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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, November 28, 7:30 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Davis Wade Stadium (55,082) -- Starkville, Mississippi. Television: ESPN. Home Record: Ole Miss 5-2, MSU 4-2. Away Record: Ole Miss 2-2, MSU 1-4. Neutral Record: Ole Miss 0-0, MSU 0-0. Conference Record: Ole Miss 3-4, MSU 2-5. Series Record: Ole Miss leads, 61-42-6.
GAME NOTES: Archrivals meet in the annual Battle for the Golden Egg on Thanksgiving night, as the Mississippi State Bulldogs and the Ole Miss Rebels close out their regular seasons with an SEC showdown at Davis Wade Stadium.
At 7-4, Ole Miss will be heading to bowl season for the second straight year under coach Hugh Freeze. The Rebels made their second appearance in the AP Top-25 this season following a four-game winning streak spanning from Oct. 19 to Nov. 16, but they were promptly ousted from the ranks following a 24-10 home loss to nationally-ranked Missouri last weekend, which dropped them to 3-4 in the SEC.
Mississippi State has been bowl eligible in three straight campaigns under coach Dan Mullen, but unless it can win this matchup, it'll be on the outside looking in come the postseason. The Bulldogs were reeling with three consecutive losses prior to last week's thrilling 24-17 overtime win at Arkansas, in which Damian Williams scored the game-winning touchdown in the extra session to avenge Devon Bell's missed 42-yard field goal attempt at the end of regulation.
In a series that dates back to 1901, Ole Miss holds a 61-42-6 advantage. The Rebels defeated the nationally-ranked Bulldogs, 41-24, in last season's edition for their first Egg Bowl win since 2008.
Despite its poor output in the loss to Missouri (378 yards, 10 points), Ole Miss has been stellar offensively this season, scoring 32.3 points and 487.1 yards per game.
The offense runs through quarterback Bo Wallace, who has completed more than 64 percent of his passes for 2,908 yards, 21 touchdowns (four rushing) and just six interceptions. Barry Brunetti has only 36 pass attempts this season but he's much more than just a backup quarterback, as he's featured in many goal-line packages and has cashed in with six passing and four rushing touchdowns.
I'Tavious Mathers was one of the few bright spots in the loss to Missouri (seven carries, 66 yards, TD), and he now leads the team with 495 yards on 75 carries. Jeff Scott (493 yards, two TDs) and Jaylen Walton (433 yards, six TDs) give the Rebels plenty of options in the backfield.
The talent is plentiful at receiver as well. Laquon Treadwell (58 receptions, 500 yards, six TDs) is the top possession target, while Donte Moncrief (50 receptions, 801 yards, five TDs) has made it a habit of getting open deep. Ja- Mes Logan (40 receptions, 532 yards, three TDs) is also having a strong campaign.
Defensively, the Rebels have held their own against some of the best in the SEC, as they rank seventh in the league in scoring defense (24.9 ppg) and eighth in total defense (383.8 ypg).
Cody Prewitt could be on his way to an All-SEC selection, as he has racked up 66 tackles, five interceptions and two forced fumbles. Serderius Bryant (63 tackles, 9.0 TFL, 3.0 sacks), Denzel Nkemdiche (31 tackles) and Robert Nkemdiche (26 tackles, 7.0 TFL) have all missed multiple games due to injury, but are all healthy now.
While Mississippi State's offense has been solid this season with 27.2 points and 438.0 yards per game, both figures rank in the bottom half of the SEC.
The offense was missing a key component last week when dual-threat quarterback Dak Prescott (1,542 passing yards, 722 rushing yards, 17 TDs, seven INTs) sat with an elbow injury. He remains questionable for this contest, meaning Tyler Russell (.651 completions, 875 yards, five TDs, three INTs) could be in line for another start.
The Bulldogs are fortunate to have one of the SEC's best all-purpose weapons on their side in Jameon Lewis, who has been potent as a receiver (49 receptions, 635 yards), rusher (117 yards), return man (102 yards) and even passer (3-of-3, 84 yards), and through all those channels he's scored 12 touchdowns.
Without Perkins, MSU's rushing attack is a little light. LaDarius Perkins (490 yards, two TDs) and Josh Robinson (376 yards, two TDs) have garnered the most work.
Much like their counterpart, the Bulldogs have been impressive on defense this season, allowing 25.6 points and 370.7 yards per game while ranking as one of the SEC leaders in takeaways with 20.
Benardrick McKinney is the top tackler with 61 stops, and he has also recovered a pair of fumbles. Nickoe Whitley (four INTs, FF, blocked kick), Taveze Calhoun (three INT, FF) and Jamerson Love (three INTs) have all been active in the turnover battle.
Mississippi State only has two losses in six tries at home this season, with those setbacks coming to national powerhouses Alabama and LSU, so it is certainly a difficult draw for Ole Miss, especially coming off a tough loss. However, the Rebels have shown great resiliency under Freeze and should be able to create enough big plays to run past a potentially-shorthanded Bulldogs squad and claim the Golden Egg.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Ole Miss 31, Mississippi State 28
11/27 11:12:41 ET
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