The Esports Golden Egg Trophy has moved to Oxford after the University of Mississippi Esports team, led by Jonah Herrin, defeated the Mississippi State University team by a final score of 4-3.
The entire event of seven titles featured hours of competitive gameplay that resulted in a tied score of 3-3. MSU was triumphant in Rainbow Six: Siege, Overwatch and League of Legends. Ole Miss was victorious in Counter-Strike: GO, Rocket League and Call of Duty: Black Ops 4. It all came down to an intense tie-breaker round where both teams had to settle it in Super Smash Brothers Ultimate.
The day kicked off with an introduction from the host, Robert "Hexagrams" Kirkbride. Hex elevated the energy from the crowd, interviewed the competitors and set the stage by introducing each title. Before the event started, Hex brought in a few speakers for opening announcements.
Student Association president Jake Manning took the stage and expressed his historic passion for video games. His personal history was followed by his expectations for the future of MSU Esports.
“I’d like to think … 10 years from now Mississippi State has an official Esports team that’s in a league, that competes competitively, that gets scholarships and that all started from the work that everybody was doing here today,” Manning said.
Appreciation was then shared toward MSU administration and staff for assisting with the event. After an introduction from Jake Manning, MSU president Mark E. Keenum welcomed both teams to the event.
“What we’re celebrating today is modern, high-tech competition," Keenum said. "It takes a lot of hard work and skill to be up here on this stage. A lot of commitment and drive for competition.”
President Keenum went on to recall the initial start of the Egg Bowl tradition and tied it into the creation of this event.
“We’re getting started," Keenum said. "We look to the future as a university and I’m proud of these young students; these co-ed students who can come here and compete at this high level.”
Following the opening words, each team’s competitors took the stage for the first title. Commentators brought key information to online spectators and the crowd, explaining rules, logistics and the players current strategies. Both MSU and Ole Miss provided swapping sportscasters, showcasing in-depth knowledge of each individual title.
Counter-Strike: GO, a competitive PC shooter, was the first match of the day that resulted in a 16-9 win for Ole Miss. MSU followed the defeat by winning 7-5 of the rounds in Rainbow Six: Siege, a close-quarters PC shooter. Ole Miss gained another point by winning 3-2 rounds of Rocket League, a car-based soccer title. MSU returned the tie with 2-0 rounds in Overwatch, a team-based shooter title for PC. Call of Duty : Black Ops 4 was played next, resulting in a 3-1 win for the Ole Miss Landsharks.
MSU’s Bulldogs followed with a shutout game of League of Legends, a Multiplayer Online Battle Arena for PC, with two aces and 8–22 kills under 24 minutes. The final tie-breaker competition of the evening featured Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, a Nintendo crossover fighting title. It was an intensely close match that ended against MSU competitor Maze playing as Mario vs Ole Miss challenger Ataraxia playing as Mr. Game & Watch.
The event ended with the passing of the Esports Egg Bowl Trophy. Jay DeShong, the president of MSU Esports, said a few words and commended the team on their performance.
“Jonah, I’m given the honor of presenting the 2019 Esports Egg Bowl Trophy to you and Ole Miss Esports. Congratulations on the win," Deshong said. "Thank you everyone for watching at home. Thank you everyone for coming. Hope to see you guys in Oxford for the 2020 Esports Egg Bowl.”
The future of MSU Esports is looking bright as the university works toward the growing Esports coverage. President Keenum stated that recent developments were underway to expand outreach.
“Just this past week I had the opportunity at our board meeting with ESPN executives and the SEC network to talk about how we need to start focusing as a network on Esports and Esports broadcasts," Keenum said. "It won’t be very long before we start to see these types of competitions, not just on social networks, but on live linear television. That’s coming and I’m excited about that.”