Egg Bowl infamy: Elijah Moore's celebration penalty costs Ole Miss vs Mississippi State
STARKVILLE — They will talk about this one for decades.
With four seconds left in the 2019 Egg Bowl, Ole Miss had a chance to tie the score. But receiver Elijah Moore celebrated the team out of position.
Redshirt freshman quarterback Matt Corral threw a touchdown to Moore from the 2-yard line, making the score 21-20 in the final seconds. After catching the touchdown, Moore celebrated by mimicking the move of a dog urinating on a fire hydrant.
The penalty triggered a 15-yard penalty on the extra point, which kicker Luke Logan missed from 35 yards.
"I'm just disappointed," Ole Miss coach Matt Luke said about Moore's celebration. "That's not who we are. We've been a disciplined team all year. That's just disappointing."
According to coaches and teammates, Moore did not address his teammates after the game.
"I think everybody was excited we scored a touchdown," Ole Miss quarterback John Rhys Plumlee said. "When you're excited and make a big play, I think you celebrate a little bit. They just didn't call it our way."
Even if the penalty had not been called, Luke said he would've attempted the point after for the tie instead of going for the two-point conversion to win the game.
After Logan's missed extra point, Mississippi State's bench stormed the field. Because there were still four seconds left in the game, that triggered a 15-yard penalty. But that penalty was offset because one Ole Miss player ran on the field as well.
"He's a big contributor to this team and is a leader on this team," Plumlee said about Logan. "That's just how football is sometimes. I know people are going to give him grief about it. I can tell social media is probably going to put a lot of blame on him. But at the end of the day, we could've been in a way better situation. I'm in Luke's corner no matter what."
Moore's celebration was a repeat of the same celebration receiver D.K. Metcalf used for Ole Miss after scoring a touchdown in the 2017 Egg Bowl.
The excessive celebration penalty and missed kick ruined a clutch drive led by Corral. He threw a 57-yard pass to Braylon Sanders that gave the Rebels a first down when they faced a fourth-and-24.
Corral came into the game in the fourth quarter for the final two drives after Plumlee handled the entirety of the game. Ole Miss offensive coordinator Rich Rodriguez explained the choice by saying he thought his team had to throw to win the game.
"We were running OK, but we just weren't executing," Rodriguez said. "I've got to take the blame for that too. I thought there were some things out there in the run game. We were close. I'll have to watch the film to decide. But at the end we thought we had to throw and Matt's the better thrower. I thought he gave us a little spark."
Neither Corral nor Moore were made available for comment postgame.
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