STARKVILLE, Miss. — Mississippi flushed away a golden chance at the Golden Egg after a star player lifted his leg.
Luke Logan missed a 35-yard extra point after Ole Miss receiver Elijah Moore was penalized for celebrating a touchdown by crawling and pretending to urinate like a dog, and Mississippi State escaped with a 21-20 victory Thursday night in the 116th Egg Bowl.
“That’s not who we are. We’ve been a disciplined team all year, and so just disappointed that happened," Rebels coach Matt Luke said. “That’s not who he is. Elijah is a good kid, and he just got caught up in the moment.”
Ole Miss (4-8, 2-6 Southeastern Conference) pulled within a point with 4 seconds remaining on Matt Corral’s 2-yard pass to Moore, but Logan hooked the extra point after Moore cost the Rebels 15 yards. The extra yards also prevented Mississippi from going for a winning 2-point conversion.
For some, it was a reminder of the 2004 "fake moon" celebration by Vikings' Hall of Famer Randy Moss when he scored a late-game touchdown against Green Bay that, most notably, set off broadcaster Joe Buck, who called the move "a disgusting act" moments after it took place.
The penalty was another in a long line of unsportsmanlike conduct fouls between these two teams in recent years, and oddly not even the first one featuring a player pretending to pee. Luke said he knew that as emotions flared in the annual rivalry game that showboating would need to be avoided.
“Absolutely,” Luke said. “We talked about it. We had five penalties. We just wanted to play a clean game. Nothing after the whistles or before the whistles was going to help us win the ballgame.”
While the celebration wasn't an original, it may have been the first one that included commentary in Russian, where the announcers took greater note of the specifics than Adam Amin and Matt Hasselbeck, who were calling the game for ESPN.
Moore was copying at least two current NFL players, Odell Beckham Jr. and DK Metcalf, who celebrated touchdowns that way during the 2017 season. Metcalf's happened while he was a wide receiver at Mississippi.
Mississippi State ended up beating Ole Miss at home for the first since 2013, possibly saving second-year coach Joe Moorhead’s job.
Moorhead was fiery in his defense of the job his staff has done with this team, overcoming a litany of academic suspensions and several injuries to key players.
“To me it was an exclamation point on the narrative that I’m not the right man for this job or this team, or that I can’t coach in this league,” Moorhead said. “This is my school, my team, and this is my program. They’ll have to drag my Yankee ass out of here.”
Other news services contributed to this report.