In a space that was typically reserved for the Texas-Texas A&M rivalry game, the Mississippi Rebels and Mississippi State rivalry, the Egg Bowl, takes centerstage on Thanksgiving. I really don’t care for this nightcap in the NFL, so I will be tuning in for some college football action on Thursday night. Ole Miss is playing for a bowl game tonight, while Mississippi State are hoping to increase their bowl outlook with a win. Mississippi State are most known recently for being the alma mater of Dallas Cowboys quarterback, Dak Prescott. Mississippi State had a vaunted option running game under Prescott. The Bulldogs are starting to get back to that dangerous threat under Nick Fitzgerald.
Fitzgerald isn’t on the same level that Prescott was. Prescott had a laser arm to compliment his running ability. Fitzgerald doesn’t have an NFL arm, but he does have a dangerous dual-threat ability at quarterback. He’s ran for 968 yards and 14 touchdowns on the ground. Further, Fitzgerald has passed for 15 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He is coming off a 2 touchdown and no interception game against Arkansas, in a 28-21 win. It was a nice win for Mississippi State, as they avoided a letdown spot after their near win against Alabama.
They fought hard against the Crimson Tide, but ultimately came up short, 31-24. It could have gone either way, the Bulldogs were just on the short end of the stick. The Bulldogs are currently a 8-3 football team, so are primed for a quality bowl game. I see that one national sports media company has them going to the Belk Bowl. I don’t know about that. If they beat Ole Miss on Thursday night, how could the Belk Bowl be their best invite.
Mississippi State finishes with 3 losses, and I think you have to give them an invite to the Citrus Bowl. Ole Miss QB Shea Patterson, who has shades of Johnny Manziel in his game, was injured in October which took him out for the rest of the year. Jordan Ta’amu has come in off the bench, and he’s looked like a starting quarterback. Statistically speaking, Ta’amu has been the better quarterback. He’s thrown for 9 touchdowns and 3 interceptions, with a 165.1 QB rating. Conversely, Patterson had a 151.5 QB rating when he went down. Head below for our free Ole Miss vs. Mississippi State pick in the Egg Bowl on Thursday night.
Ole Miss Rebels vs. Mississippi State Bulldogs Betting Odds:
Ole Miss +14.5(-110)
vs. Mississippi State -14.5(-110)
Betting odds provided by Bovada.lv
Ole Miss vs. Mississippi State Pick:
Mississippi State will attack Ole Miss with what they do best, running the football. Along with Fitzgerald, the Bulldogs are armed with Aeris Williams at running back. Williams has rushed for 944 yards and around 5 yards per carry. The running game certainly goes through Nick Fitzgerald, though. Mississippi State are ranked 17th nationally with 245.5 rushing yards per game. They ran for a healthy 174 yards on the ground against a very good Alabama defense. The Bulldogs went out there and punched the Alabama defensive line in the mouth all game long.
Ole Miss will get punched in the mouth in this football game. The Mississippi State offensive line is way too physical for a Rebels’ front who has been getting manhandled all season long. Ole Miss have been ripped a new one on the ground this season. They’ve allowed 240.9 yards per game on the ground, which equates to 123rd in the FBS.
There is no secret to what the Bulldogs are going to do in this game. Ole Miss knows it coming, but can they stop it? They are allowing 35.2 points per game this season, so there hasn’t been much push back. Kentucky ran for 218 yards on them. That was the last capable running game they faced. I expect Mississippi State to eclipse that and hit around 300 yards rushing. LSU went bonkers for 394 yards on Ole Miss this year.
How will the Rebels counter this? Well, I don’t think they are going to have an answer for the Mississippi State offense in this game. Their best hope to stick around is with Ta’amu airing it out. Ta’amu is hitting nearly 70 percent of his passes and definitely hasn’t looked cold coming off the bench to replace Patterson. The Bulldogs are fully capable of shutting down a passer, though.
They are 8th against the pass, allowing 168.5 yards per game. I don’t think they’re going to be fooled by a simple Mississippi offense. Mississippi State will control the clock in this contest. Ta’amu will be in over his head in this rivalry game. They’ve dominated time of possession this season, as they are 8th in that regard. I can’t see Ole Miss competing in this one in Starkville. Mississippi State would be on a six-game winning streak if they caught a bounce that went their way against Alabama. The Bulldogs win and cover in the Egg Bowl to set-up an attractive bowl invite.