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November 19, 2012Saturday night against LSU was another great effort.
We lost the game, but it had nothing to do with effort, and despite how much we want to be upset, this season is so much about effort for me. They went to Death Valley and competed. I'm sure they'll watch the film and see things they should have done differently, but I was proud of them on Saturday.
Now it's down to one, and we all know who the one is.
There shouldn't be a doubt as far as the Rebels getting up for this one and finding the emotion and enough left in the bottom of the tank to put 60 minutes together. In some ways we've been talking about Mississippi State all season. It's a winnable game, and it's an opportunity.
Ole Miss fans have heard all the talk the last couple years. MSU has talked, but the Bulldogs have also backed it up, but this is our chance to turn it around and get a win and get to a bowl and get our own streak going. This game is different. It just is.
Most of these players on both sides know people from the other side. If you played in this state, like I did, you grew up and competed against those guys. You have friends on that sideline. You have former teammates on that side. It's more personal because of the relationships.
I was just like a lot of those players and am just like a lot of you. Half my family is Ole Miss and half my family is Mississippi State. You never want to come home at Christmas and hear all that noise after a loss, and the State folks don't want to hear our noise after an Ole Miss win. So many houses in this state can relate to that.
It's always a little tougher for the out-of-state players on the teams. They've never been involved in it personally, but they don't have to go far to see how important it is and to understand its importance to their teammates - and to the program, especially this year with bowl eligibility on the line.
It's so important to finish this one out. Going bowling is huge. Like I said above, for fans, this has been a great season because of the effort and pride of the team. That was supposed to be the scoreboard this season, but they've heightened our expectations making Saturday so important. They deserve a bowl game - no matter who is on the other side when we get it accomplished.
My best Egg Bowl memory was in 2000, my senior night and walking out of Vaught-Hemingway Stadium as a winner and with a bowl in front of me. You know you're leaving on a good note, and I want these seniors to experience that feeling.
They jumped on us early that year, but we were on a mission. I expect this group to be on one, too.
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