The wave of students entering the playing field at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium after the Egg Bowl was both anticipated and approved …
Bjork: “We respect all rules and policies that we live by in the SEC. In this case it was really a sign of relief for our fans and our students. We made the decision in the third quarter that should we continue with the way the game was going in the second half that we were not going to put up much of a fight and allow fans and students to come on the field, really just as a way to celebrate what this team has accomplished and what this program has gone through the last several years.
“I made the comment that it really was just a big exhale for our program, so we made that decision knowing that we’d be fined, and we were OK with that, but we do respect the policies and the rules. The commissioner called me yesterday and said the fine will be forthcoming, and I said we’ll send the check right away. I never want to say it was worth it. To me it was worth it to see the smiles on the faces of our students, of our players, our fans and to have people just celebrate as one big, happy Ole Miss family.”
Were you guys aware of the security issue for the MSU team and staff?
“We were. The No. 1 focus from that point was safety and security for the officials, getting them off the field, then the Mississippi State team. We wanted to make sure they were protected. We did have a line, a barrier of officers, security guards, our staff to make sure they cleared the field in a safe and secure manner as well. After that it was making sure the goalposts were protected. We did not want anybody climbing on the goalposts, so we were going to protect that. Again, I think our fans were ready to be respectful, ready to just try and grab a hand on the Egg Bowl trophy and celebate with our team. That was really what it was all about. So we did have a plan in place to protect Mississippi State and the game officials.
Were there any incidents you were aware of regarding MSU players or game officials?
“I watched some video tape here and there. There was some shoving and some pushing and some verbal things going back and forth. I think in a rivalry game some of that’s going to happen. We’re not aware of anything else at this point in time. If something comes up we’ll address it accordingly.”
“The expectation moving forward is that was a one time deal. Based on what’s happened the last couple of years, based on how this team has performed this year. They really didn’t have any expectations, so to beat your arch-rival to be going to a bowl game in convincing fashion, to me, it’s a one-time deal. To me, the expectation now is that we don’t come on to the field, we don’t storm the field, because we expect to win. This was a one-time deal, and it was an exhale for the program, but if it does happen again, there are safe ways to manage it, but there would be another fine coming, and we’d rather avoid that if we can.”