"Land Shark Attack" Original Oil Painting
An age-old adage that “Defense wins championships” proved to be the theme of the 2014 Egg Bowl for The University of Mississippi against No.4 ranked, Mississippi State University. The Ole Miss defense, known as the “Land Sharks”, was a swarming force to be reckoned with on November 29th, 2014 in Vaught-Hemingway Stadium at Oxford, Mississippi. Under the spreading umbrella of trees, the revelry of “The Grove” and a packed home stadium, Coach Hugh Freeze and the Rebels defeated State 31-17.
Similar to the legendary circling of sharks to size up their prey before striking, the “Land Shark” defense sized up MSU’s powerful offense led by QB Dak Prescott and attacked with frenzy. The Ole Miss defense kept the State offense out of the end-zone for the entire first half and finally allowed a touchdown in the third quarter with 9:37 left to play that added to their lone field goal earlier.
It is an understatement to say that the Bulldogs were out of sync, because the Mississippi defense kept constant pressure on Prescott and limited their offense to only 128 total yards for the first half. The Rebels were the No.1 college football defense in the country in 2014 with only 16 points allowed per game. The MSU offense found out exactly why they were that night. Ole Miss also finished the 2014 schedule ranked in the top 5 in the SEC in defense against scoring offense, passing offense and total offense.
Like thunder and lightning, the second half showed a different look as the tenacious defense kept up the pressure but turned the game over to the Rebel offense for some fireworks. Leading the way for Ole Miss’ offense were senior quarterback Bo Wallace, junior running back Jaylen Walton and freshman running back Jordan Wilkins. Wallace passed for 296 yards with two long throws of 46 yards in the first quarter and 83 yards in the third. Both long passes were caught by tight end, Evan Engram and led to 1 yard touchdown runs by Wallace and Jeremy Liggins. Walton carried the ball for a career-high 148 yards on 14 carries and one of his runs was a 91 yard cut-back gallop into the end-zone. Wilkins took a pitch out from Wallace, pulled up and dropped a textbook pass into Cody Core’s hands for a 31 yard TD that sealed the score at 31-17.
Encircling Prescott are All-American players No. 25, Cody Prewitt and No. 21, Senquez Golson. Prewitt and Golson were two senior players who played and started all 13 games of the 2014 season before graduation and leaving for the NFL. Also, included in the circle of the defensive net around the quarterback are 2014 Second team All-American and 2015 preseason All-American, Robert Nkemdiche as well as No. 27, Marquis Haynes. Marquis led the defense in 2014 with 7.5 sacks as a freshman. Consequently, these returning players and others coming back in 2015 will refill the shark tank to stage another “Land Shark Attack”.
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