Remembering Egg Bowls past: Archie Manning

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When it comes to picking his most memorable Egg Bowl, Archie Manning can’t choose just one.

No, he has to pick one as a player and another as a father.

Interestingly, both were played in Starkville, as will Thursday night’s Egg Bowl. And both games were played in rain. Hopefully, this week’s rain will have passed.

“In 1969, my junior year, we had to beat Mississippi State to go to the Sugar Bowl,” Archie says. “I remember we played on Thanksgiving Day and I remember that it rained pretty steadily all game long. If you look, I think you’ll see we were tied at halftime.”

They were, 14-14.

“And then we put it on them pretty good in the second half,” Archie says. “I can’t remember how many we scored but it was a bunch.”

Final score: Ole Miss 48, State 22. Manning threw two touchdowns and scored two on the ground. Ole Miss scored the first 34 points on the second half, including 27 in the fourth quarter.”

“That was my last game against State; I didn’t get to play them as a senior because of an injury,” Archie says.

But 34 years later, Archie returned to Starkville on another rainy day to watch his youngest son play his final regular season game as a Rebel in Jackie Sherrill’s last game as the Bulldogs coach. It was the 100th anniversary game between State and Ole Miss, and it was never close.

With Eli Manning, the future, two-time Super Bowl MVP leading the way, Ole Miss took a 24-0 lead into halftime and then coasted to a 31-0 victory.

“It was raining so hard you could barely see across the field,” Archie says. “There was a lot of emotion watching your son walk off the field in his last regular season game after a big victory over the in-state rival. It probably meant more because Ole Miss lost there Eli’s sophomore year (36-28) in a game I know he thought they should have won.”

Manning says memorable State-Ole Miss games weren’t restricted to playing or watching his son.

“I remember sitting at home as a little boy in Drew listening to State-Ole Miss games on the radio with my daddy,” he says. “It’s part of growing up in Mississippi.”

And, by the way, Archie and his daddy usually listened to Mississippi Sports Hall of Famer Jack Cristil.

•••

Artie Cosby remembers the perfect kick that wasn’t.

 

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