The Mississippi State Bulldogs play host to the Ole Miss Rebels in the Egg Bowl on Thanksgiving night. From Davis Wade Stadium At Scott Field, this promises to be one of the most exciting games so rivalry weekend and is sure to be filled with some dramatics. The Rebels enter as winners of their last three and six of their last seven, which all could be for not if they don't find the win on Thursday. For the Bulldogs, they've won back-to-back games and four of their last five games themselves. The best part of the Egg Bowl though is how close this rivalry has been of late. Over the last ten meetings, each team has won five games. Thursday's game under the bright lights should prove to be another exciting rendition of one of the SEC's best rivalries.
Rebels Have Eyes Set On Marquee BowlOle Miss is having a historic season and Lane Kiffin has done an incredible job turning things around in his short time on campus. Entering Thanksgiving at 9-2, Ole Miss would love nothing more than to find a tenth win and likely cement themselves into a premier New Years Day bowl game. Their only losses this season have come against Alabama and Auburn, so not the worst results, but a loss to the Bulldogs would be devastating. Rivalries are always of high importance but with so much on the line for the rebels, as well as potentially winning their second straight game in the rivalry, Kiffin will need to make sure his group is ready.
It certainly helps that Ole Miss comes into Thursday night as the healthiest team in the SEC. They have no players appearing on this week's injury report and the depth they have should be a huge advantage.
It's no shock that Ole Miss' offense is one of the best in the country but rarely have they seen a defense as strong as Mississippi State's. The Rebels are averaging over 500 yards per game and are scoring 36.4 points per game and it'll be interesting to see if the passing game can be the difference in his one, especially considering Mississippi State's struggles against the pass.
Matt Corral has thrown for over 3,000 yards this season and his 19 touchdowns, compared to three interceptions, isn't what opponents want to see. Beyond that though, he has another 10 touchdowns on the ground and has Jerrion Ealy and Snoop Conner averaging over five yards per carry each. The x-factor though will be Dontario Drummond, who has nearly 30 more receptions than the next best receiver on the team and can make for a long day for the Bulldogs secondary.
The defense remains the larger concern for the rebels though. Ranking 100th nationally in yards allowed per game, Mississippi State's offense has the tools and talent to move the ball on them. The largest discrepancy is probably in the passing game. Ole Miss has one of the worst pass defenses in the SEC and considering the Bulldogs have one of the best passing attacks in the league, Ole Miss could be in trouble.
Bulldogs Looking For Home Field AdvantageMississippi State has had an up and down season but still finds themselves looking like a potential top-25 team as the season draws to a close. Regardless of how any season goes though, a win in the Egg Bowl will always be positive to the Bulldog fanbase. Losses early in the season to Memphis and LSU were a concern but things have quickly turned around, only losing twice since then, and have wins over Texas A&M and Auburn. The Bulldogs finally have a defense to match Mike Leach's offense though and with the fans ready for Thursday, pulling off the upset is well within reach.
Much like their opponents on Thursday night, Mississippi State comes in one of the healthiest teams in the conference as well. The only questionable player is Brandon Ruiz, the Bulldogs' kicker, so their depth should be well-intact as well.
𝗘𝗚𝗚 𝗕𝗢𝗪𝗟 𝗪𝗘𝗘𝗞 🏆 pic.twitter.com/5DjdHdau9Q— Mississippi State Football (@HailStateFB) November 22, 2021
Ole Miss hasn't faced many teams this year that have been able to match their offensive explosiveness but the Bulldogs might be able to do just that. Mississippi State ranks 21st themselves in total yards per game and only averages five fewer points per game than the Rebels. With one of the worst ground attacks in the country, winning the time of possession will be their concern.
Will Rogers is averaging over 370 passing yards per game and his 34 touchdowns compared to eight interceptions is an impressive tally. OleMiss will certainly struggle to match Mississippi State athleticism in their receiving core but if the Bulldogs can't control the game on the ground even slightly, it will make for a tough day.
The Bulldogs' defense has improved by leaps and bounds over the last year though. They suddenly find themselves ranked 21st in yardage defense and their seventh-best rushing defense will have its hands full. Ole Miss is yet to see a defense besides Alabama's where they couldn't run the ball at will, but the Bulldogs could present a massive roadblock in that plan.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
Thursday's game is an interesting matchup between two teams that have very opposing strengths. Ole Miss struggles to stop the pass, while the Bulldogs have one of the best air attacks in the country. On the flip side, Ole Miss will strive to control the clock, while Mississippi State has no desire to try to have long and drawn-out possessions on the ground. In the end, it's Ole Miss' depth and athleticism that will take control. Corral is one of the best quarterbacks in the country and the added benefit of his health continually improving should only make him more dangerous. The Rebels have also already found success against some of the most athletic defenses in the conference. For the Bulldogs, their struggles against teams that emphasize speed and the ground game, including against Memphis, Arkansas, and Alabama, leads to the doubt that they can get things done against Ole Miss. Additionally, according to covers.com, in the last six meetings between the two teams, the road team is 5-1 ATS and the underdog is 4-1 ATS in the last five meetings overall.
Full-Game Total Pick
The Egg Bowl seems like it could be one of the more difficult games to judge on the weekend from a scoring standpoint given the discrepancy between the two teams' offensive strategies. The under will hit on Thursday though, mainly because of Ole Miss' ability to control the clock and the ground game. Mississippi State has the ability to strick quick through the air but they won't have the ball for nearly as long as they normally do and Ole Miss' defense has the edge explosiveness to control the Bulldogs. Additionally, according to covers.com, for Ole Miss, the under is 6-0 in their last six games overall, is 6-0 in their last six games following a win, and is 5-0 in their last five games as an underdog. In meetings between the two teams, the under is 5-0 in the last five meetings at Mississippi State and is 4-0 in the last four meetings overall.