By DANNY P. SMITH
The offensive plan for the Mississippi State Bulldogs was to run the football right at the Ole Miss Rebels.
With the call for a rainy forecast for the 84th Battle for the Golden Egg, MSU football coach Dan Mullen felt the best strategy was to let his running backs make plays.
Mission accomplished as the Bulldogs had a team rushing total of 247 yards in a 31-3 victory over the Rebels and the prize was the Golden Egg trophy.
"We wanted to pound our guys," Mullen said. "It was a little bit of a rainy night. We wanted to control the football and win that battle. Obviously, we did and Vick (Ballard) is a big part of that."
Ballard, one of 17 MSU seniors who were recognized prior to the game, finished with 144 yards on 23 carries and one touchdown.
With the success the Bulldogs were having on the ground, there was no reason in Ballard's mind to do anything different.
"We started off running the ball real good and we stuck with it because it was working," Ballard said. "Why would you try something else if it's working? I don't know if it was the game plan but it worked."
MSU started scoring in the first quarter with senior quarterback Chris Relf completing an 18-yard touchdown pass to Ballard, then Ladarius Perkins had a 36-yard run.
In the second quarter, Relf tossed a 20-yard scoring pass to Perkins, while Ballard had a 26-yard scoring run in the third quarter.
Ballard had more rushing yards in the first half with 84 than the Rebels had total yards on offense with 65.
"The big plays in the first half really set the tempo for us the whole day," Mullen said.
In his eighth start at quarterback this season, Relf didn't have an outstanding game with only 49 yards rushing and 70 yards passing.
Mullen liked the way Relf was managing the game and stayed with him all of the way through except when sophomore Tyler Russell was called upon late when the win was in hand.
Relf wasn't surprised about the production of the offense as long as everyone did their job and did it well.
"It's all about execution," Relf said. "We practiced well all week, but we were just executing on offense."