Army ROTC highlighted during Egg Bowl Run

 Mississippi State University head football coach Dan Mullen talks with Army ROTC members after they presented him with the game ball for Thursday's Egg Bowl game. (Photo by Logan Kirkland, SDN)
Staff Writer

This week marks the infamous time of the year when red and blue clashes with maroon and white.

One of the most heralded rivalries in the state of Mississippi begins with the Army ROTC programs of both Mississippi State University and The University of Mississippi.

MSU Army ROTC Battalion Commander Cadet Weston Nichols said although the egg bowl happens only once during the year, the organization process takes about a semester to coordinate schedules.
Throughout the process, Nichols said it is incredible to see both universities, especially the athletic departments take its time out of their busy schedules to help put on a great tradition.

"It's always a mutual thing between both schools," Nichols said. "(The Army ROTC) literally takes the football that starts in Oxford and then literally put it in the hands of Dan Mullen."

He said every year Army ROTC makes the hand off of the game ball in Calhoun City, which serves as a great way to represent both programs at UM and MSU.

The ROTC program has two passenger vans, which hold about 15 people per van. Nichols said this works out to about a mile for each cadet to run with the ball.

"It works out great," Nichols said. "The distance is never an issue."

Nichols said this is a perfect example of how two rivals can come together to highlight a sense of comrradere in the state.

"Differences aside, at the end of the day it's a celebration of Thanksgiving time of year and it's these two communities coming together and just enjoying the game itself," Nichols said. "It's the biggest football event in the state of Mississippi."

As fans and football players begin to bolster their pride, Nichols said there is an even bigger rivalry between the two ROTC programs. He said each program tries to outdo one another on physical fitness and scores from summer training camp.

"There's a certain degree of that rivalry that will never go away," Nichols said. "We always want to be viewed as the best program in the state."

Nichols said this 93 mile spectacle is just another way to highlight the responsibilities and duties for the ROTC program at MSU.

"It's a pretty cool spotlight we get for the public eye to see what we do on a daily basis," Nichols said.