Inside Slant

The Sports Xchange

November 21, 2018 at 1:45 am.

Moorhead excited for first Egg Bowl

Joe Moorhead remembers tuning into the very beginning of last year’s Egg Bowl.

But it was also his son Mason’s birthday so he slipped away to Target to purchase him an Apple watch and by the time he returned the game was already in the second half.

This year’s Egg Bowl has Moorhead’s full and undivided attention as he gets inaugurated into the annual rivalry game between Mississippi State and Ole Miss on Thursday.

“It’s a huge game battling for the Golden Egg,” Moorhead said. “I certainly understand the importance and significance of this game to our players, our program, the school, the city, the state and to our fans.”

Six days after Moorhead’s trip to Target and the Bulldogs’ 31-28 Egg Bowl loss, the newly named MSU coach was greeted on the tarmac by thousands of fans at the George M. Bryan Airport in Starkville who quickly informed him how much that game meant to them.

“This game has all the ingredients of what makes college football and a great rivalry special,” Moorhead said.

“It’s two great opponents with proximity, familiarity, tradition, history and quite frankly and most importantly a lot of players within the state that have played with or against each other. I think that’s what makes this game unique and special.”

One of Moorhead’s messages to the Bulldogs this season is to “play with emotion without being emotional”. In a rivalry game that has been fueled by emotion over the years, Moorhead plans to take a different approach than his predecessor Dan Mullen did with the players during Egg Bowl week.

“They don’t need any form of inflammatory rhetoric from me to get them fired up,” Moorhead said.

“That would last for a series or at most half of a quarter. Ultimately when that wears off, you’re going to fall back on your preparation and you’re going to win the game because of your effort or execution.”