Looking forward to this year’s Egg Bowl, Ole Miss QB Jaxson Dart recalls last year’s loss: ‘It’s a game I really want back’
OXFORD, Miss — Jaxson Dart and the Ole Miss Rebels are 9-2 after defeating ULM 35-3, finishing 7-0 in the Vaught for the 2023 season. This past Thursday night on RebTalk, head coach Lane Kiffin announced Dart would be returning to play at Ole Miss next season as opposed to declaring for the NFL Draft. Dart was asked about his plans in the postgame press conference Saturday and indicated perhaps it’s not decided quite yet.
“I haven’t really decided yet. He kind of said that to put positive vibes out in the air, so I’m still going to go through this year. I’m not really focused on making that decision right now. Got a lot of ball left to play, and once everything is over, I’ll make that decision,” Dart said.
At halftime during Saturday’s matchup against ULM, Dart had thrown for 122 yards, completing 15/21 passes, yet the Rebs only had seven points. Jaxson offered his thoughts on the early struggles.
“It was super frustrating, especially because it was senior night. You want to play good for those guys with all of the work they’ve put in. That first half was frustrating, and we had a lot of guys speak up in the halftime locker room, and I think that really helped get guys back on track.“
Coming out of halftime, a much more focused Ole Miss team took the field and scored the next 28 points. Dart finished his final home game of the season, throwing for 310 yards and three touchdowns. On the receiving end, it was Dayton Wade who caught seven passes for 108 yards and one touchdown. This marked his third 100-plus receiving game of the season.
Dart says that even though the Rebs played an opponent who was not the most talented in between the games of Georgia and Mississippi State, it was easy to stay motivated, simply due to the perspective he looks at it.
“When you were young playing football, you didn’t care who you were playing; you were just happy to play football. It didn’t matter how many people were watching, or what the stands were like, you were having the time of your life playing out there. Just trying to switch your perspective on it, you know we put in so much work in the offseason, there’s no reason to not have a lot of juice going into a game.“
Moving forward, the Rebs will have a short week of rest until they are set to face their rival Mississippi State on Thursday night at 6:30 p.m. The Bulldogs are 5-6 after defeating Southern Mississippi, 41-20. Jaxson says that through all of the games he has experienced as a Reb, Ole Miss fans are noticeably more passionate about this one.
“You know it’s funny, you go out just around the square or out of town, and people tell you, ‘We don’t care if you don’t win a game this whole season, the only game we care that you guys win is the Egg Bowl,’ so we understand the importance of it, and we are just really excited to go to Starkville and compete.”
Taking a look at last season, the Rebels lost the Egg Bowl 24-22 after failing on a two-point conversion attempt in the final seconds of the game. Losing against State in the Vaught is something that has stuck with Dart for quite some time.
“That game ate at me ever since we walked off the field. It’s a game I really want back.“
Jaxson Dart on last year’s Egg Bowl loss
Ole Miss and State kick off at 6:30 p.m. on Thanksgiving night in this year’s Egg Bowl. The game will be broadcast on ESPN. Hotty Toddy!