It’s finally a holiday in Mississippi…and it’s also Thanksgiving.
A feast will take a backseat to the annual Egg Bowl in many households across the state of Mississippi as Ole Miss and Mississippi State put in-state bragging rights on the line.
Mississippi State was able to travel to Oxford last year and bring home the Golden Egg after a 55-20 routing of the Rebels in which they eclipsed 450 yards on the ground. This year, Ole Miss must find a way to contain the Bulldog ground game, beginning with QB Nick Fitzgerald, if they hope to leave Starkville with a win. Fitzgerald accounted for 5 total TDs in last year’s game and the Rebels couldn’t find an answer. Throughout the 2017 season, Ole Miss has had difficulty stopping the run and currently ranks 124th in the nation in rushing defense allowing 240 yards per game, so if they can’t find a way to slow the Bulldogs down, they may be in for more of the same.
MSU comes into the matchup with the SEC’s third-ranked defense, and they now face the task of slowing down Ole Miss’ talented receiving core. In last year’s contest, the Bulldogs were able to rattle Shea Patterson in just his third start, this year they face another new start in Jordan Ta’amu. If the Bulldogs can pressure the inexperienced Ta’amu, they may be able to force costly turnovers and build an early lead. Ta’amu and the Rebel offense’s best chance may be to try and exploit an overly aggressive Bulldog rush, just as Alabama did on their game winning drive in week 10.
The Bulldogs are coming off a late victory over Arkansas, and while they fell behind early, they battled back and came out with a win. The Rebels come in having lost a close game to Texas A&M as they were unable to get their offense moving in the second half. Both teams have won and lost close games this season, but no win or loss will mean as much as this one.
While the Bulldogs are playing for a better bowl game by picking up their 9th win of the season, the Rebels are 5-6 and have only pride to play for, so an Egg Bowl upset would mean the world to an Ole Miss program that has certainly seen its fair share of disappointment over the past season. With no chance to play in a bowl game this year, the Rebels have nothing to lose when they take the field on Thanksgiving night.
Rivalry games take on whole new meaning of competition especially the Egg Bowl, so while the spread is 15 points in the Bulldogs favor you can never truly predict what will happen when the egg bowl trophy is on the line.
This will be the 114th meeting between the two schools with Ole Miss leading the all-time series 63-44-6.
Kickoff from Davis Wade Stadium is set for 6:30 p.m.