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SPORTS WEEKEND

Ole Miss Upsets No. 23 Bulldogs

November 24, 2000|From Associated Press

OXFORD, Miss. — With the Golden Egg on the line, Deuce broke loose.

Deuce McAllister ran for three touchdowns and threw for another to lead Mississippi to a 45-30 victory over No. 23 Mississippi State on Thursday night in the highest-scoring Egg Bowl game ever between the rivals.

"Players want to play in big games and this was definitely a big game," McAllister said.

McAllister was hyped as a Heisman Trophy candidate before the season, but injuries and sporadic play have made it a frustrating senior year for the 220-pound tailback. He had rushed for only 646 yards coming into the game.

Then the season got much tougher for McAllister two weeks ago when his 23-year-old brother died after years of struggling with scoliosis and respiratory ailments.

McAllister said he was thinking about his brother throughout the game.

"I think I played to the standards that he would have wanted me to," he said.

The first touchdown pass of his career gave Mississippi the lead for good at the end of the third quarter.

McAllister took a pitch toward right end on a second-and-16 from the Bulldog 20. With the defense in heavy pursuit, McAllister stopped and floated a pass across the field to quarterback Romaro Miller, whoran in for a touchdown that gave Mississippi a 35-30 lead with 44 seconds left in the third.

The Rebels sealed the game with the help of a Mississippi State miscue.

A fumbled snap by Mississippi State punter Prentiss Cole gave Ole Miss the ball at the Bulldog eight-yard line. Two plays later, McAllister vaulted into the end zone from a yard out to make it 42-30 with 6:53 left in the game.

McAllister finished with 121 yards in 24 carries. Playing Mississippi State has always brought out the best him. In two previous meetings, McAllister had run for 321 yards.

Ole Miss, 7-4 overall and 4-4 in the Southeastern Conference, ended a two-game losing streak in the annual Egg Bowl--so-called for the Golden Egg Trophy that goes to the winner.

Mississippi State (7-4, 4-4) has lost two in a row.

"It really hurts," Bulldog defensive back George White said. "We were in position to go to the SEC championship and let it slip away."

On the first play of the second half, McAllister took a handoff through a large hole in the middle of the line and sprinted away from the defense for a 72-yard touchdown run and a 28-16 lead.

It was Mississippi's fourth touchdown in four possessions.

The Bulldogs finally stopped the Ole Miss run with two touchdown runs in four minutes by Dontae Walker. The second was a 73-yard burst that gave Mississippi State a 30-28 lead midway through the third quarter.

Walker had 121 yards in 14 carries and three touchdowns.

Mississippi State jumped out to a 16-0 lead in the first half, but also lost starting quarterback Wayne Madkin.

The junior had a 102-degree fever and missed practice Wednesday. He started the game and threw a 39-yard touchdown pass to Terrell Grindle midway through the first quarter before giving way to redshirt freshman Kevin Fant for the rest of the game.

Fant completed 10 of 21 passes for 135 yards and was sacked seven times.

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