For a game that ended 17-10, featured 16 punts and six combined turnovers, the Egg Bowl between Mississippi State and Ole Miss certainly closed with a bang.
Mississippi State quarterback Dak Prescott, who missed the last two games with a stinger, came off the bench in the fourth quarter, completed 11-of-20 passes for 115 yards and scored the game-winning touchdown on a three-yard run on 4th-and-1 in overtime to lead his team to a win.
The decision to go in was all Prescott's according to Bob Carskadon of HailState.com.
Mullen: "I turned to him in the 4th quarter and said, 'Do you want to go in?'" Dak responded, "Put me in."— Bob Carskadon (@bobcarskadon) November 29, 2013
Just how questionable was Prescott going in? Mullen "confirmed" that he wouldn't play earlier in the week, and the sophomore from Haughton, La. was only cleared to play Thursday morning according to Carskadon.
MSU had a doctor flown in from Nashville to check out Prescott. Thought there was no chance this morning, called turnaround "miraculous."— Bob Carskadon (@bobcarskadon) November 29, 2013
It wasn't just a win in a rivalry game for Mississippi State, it got the Bulldogs to 6-6 and gets them to a bowl game for the fourth consecutive season for the first time in program history.
It was an emotional win for Prescott, who lost his mother to cancer earlier this month, according to NBCSports.com. His performance against the Rebels in an emotional time coming off of injury wasn't lost on Bulldog head coach Dan Mullen, who got choked up talking about his quarterback in the postgame press conference.
Third time Mullen has gotten choked up talking about Prescott. Says Dak dedicated this game to his mom before the game.— Bob Carskadon (@bobcarskadon) November 29, 2013
But Prescott's heroic effort wasn't the only thing that made this final 15 minutes and change of this game worth the wait.
After Prescott's touchdown run, Ole Miss had the chance to send it to the second overtime. On 1st-and-10 from the 11, Rebel quarterback Bo Wallace took off for the end zone but was hit by Nickoe Whitley short of the goal line and fumbled, which was recovered by Mississippi State's Jamerson Love to end the game.
Any pressure that was building over his job status—whether real or perceived—will likely be gone for the time being, following the dramatic overtime victory in a rivalry game in front of the Bulldog faithful. That's big, and Mullen knows it.
Ha. Mullen: "I guess I'll be on the hot seat again tomorrow."— Bob Carskadon (@bobcarskadon) November 29, 2013
I've been one of Mullen's biggest critics and wrote that he should be coaching for his job in this game after last week's win over Arkansas.
Whether he was or wasn't doesn't really matter, because his team—and Prescott in particular—came through for him in a huge moment.
Now the Bulldogs have some much-needed momentum headed into the offseason. They finished one game behind Ole Miss overall, but even with the Rebels at 3-5 in the SEC and the Egg Bowl trophy on their shelf.
Not a bad way to save a season.