By DANNY P. SMITH
The 17 members of the Mississippi State senior class closed out their home careers in style Saturday night.
Chris Relf, Vick Ballard and other Bulldogs appeared intent on making sure the Golden Egg trophy wasn't going back into the possession of the Ole Miss Rebels.
In a very dominating effort at Davis Wade Stadium, MSU defeated Ole Miss 31-3 to accomplish a three-peat in the Egg Bowl.
The last time the Bulldogs won three-straight in the series against the Rebels was when it claimed four in-a-row from 1939-42.
MSU coach Dan Mullen has made it a point of emphasis since he's been in Starkville to keep the Egg Bowl trophy right where it is.
"Three-straight Egg Bowl championships is something special," Mullen said. "I'm really proud of how since we got here, everybody has bought into what we're trying to do. It's great for our seniors to go out that way."
It was only fitting that Relf got the start at quarterback in his final home appearance.
With the weather conditions like they were with on-and-off rain throughout the game, Relf was the logical choice to be the signal caller.
Mullen insisted all week that sophomore Tyler Russell would get the start, but changed his mind sometime after Wednesday. The thought process must have started sometime after Thanksgiving dinner.
When considering that the Egg Bowl was also Senior Night, the choice to put Relf behind the center for the first play wasn't a difficult one.
"When we got back, we thought about it that Chris was going to start because I wanted to start the seniors," Mullen said. "We wanted to start as many seniors as we could today. We had planned on rotating those guys (at quarterback), but Chris was playing pretty well and we were moving the ball."
Relf was in charge of an offense that rushed for 247 yards and finished his career with a 2-0 record as a starting signal caller against Ole Miss.
If Russell had started and was asked to throw a wet football for the majority of the outing, it probably wouldn't have worked out real well.
The strategy to run the football was the right one against the Rebels, who seemed to have no emotion. It was like they came to the stadium beaten.
Ole Miss will be going through a coaching change during the offseason, but unless some significant changes take place to improve drastically on both sides of the football, the Bulldogs stand a good chance to make it four-straight victories in the series next season.
Danny P. Smith is sports editor and columnist for the Starkville Daily News. The opinions in this column are his and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Daily News or its staff.