OXFORD, Miss. — Bo Wallace threw for 294 yards and five touchdowns, Donte Moncrief caught three TD passes and Mississippi pulled away in the second half to beat No. 25 Mississippi State 41-24 on Saturday night.
Ole Miss (6-6, 3-5 Southeastern Conference) won the Egg Bowl for the first time since 2008, breaking Mississippi State's three-game winning streak in the series. The Rebels also earned bowl eligibility for the first time since 2009.
Mississippi State (8-4, 4-4) made a field goal late in the second quarter to tie the game at 17-17 going into halftime. But the Rebels reeled off 24 straight points in the second half to push past the Bulldogs.
Moncrief caught seven passes for 173 yards and tied a school record with three receiving touchdowns. Jeff Scott added 111 rushing yards.
Chad Bumphis led Mississippi State with six catches for 146 yards and two touchdowns. Tyler Russell completed 18 of 33 passes for 268 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions.
Ole Miss finished with 527 total yards.
Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen's brash personality has added some spice to the Egg Bowl in recent seasons, with the Bulldogs dominating the series and not being afraid to gloat about it.
Houston Nutt's inability to beat Mississippi State was one reason Ole Miss fired him after last season, and new coach Hugh Freeze has matched Mullen's intensity.
This time, it was the Rebels who had reason to celebrate.
The heightened emotions on Saturday were evident even at the coin toss, when the captains from both teams had to be separated by officials.
And the action started early with Ole Miss needing less than two minutes to score a touchdown. Wallace found Moncrief for a 42-yard completion on the second play of the game and the Rebels scored two plays later on a 25-yard pass to Jamal Mosley.
A packed Vaught-Hemingway Stadium went wild, but the celebration was short lived. Mississippi State's Jameon Lewis returned the ensuing kickoff 100 yards to tie the game at 7-7.
It was the first of many early mistakes for the Rebels.
Wallace continued his maddening tendency to alternate spectacular plays with catastrophic ones. He completed 12 of 18 passes for 241 yards and two touchdowns in the first half, but also threw two interceptions and lost a fumble. Both passes were intercepted by MSU linebacker Cameron Lawrence.
Mississippi State pushed ahead 14-7 late in the first quarter on a 42-yard touchdown pass from Russell to Bumphis. Russell made the acrobatic throw after scrambling away from multiple Ole Miss defenders.
Ole Miss responded with a 43-yard field goal by Bryson Rose and then pushed ahead 17-14 when Wallace found Moncrief on a 77-yard touchdown pass.
But the Rebels exploded in the second half for 24 straight points. The Wallace-to-Moncrief connection couldn't be stopped by the Bulldogs, with the physical 6-foot-3, 216-pound Moncrief finding holes in the secondary time and again.
Moncrief caught touchdown passes of 21 and 16 yards in the third quarter. Wallace had no turnovers in the second half.
The Rebels have had problems holding second-half leads this season – losing tight games to Texas A&M, LSU and Vanderbilt – but they never had to sweat against the Bulldogs. Wallace hit Vincent Sanders for a 16-yard touchdown early in the fourth quarter to push the lead to 41-17 and the rout was nearly complete.