STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Billy Brewer was in his first season as coach at Mississippi in 1983 and he was about to go 0-1 against his instate rival on a blustery November day in Jackson.
Artie Cosby's 27-yard field-goal attempt was headed dead center through the goal posts. Mississippi State would take home the Golden Egg Trophy.
What happened next made Brewer think God must be a Rebel.
Just as the perfectly kicked ball reached the cross bar, a fierce gust of wind blew through the open south end of horseshoe-shaped Mississippi Veteran's Memorial Stadium, knocking the ball down short of the uprights and into the end zone.
"The wind caught the rotation and reversed the rotation of the ball. It really did," said Brewer, now retired and living in Oxford. "It was one of the things you watch on 'Ripley's Believe It or Not."'
Depending on whether you are a Bulldog or a Rebel, Cosby's wind-blocked kick is either the most famous or infamous play in a rivalry that ranks as the second most played series in the Southeastern Conference.
Ole Miss (6-3, 3-3) and Mississippi State (2-7, 1-6) will meet for the 98th time Thursday night, only Georgia and Auburn have played more often in the SEC.
"It's just a big game, a very big game," said Mississippi State defensive end Connor Stephens from Ackerman, Miss. "You always want to have those bragging rights for the next year."
Since 1927, the teams have been battling for the Golden Egg.
The idea of handing out a trophy was proposed after a nasty fight broke out following the 1926 game, when Rebels fans tried to tear down the goal posts in Starkville to celebrate a 7-6 victory over then-Mississippi A&M.
The next year, hoping to promote better sportsmanship and protect the goal posts, the schools chipped in for the $250 trophy, a gold-plated football - that looked a lot like an egg - mounted on a pedestal.
On Thanksgiving Day 1927, Ole Miss won 20-12 in the first "Battle of the Golden Egg."
From that point the rivalry was dominated by the Rebels. During coach John Vaught's tenure at Ole Miss spanning from 1947-70, the Bulldogs won just twice and the rivalry lost its ferocity.
"It was never that intense. (The Bulldogs) weren't very competitive then," said Brewer, who played under Vaught from 1957-59.
After Vaught, things began to even out. Since 1970, when the Bulldogs upset the Archie Manning-led Rebels in Oxford, Ole Miss leads the series 17-13.
During the late 1970s, both teams were mediocre. Since neither team had much chance at playing in the postseason, The Clarion-Ledger newspaper in Jackson dubbed the game the Egg Bowl.
This is the fourth straight year the Egg Bowl will be played on Thanksgiving night and televised by ESPN.
As for Cosby, 37, he still lives in Starkville. He said every year around this time he gets calls from reporters wanting to talk about that ill-fated boot.
He laughs about it now, but back then "I said a few things that there is no way you could publish."
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