Image courtesy of College Football News
Ole Miss Rebels (4-7 Overall, 2-5 in SEC West)
Mississippi State Bulldogs (5-6 Overall, 2-5 in SEC West)
Thursday, November 28, 2019 @ 7:30 PM EST
Davis Wade Stadium (Starkville, MS)
Moneyline: Ole Miss (+115), MS (-135)
Spread: Ole Miss +2.5 (-105), MS -2.5 (-115)
Total: Over/Under 58 (-110)
Odds courtesy of MyBookie
Egg Bowl History
The Ole Miss-Mississippi State rivalry is one of the longest-running rivalries in college football history. Ole Miss and Mississippi State have met 115 times since the inaugural matchup in 1901. This rivalry series has been known as the ‘Egg Bowl’ since 1927, when the ‘Golden Egg Trophy’ was introduced. It has been fairly even for quite a while now, as the teams have split their last 20 matchups evenly at 10 games a piece. There’s even more on the line this year, though, as Mississippi State needs their sixth victory to reach a bowl game and 4-7 Ole Miss would love to play spoiler and keep their rivals out of the postseason.
Only one game separates the Ole Miss Rebels and the Mississippi State Bulldogs, and if you take a closer look at the numbers, they’re very similar teams.
The Rebels have scored 27.2 PPG (80th in FBS) and allowed 27 PPG (T-62nd in FBS), whereas, the Bulldogs have scored 28.2 PPG (75th in FBS) and allowed 28.8 PPG (75th in FBS). Both teams tend to rely on the run game quite a bit, as they possess two of the top three rushing attacks in the SEC and both are in the top 20 in the country. Ole Miss ranks seventh in the country (261.5 YPG) and Mississippi State ranks 19th in the country (228.5 YPG).
Ole Miss has the advantage when it comes to stopping the run, as they rank 34th in the country (132 YPG, 13 touchdowns allowed) and the Bulldogs rank 62nd (149.5 YPG, 22 touchdowns allowed). The Rebels have also held five different teams to 66 or fewer rushing yards this season and the Bulldogs have only held two teams to under 100 rushing yards this year.
Another huge element of this game will be Mississippi State’s pass protection. The Bulldogs rank 10th in the SEC in sacks allowed (24), whereas, the Rebels defense has gotten to the quarterback 30 times this year, which is good for second in the conference. If Mississippi State fails to protect Tommy Stevens or Garrett Shrader, the Bulldogs’ offense could be in for a long night.
The one thing that’s really sticking out to me as I look at each of these teams’ games this season, is their performances against LSU. They played LSU at home about a month apart, and I think it’s fair to say that Ole Miss put up a lot more of a fight than Mississippi State.
In the Rebels’ 58-37 loss against the Tigers, they put up a whopping 614 yards of offense, 402 rushing yards, over 9.1 yards per carry and four rushing touchdowns. LSU has only given up 1,431 yards and 10 touchdowns on the ground this season, which means the Rebels accounted for over 28% of LSU’s total rushing yards allowed and 40% of their total rushing touchdowns allowed in just one game. Ole Miss’s offense was able to generate more yards against LSU than Alabama and only scored four less points than the Crimson Tide.
Players to Watch
The players to watch in tomorrow’s game will be the Rebels’ true freshman quarterback John Rhys Plumlee and the Bulldogs’ junior running back Kylin Hill.
At just 6′ tall, Plumlee has used his size and speed to his advantage as a dual-threat quarterback. Plumlee has averaged more yards per attempt on the ground than through the air, as he’s run the ball and thrown the ball 136 times each for 989 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns, and 789 passing yards, four touchdowns and three interceptions. The true freshman ran all over LSU two weekends ago, carrying the ball 21 times for 212 yards and four touchdowns. With his 212 rushing yards, Plumlee put up 66 more yards on the ground than any other TEAM has put up against LSU this season.
For Mississippi State, the obvious choice for the player to watch has to be junior running back Kylin Hill. Hill leads the SEC and is 12th in the country in rushing yards (1,215 yards). Despite being held under 50 yards in four different games this season (@ Auburn, @ Tennessee, vs. LSU, vs. Alabama), the junior has averaged 5.8 YPC and has scored 11 total (10 rushing, 1 receiving) touchdowns this year. Hill started the season on a tear, running for 551 yards and four touchdowns in the first four weeks, before a rough three-game stretch where he ran for a total of 92 yards and zero touchdowns. However, Hill has bounced back with three great games in the last four weeks, scoring five touchdowns and notching his second career 200-yard game.
Even with the Egg Bowl on the line and a rowdy Starkville crowd rooting on the Bulldogs, I think Ole Miss wins this game with their high-powered pass rush and their top-10 rushing attack, led by dual-threat quarterback John Rhys Plumlee.