The 2013 season appeared to be coming to an end for the Mississippi State Bulldogs. MSU was 4-6 and appeared to be headed for its first losing season under head coach Dan Mullen.
To make matters worse, Dak Prescott, who had been making great strides at quarterback, was hurt and barely able to play. The other quarterback that saw significant playing time during the season, Tyler Russell, was injured late in the Bulldogs’ game against the Arkansas Razorbacks.
MSU went on to beat Arkansas, 24-17 in overtime to move to 5-6 and within a win of the postseason. However, standing in their way was none other than their arch rival, the Ole Miss Rebels.
Ole Miss had beaten Mississippi State in the 2012 Egg Bowl, so MSU was looking for revenge, in addition to a bowl bid. But it wouldn’t be easy for the Bulldogs, as Ole Miss came in with a 7-4 record under head coach Hugh Freeze.
But it was Prescott who saved the day, and the season, for MSU. He entered the game late, then came up with the game-winning touchdown in overtime to lift MSU past Ole Miss 17-10.
The win gave the Bulldogs great momentum, not to mention the extra practice time that comes with a bowl bid. MSU accepted a bid to the Liberty Bowl, where they will face Conference USA champion Rice on December 31.
Mullen is also hoping the late-season heroics can carry over to the recruiting trail. MSU had a clear advantage in recruiting the state of Mississippi before Freeze arrived in Oxford. Now, Ole Miss has taken that advantage away. But a head-to-head victory is something that Mullen and his staff can use to help sway recruits toward Starkville.
The late-season rally changed the tone around the Mississippi State program. Now it’s Mullen’s job to keep that momentum going.
Tim Letcher is a contributing writer for RantSports.com and a member of the Football Writers Association of America. Follow him on Twitter @TimLetcher , on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.