STARKVILLE, Miss. (AP) -- It's Egg Bowl week and Mississippi State's Dan Mullen has been strangely quiet.
In previous years, the fourth-year coach hasn't missed an opportunity to needle rival Mississippi -- though he still refers to the Rebels as "The School Up North." But for the most part, he's been downright cordial, even praising Ole Miss' better-than-expected season.
Mullen insists his slightly more congenial attitude isn't a sign that he's lost any fire to beat the Rebels. The 25th-ranked Bulldogs (8-3, 4-3 Southeastern Conference) travel to face the Rebels (5-6, 2-5) on Saturday at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium.
Mullen has never lost an Egg Bowl -- winning three straight.
But Ole Miss is much improved. The Rebels will be highly motivated, needing one more win to become bowl eligible for the first time since 2009.