Mississippi State University’s newly recognized esports club won its first ever Esports Egg Bowl against Ole Miss Esports Oct. 13. The competition was held at the Pavilion at Ole Miss, where it was open to the public and streamed online.
The Egg Bowl featured seven games competed between the two teams, including CS:GO, League of Legends, Rainbow 6: Siege, Overwatch, Rocket League, Call of Duty and Super Smash Bros.
MSU Esports practiced for months in advance with friendly matches between members before the serious competition. The team’s dedication showed in the final score, a decisive victory of 5-2.
MSU Esports President Jason Deshong, freshman communication major, said the Egg Bowl’s atmosphere as “electric,” especially when about 600 people were present for the Rocket League portion of the competition.
The 2018-2019 year has been a historical one for MSU Esports. The team has strived for years to become recognized as an official club sport, and it finally succeeded earlier this semester.
Esports is team-based, organized competition focused on video games. MSU Esports has 19 active teams competing across 12 different games.
Established in 2012, MSU Esports was once known as Esports @ MSU, and was considered a student organization instead of an official club. Once the team proved its place among other club sports, it took on the name MSU Esports.
Winning the Egg Bowl right after becoming an official sport was a major accomplishment for the club, and Deshong said he did not know how to describe it.
"It’s hard to put into words," Deshong said. "It feels great to have been a part of the process of making it a reality, but it feels even better to bring the win back to Starkvegas."
MSU Esports offers its members a unique community with a shared passion for video games and competition. One of the team’s biggest goals is to prove gaming is a legitimate sport.
Most of the members have played video games for as long as they can remember, and they said their passion is not often met with much support. Winning a platform as significant as the Egg Bowl has brought them one step closer to earning the respect MSU Esports feels it deserves.
One MSU Esports member, Matthew Johnson, freshman computer engineering major, was also recognized as the Egg Bowl’s Most Valuable Player. Alongside his own accomplishments, Johnson said he was happy to see the entire team’s efforts pay off.
"Being MVP is a huge honor and means a lot to me, especially because of how much I trained," said Johnson. "But overall, we wouldn’t have done as well if it weren’t for the efforts of all the other players."
Upon hearing about its win, the entire team embraced each other on stage. This victory was something every member had worked toward for a long time, and to succeed in the name of their university made the moment all the more special.
The University of Mississippi’s Esports team, Ole Miss Esports, is already looking forward to a rematch next year. Ole Miss Esports President Christopher "Cray" Pennison said he was proud of how the event turned out, despite his club’s loss.
"We were able to make it appear professional and create a fun viewing experience for everyone who was there," Pennison said. "We were definitely disappointed in losing to State in the event, but several of the events were close, which win or lose, made for an extremely fun time."
Next year’s Egg Bowl will take place in Starkville.
As for the Egg Bowl trophy, it is currently residing in Deshong’s living room, where it will stay until MSU can find a proper place for it, he said.
"We don’t plan on ever giving the trophy up," Deshong said. "So we hope that it can become a spectacle on campus that will add to the already heated Ole Miss rivalry."