Brent Maze: Don’t blame it all on the receiver

By BRENT MAZE,

It’s the play we’ve all seen multiple times over the last week. At the end of the Egg Bowl, Elijah Moore hiked up his leg like a dog taking a bathroom break after scoring what could have been the game-tying touchdown with four seconds left.

The only problem was that the game wasn’t tied yet. The touchdown itself only make it 21-20 in favor of Mississippi State. They had to score the extra point, something that was made much more difficult due to an unsportsmanlike penalty from the aforementioned touchdown celebration.

Some may have said it was karma, but whatever it was, Ole Miss wound up missing the kick. Mississippi State won the Egg Bowl by one point.

I do feel terribly bad for Moore. I’m not condoning his actions. He was wrong to let his emotions get the best of him and do something silly like that with the game in doubt. But how many of us have done or said something stupid because we got too emotional? If you’re not raising your hand, you’re probably lying.

We all do stupid stuff, but unfortunately, Moore’s incident happened in a critical moment of a rivalry game. And this will live on not just in the memories of the Egg Bowl, but likely in the social media meme world.

However, one of my friends who is currently playing college baseball reminded me of one fact. The kick was still missed. Even though it was a 35-yard field goal, that should be a kick that’s nearly automatic. 

Nobody is also talking about the three turnovers that allowed Mississippi State to hold a 21-14 lead late in the fourth quarter. Nobody talks about the fact that Ole Miss had numerous chances in the second half to score but yet couldn’t get anything going until the final minute of the game.

My point is that Ole Miss lost the game as a team. Their defense held Mississippi State to just one touchdown in the second half after the game was tied at 14-14, but the offense couldn’t get going until the final minute. When you’re trying to complete a last-gasp comeback, everything has to go perfect. One mistake could cost you the game, and it did. But all the blame shouldn’t go to Moore.

For everyone wanting to just kick Moore off the team, that’s not the right thing to do. If there are other things off the field he’s done to deserve it, that’s one thing, but he deserves a chance to learn from his mistakes.

While this mistake didn’t necessarily lose the game, it might have sealed the Rebels’ fate. It was wrong, but instead of just kicking a guy when he’s down like I’ve been guilty of, let’s show him compassion as well. Sure, he needs to be held accountable, but it can be done in a way where he learns his lesson and comes back stronger than ever.

Brent Maze is the publisher of the Appeal. Contact Brent at bmaze@-newtoncountyappeal.com.