OXFORD, Miss. – Only a few college football games are discussed months or years after the crowd leaves the stadium. Even fewer get their own name, such as “Wide Right” (Florida State-Miami, 1991), “Punt Bama Punt” (Alabama-Auburn, 1972) or “The Play” (California-Stanford, 1982).
Mississippi has its own version of a gridiron contest so memorable that it has its own name, the 1983 Ole Miss-Mississippi State game, known to fans as “The Immaculate Deflection.”
That game, and the season leading to it, are recounted in “The Immaculate Deflection,” a new half-hour documentary produced by Brad Schultz, assistant professor at the University of Mississippi’s Meek School of Journalism and New Media, and Eric Williamson, a former UM instructor. The program will air statewide on Mississippi Public Broadcasting at 10 p.m. Nov. 27, the night before the annual “Battle for the Golden Egg” is played in Starkville.On the 30th anniversary of one of the most memorable games of the series, the show includes game footage and interviews with former Ole Miss players and coaches.
Few games in college football history have had such a bizarre ending. Trailing with 24 seconds left in the game, MSU freshman kicker Artie Cosby attempted a short 27-yard field goal to potentially win the contest. The ball went straight and long, but as it reached the goal posts, a 40-mph gusting wind slapped it down, securing the 24-23 victory for the Rebels.
“It was just like the hand of God had reached out and knocked it down,” Schultz said.
Many MSU fans and players were reluctant to discuss the event, but Schultz said he felt that including Billy Watkins, a Clarion-Ledger and Jackson Daily News sportswriter who covered 30 Egg Bowls, added a good perspective from the Mississippi State side.
The program offers an in-depth look at the game that resonates with so many people in the state.
“It is hard to believe that it has been 30 years ago that this game took place,” said Kelly Powell, the Ole Miss quarterback in the game, who resides in Memphis. “I think that everyone of those days still remembers the kick. When you talk to Ole Miss fans now, both young and old, they have heard or seen the replay of that (kick). It was a special time for Ole Miss and the fans.”
This year’s Egg Bowl will be played at 6:30 p.m. Nov. 28 (Thanksgiving Day) at Davis Wade Stadium.