Ole Miss football has had a long-standing rivalry with Miss State and we call it the Egg Bowl. Thanksgiving night will mark the 114th meeting between the two schools.
Ole Miss football fans haven’t had much reason to celebrate this season. There have been way too many losses both on and off the field. Of course, there will be no post-season bowl game so the last game of the season will be the match-up with the 8-3 Miss State Bulldogs.
Being in-state rivals isn’t easy for fans of either side. Many are neighbors, co-workers, friends and even family who stand divided around the rivalry. The rivalry has become even more toxic in recent years with advent of social media. However, the game has to be played.
In the past OHT has given the Bulldogs a lot of grief and as Ole Miss football fans will continue to do so. However, this Miss State team is vastly improved from the teams we’ve seen in the past. We at least owe them an objective preview so we’ll take a look at the Bulldogs on both sides of the ball.
The MSU Defense
Ole Miss Rebels Football
This appears to be the most improved aspect of Miss State football. Forget what has happened with Leo Lewis and Kobe Jones and the NCAA investigation. They are really exceptional athletes despite what our personal opinions of them may be. They play hard on coach Todd Grantham’s defense and reap results.
This is the same defense which placed MSU in position to beat Alabama. It wasn’t the defense which lost the Bama game, it was poor play calling on the other side of the ball.
When we are talking about the Miss State defense we are talking about a defense which ranks 9th in the nation in total defense. This is a really good defense and they make big plays in tough games. For Ole Miss to have a shot at winning we cant make mistakes on offense.
The MSU Offense
So this is what everybody believes is the MSU bread and butter. Yes, they have Nick Fitzgerald but they also have other offensive weapons. Miss State is on the verge of having two 1000 yard rushers for the first time in program history. They also have a shot at the first back-to-back 1000 yard rusher since JJ Johnson in 1997 and 1998.
It’s no knock on Fitz but he is a much better runner than a passer and Mullen knows this. The best plan for Ole Miss is to load the box and force Mullen and his offense to throw the ball. Fitz makes mistakes when he throws and telegraphs his options. The Ole Miss defense will have to contain Fitzgerald in this game just to stay in the ballgame. If they let Fitz run loose it will be a long long night and a very ugly score.
The Ole Miss Rebels want this win. The Ole Miss Rebels need this win. It will come if the Rebels can play tough on both sides of the ball. However, if they give Mullen an inch he will take a mile and the results will be disastrous for the Rebels.
Kick off from Davis-Wade Stadium is set for 6:30pm CT and will be televised on ESPN. Hotty Toddy and good luck in the Egg Bowl Rebels!