Ole Miss LB Ashanti Cistrunk excited for the Egg Bowl: ‘We are looking forward to getting that bad taste out of our mouth’
OXFORD, Miss. — For the players from the state of Mississippi on the Ole Miss roster, the Egg Bowl means a little more than to others.
But for Rebel linebacker Ashanti Cistrunk, it means a bit more than most.
The senior who has earned four letters is a tad different from his teammates. Some of his fellow Rebels are from Jackson, or the Delta or even the Gulf Coast. Cistrunk is from Louisville, Miss.
To put that into context, if Cistrunk left his boyhood home and drove through the Tombigbee National Forest, he could be in Starkville in about 30 minutes. That proximity, along with ties to the State roster, makes the Egg Bowl even more special to Cistrunk. He is a Rebel, but in his youth, he tuned into a team that wore maroon.
“Every year I get so excited to play this game,” Cistrunk said. “Especially growing up, Mississippi State was the team I watched every Saturday. So, on top of that, I have a family member (Ty Cooper) that plays with them and I know a lot of the guys so it’s a big, big-time game for me.”
His relative is only one player he is familiar with in this game. Gabe Moore is also on the Bulldogs’ roster. He, like Cistrunk and Cooper, are all graduates of Louisville High School. Oddly enough, each of the three play on the defensive front.
Although he and his friends are from the same hometown, that does not mean the hostilities have faded about the rivalry. Still, Cistrunk would not elaborate about the extent of the disagreements.
“We argue every day about this game. Yeah, we just argue every day about this game.“
Cistrunk on how he and his State friends view the Egg Bowl
Cistrunk has had a solid season with 59 tackles and 2.5 sacks. Two of those sacks came in a win against LSU.
Cistrunk’s counterparts got the best of the argument last year as State won in Oxford 24-22 in what turned out to be Mike Leach’s last game. The loss on the home field has had a lasting effect on Cistrunk.
“You hear about it all year so it leaves a bad taste in your mouth. We just got to hear about it all the time, so this game we are looking forward to getting that bad taste out of our mouth.”
Ashanti Cistrunk on getting the Egg Bowl Trophy back
As a native of Louisville, Cistrunk knows more than most the importance of this game. And he has passed along that sentiment to the rest of the Rebels.
He was asked what he would tell someone who doesn’t know much about the Egg Bowl about this rivalry.
”I would describe it as a war. Don’t take it lightly. The fans don’t take it lightly. Don’t joke about it. This is serious…“
Kickoff for the Egg Bowl is set for 6:30 pm. Thursday and the game will be broadcast by ESPN.
Steve Barnes joins The Rebel Walk staff as a senior writer and brings a trifecta of journalistic experience. As a writer, he has covered college sports for Rivals.com, Football.com and SaturdayDownSouth.com as well as served as a beat writer for various traditional newspapers.
He has been a broadcaster for arena football and several national tournament events for the National Junior College Athletic Association as well as hosting various shows on radio.
A former sports information director at Albany (Ga.) State University and an assistant at Troy and West Florida, he has helped host many NCAA conference, regional and national events, including serving five years on the media committee of the NCAA Division II World Series.
Barnes, a native of Pensacola, Fla., attended Ole Miss in 1983-84, where his first journalism teacher was David Kellum. The duo has come a long way since that time.
He will bring a proven journalistic track record, along with a knack for finding the out-of-the-ordinary story angles to The Rebel Walk.
Barnes continues to reside in Pensacola a mere ten minutes from the beach because he does have taste and a brain.