Mississippi State's 31-21 loss to the Ole Miss Rebels in the Egg Bowl on Thursday night was tough for Bulldogs fans to witness.
Although the team struggled in big moments, there were some plays to be proud of. Linebackers Jett Johnson and Aaron Brule had remarkable performances and some young players stepped up on offense near the end of the game. These plays kept the crowd engaged and prevented the game from being a total blowout.
Here are the five best offensive and defensive plays of the game.
1. Jett Johnson's interception return
In a game that was quickly falling apart, linebacker Jett Johnson stepped up and made a big play. With 7:54 left in the fourth quarter, he picked off a pass from Ole Miss quarterback Matt Corral and returned it 48 yards to the Rebels’ 22-yard line. As a result, the Bulldogs were able to score their first touchdown of the night two plays later.
2. Jaden Walley’s touchdown reception
State struggled to score a touchdown in the game up until the fourth quarter, when a connection between quarterback Will Rogers and wide receiver Jaden Walley put six points on the board. Rogers threw the 11-yard touchdown reception with 7:20 left in the fourth quarter to make it a 24-13 game. Finally, the Bulldogs had a chance to potentially change the outcome of the game.
3. Aaron Brule’s early fourth-down stop
Ole Miss got the ball to start the game, but quickly found themselves facing a fourth down and one at their own 34-yard line. They chose to have Jerrion Ealy run for it. Linebacker Aaron Brule was not going to allow it. He wrapped Ealy up and took him down for a one-yard loss to give his team the ball deep in opponent territory. Although the Bulldogs could only manage to kick a field goal, it gave them some momentum.
4. Jo’quavious Marks’ late rushing touchdown
Things were looking pretty bleak for MSU, but running back Jo’quavious Marks wanted to make one last big play for his team. Marks dodged defenders as he ran 11 yards for the score with 2:27 left on the clock. Although the following two-point conversion cut the score to 31-21, there simply wasn’t enough time for the Dawgs to come back. At least Marks was able to finish his outstanding regular season with one last score on his home field.
5. Jett Johnson’s late fourth-down stop
As if Johnson’s long interception return earlier in the quarter wasn’t impressive enough, he made his last mark in Davis Wade Stadium when he stopped Ole Miss on fourth down with 1:19 left in the game. Johnson took down Ealy for a one-yard loss to give his team the ball at their own 41-yard line. There wasn’t enough time for a comeback victory, but the Bulldogs at least had the chance to tack a few more points on the board. More than anything, Johnson’s play showed just how much he gave to his team and fans throughout the season.