Get ready for the Egg Bowl from Oxford, as Ole Miss (8-3 SU, 4-6-1 ATS) hosts Mississippi State (7-4 SU, 5-5-1 ATS) from Vaught-Hemingway Stadium on Thursday night at 7pmET.
The biggest question for Ole Miss fans is whether this is the last regular season game for head coach Lane Kiffin, who has been rumored to be taking over the Auburn job amongst others.
Kiffin has a good team that has lost three of their last four, while the Bulldogs last lost three of their past five. Last season, Ole Miss won this game on the road 31-21 as a 2.5-point dog.
Bulldogs struggle against top teamsMississippi State started out at 5-1 and everything looked great. They were ranked 16th and then the schedule started getting tougher. They fell at Kentucky, Alabama and to No. 1 Georgia at home. Their only SEC win since beating Arkansas 40-17 at home on Oct. 8 was a 39-33 overtime victory over Auburn on Nov. 5.
Last week, they beat up on FCS East Tennessee State 56-7 at home. The Bulldogs jumped out to a 35-0 lead in the first half and never looked back. Will Rogers completed 30 of 37 for 301 yards with five TDs. They held ETSU to just 11 first downs and 154 yards of total offense.
The Mississippi State defense has not been great, but they do have a great player in cornerback Emmanuel Forbes, who had the sixth pick-six of his career after getting another against ETSU for 82 yards. Overall, the defense is allowing 352.5 yards per game (39th) and just 202.2 passing yards (34th). The run defense (150.3ypg) will be tested in this one. But when you look at stopping teams, they allowed 45 points to Georgia, 30 to Alabama, and 27 to an average Kentucky defense.
The offense is led by Rogers, who is completing 67.9% of his passes for 3,463 yards with 32 TDs and five picks. Like most Mike Leach offenses, they don't run much as they are averaging 78.2 rushing yards (129th) per contest.
Should he stay or should he go?You know when you hire Lane Kiffin, that he might not stay for the long or even short haul. He's only 47 but has coached at Ole Miss since 2020, Florida Atlantic, USC, Tennessee and the Oakland Raiders as a head coach, not to mention his five other stops as an assistant coach. He has shown in college that he can coach with an 84-43 record overall and a 23-10 record with the Rebels.
That’s news to me Jon. 🤦♂️. Nice sources 🚫👿🪑🍽 https://t.co/P8rdpxEk0p— Lane Kiffin (@Lane_Kiffin) November 22, 2022
You also have to wonder if those rumors that Kiffin has denied are a distraction to his Ole Miss team, who has lost two straight and three of four. They fell at Arkansas 42-27 last week after losing to Alabama at home by just six (30-24) as a 10.5-point dog.
The Rebels' offense showed up, amassing 463 rushing yards and 240 passing yards, but they also turned the ball over three times. All those turnovers and a leady run defense led the way for Arkansas to take a 35-6 lead at the half and held on for the 15-point win. Raheim Sanders had 232 yards with three TDs for the Razorbacks.
For Ole Miss to be successful, they have to play better defense. The good news is that their terrible run defense (90th) won't matter much in this game because the Bulldogs love to throw. The Rebels do have the third-ranked rushing offense (278.3ypg) in the nation. Quinshon Judkins is have an outstanding season with 1,385 yards and 16 TDs (6ypc).
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
Ole Miss is the better football team and in the 60-degree weather with a strong chance of rain, running the football is going to be important. Mississippi State is a pass-first, pass-second team. They rank 70th against the run and that's not a good sign when you face Judkins and the Rebels' dominant rushing game. Ole Miss has lost three of four games, but they came to Alabama, LSU on the road and Arkansas on the road. Mississippi State hasn't won a road game since beating Arizona on Sept. 10.
Full-Game Total Pick
These aren't great defenses, but the weather is a big factor in the total. I don't see Mississippi going crazy on the ground, but they'll get a ton of attempts, thus shortening the game. It will almost be like an Army-Navy game on one side of the ball. The weather will limit the passing game for both teams. Also, looking back at the last five meetings between these schools as the under is 5-0 and 8-1 in the last 9.