practice pants.

"The pants gotta be over the knees, didn't you see the uniform code violation?" Gruden barked at Dunbar while mic'd up in Richmond (the first full segment is above). "He's the least swag guy you guys got on defense and I'm just trying to help him out," he later told Deshazor Everett when Everett tried to stand up for Dunbar.

Numerous players bring up how easy Gruden is to get along with when they're prompted to evalute the 'Skins' fifth-year headman. And over the course of just one training camp session, there were a handful of examples backing that up.

There's Gruden telling Jamison Crowder to cheer up ("You always look so grouchy all the time, man"). He then hops over to check in on Morgan Moses, who just added a new baby to his family, before predicting the right tackle will end up with enough kids to fill up two starting offensive lines. 

He even gets along with former members of his team; in Part 2 of his Mic'd Up, he strolls up to now-Jet Spencer Long, quizzes him on New York's offense and then hits Long with, "Ours is better, right?"

Now's the time a certain amount of you especially angry Internet users will starting typing your HE SHOULD STOP JOKING AROUND, YOU SEE BELICHICK DOING THIS CRAP? comments. And, of course, being friendly has no influence on winning in the NFL.

But every person with a job knows that it's much easier to work with a boss that you enjoy being around as opposed to one you try to avoid being around at all costs. You can point to certain areas where Gruden needs to improve, but the fact that he treats each player — from established star to offseason longshot — equally is one place he's excellent in.

Another place he's excellent in? Rightfully calling out those who are wearing pants that are far too short.