Little-used backup quarterback Chris Relf accounted for three touchdowns, Anthony Dixon set the Mississippi State single-season rushing record and the Bulldogs upset No. 20 Mississippi 41-27 in the Egg Bowl on Saturday.
Ole Miss (8-4, 4-4 SEC) couldn't stop the one-two combination of Relf and Anthony Dixon, who finished with 133 yards and a touchdown. Dixon has 1,390 yards in 11 games, breaking James Johnson's school record by seven yards.
The defense also came up with several big plays, including a 64-yard interception return for a touchdown by Corey Broomfield that sealed the victory.
Charles Mitchell added two interceptions for the Bulldogs (5-7, 3-5), who won't go to a bowl this season but got the pleasure of possibly knocking the Rebels (8-4, 4-4) out of second place in the SEC's Western Division and a plum bowl assignment if LSU beats Arkansas later Saturday.
It was the sixth straight win for the home team in the series and the 10th in the last 11 games. The Bulldogs carried the golden egg-shaped trophy given to the winner to the end zone and celebrated with fans after the win, which came a year after an embarrassing 45-0 loss.
They danced as a group to the song "Who Let the Dogs Out," and generally celebrated as if they had won a bowl game. The Bulldogs had nothing to gain from the win except bragging rights, while the Rebels had plenty to lose. Yet a week after upsetting then-No. 10 LSU, setting itself up for the Capital One Bowl, Ole Miss was listless and Mississippi State was inspired.
Relf had been Tyson Lee's backup and shared playing time all season, but was often given the short hook after mistakes. This time he played most of the second half and dominated Ole Miss with 131 yards rushing, averaging 10 per carry on his first 10 and 8.7 yards overall.
The run specialist also stung the Rebels with touchdown passes of 2 and 34 yards, rallying the Bulldogs from a 13-10 halftime deficit.
The second scoring pass _ a 34-yard lob to Chad Bumphis, who broke three tackles on the play _ came on fourth and 9. Relf also mined the edge of the Ole Miss defensive front on the option for several big runs, clinching the game with a 10-yard power rush with 10:56 left.
Ole Miss' offense struggled with Mississippi State's defense all day. The Bulldogs gave up 385 yards, but were stingy inside the 20. The Rebels' only success came on long pass plays for touchdowns _ 20 yards to Shay Hodge, 48 yards to Markeith Summers and 52 to Dexter McCluster.
The Bulldogs mostly held McCluster in check, allowing just 82 yards rushing to snap a four-game streak of 100-plus against SEC opponents. And though Jevan Snead finished with 275 yards passing, his three interceptions were costly.
Dixon now owns every significant rushing record at Mississippi State. His dive to catch the pylon for a 2-yard score got the Bulldogs offense rolling and set the tone for a running game that couldn't be stopped. Mississippi State had 317 of its 412 total yards on the ground.
With 96 yards receiving and a touchdown, Hodge set the single-season school record for receiving yards and became the first Rebel to surpass 1,000 yards (1,023).