EGG BOWL PREVIEW ON TURKEY NIGHT: OLE MISS @ MISSISSIPPI STATE

CAN MISSISSIPPI STATE HEAD COACH MOORHEAD GET WIN #6 AND GRAB BOWL BID AND SAVE HIS JOB?

VEGAS ODDS:  MISSISSIPPI STATE BULLDOGS (-2 1/2) vs. OLE MISS REBELS ~  TOTAL: (58)

Last year this fierce rivalry got very ugly, with a brawl and drinks thrown on players by the fans in Oxford. It what many years has been a good game, last year it wasn’t at all as Mississippi State won 35-3.

This year was expected to be a rebuilding year for Ole Miss, but the Bulldogs brought in former Penn State QB Stevens and in Year 2 under HC Moorhead, things were expected to be better than a team now in a “MUST WIN” spot to secure win #6 and grab a Bowl Bid. For the Rebels, this is their “BOWL GAME” and off that beatdown last season on Turkey Day, you would expect the score to be much closer than last year’s Blowout. These two teams are very much alike as Ole Miss scores 27 and allows 27 points per game. The Bulldogs score 28 and allow 28 points per game this season. Ole Miss averages 50 penalty yards per game and Miss State averages a close by 47 penalty yards per game. Both teams faces the murderers row of Bama, Auburn and LSU. Neither allowed  less than 20 points vs. any of those 3 powerhouses.

Ole Miss allowed 20 points to Auburn, 58 to LSU and 59 to Bama. Mississippi State allowed 56 points to Auburn, 38 points to Bama and 36 points to LSU.  In the Ole Miss game vs. LSU, they did allow 58 points, but the Offense gained an amazing 614 total yards vs. LSU with Rebels QB Plumlee gaining 212 rushing yards and 4 TD’s and stud RB Ealy rushing for 141 more rushing yards. Plumlee doesn’t play like a Freshman and his 989 rushing yards and 11 rush TD’s prove that he is not afraid to run right at opposing Defenses. I really like new OC Rich Rodriguez play calling and overall the Offense has really improved as the season progressed. The Rebels Offense is (#31) overall and rushes it and passes it both well (rush: 261, pass: 189). The Offense scored TD’s on 19 of it’s 34 red zone trips. Ole Miss problems were never the Offense, it’s always been a leaky Defense (#89), especially their Pass Defense (worst in SEC) that allows 292 passing yards per game. They are just simply small and poor tacklers. The Rebels though do possess decent Pass Rushers and their 30 sacks in SEC play proves that. They will go against a below average Bulldogs OL that has allowed 24 sacks, 10th in SEC. When it comes to the Rebels Kicker, L. Logan, you do not want this kid trying a game winning FG late if you are a Rebels fan, as he’s (1-7) on FG tries over 38 yards. Ole Miss has played very well on Road losing by only 5, 6 and 11 and one clunker (24) points.

Mississippi State is basically a dead middle of the pack Offense and Defense in CFB 2019. They are #63 on Offense, rushing it well at 228 rush yards per game and 182 pass yards per game. They have scored a TD on 28 drives inside the Red Zone (out of 45 tries). They only have 5 FG’s kicked all year. Part of this teams problem is the wide receivers can’t catch a cold in the fierce winter without a coat on. They drop ball after ball and it’s totally killed many drives and the momentum that goes along with that, rather than the letdown these drops, especially on third down, cause. They do possess a superstar RB, Kylin Hill, who leads the SEC with 1215 total rushing yards, and most importantly is he is deadly after first contact, rushing for 700 yards after his first contact. It will be interesting to see how he fares as Ole Miss is very decent vs. the Run, allowing only 132 rushing yards per game (34th in nation).

Some good news for Mississippi States Defense is they will get back 3 starters who missed last week to suspensions: DT Autry, LB Gay and Safety Murphy.

Ole Miss will enter this game extremely well rested (12 days off), whereas the Bulldogs enter on just 5 days rest. Nothing better than to watch two teams where one it’s like their Bowl Game and Revenge game all in one and the other fighting for their 6th win/Bowl Bid and needing to win that 6th game vs. a rival they completely hate. With this a night game kickoff (expected temps at 46 degrees and no wind at all), you should have all had your Turkey Dinner and can sit back and enjoy a game where although neither team is a team with a good winning record, you should get full effort out of every kid suiting up for both teams. Nothing better than CFB Rivalry Week and this is one of the most heated of them all.

Enjoy your Turkey Dinner and a little Egg Bowl for some late dessert.

Gary Greene