Early Analysis: Ole Miss at Mississippi State


Ole Miss (7-4, 3-4) at Mississippi State (5-6, 2-5)
Thursday, Nov. 28, 7:30 PM EST, ESPN
Line: Even

The Egg Bowl will have plenty of intrigue on Thanksgiving night, especially for Dan Mullen who is trying to avoid his first losing season since his first year in Starkville, Miss.

So what if Ole Miss hands its rival a second consecutive defeat? Could Mullen get the boot? AD Scott Stricklin says no, but there will be a lot of people calling for a change. It doesn’t help Mullen a bit how well Hugh Freeze has done in recruiting in his quest to turn around the Rebels.

But this is the SEC and Mullen’s once shining star is fading. A win over Arkansas kept the Bulldogs’ bowl hopes alive, and they did it with freshman quarterback Damian Williams.

It should be one interesting Egg Bowl Thursday.

For Ole Miss to win: The Rebels need to put the loss to Missouri behind them and focus on the rivalry. Ole Miss was jacked up for the home game against a Top 10 opponent and the effort came up short. The Rebels must also get ready for a hostile crowd at Davis Wade Stadium.

For Mississippi State to win: Mullen’s squad has struggled to score points against quality opponents all season. Whoever is playing quarterback must figure out a way to muster up enough points to pull out a win.

Key Player, Ole Miss: WR Donte Montcrief. It would be easy to go with QB Bo Wallace, but Montcrief has been his go-to guy of late. He had a 100-yard receiving game in the loss to Missouri.

Key Player, Mississippi State: Whoever plays quarterback Thursday. If Tyler Russell’s shoulders aren’t hurting too much, he will probably start. He’s also the Bulldogs’ best shot at winning. If he’s not ready then it will have to be Williams. Mississippi State will need one (or both of them) to come up big.

Key Statistic: Mullen is 5-26 against FBS teams who have won eight or more games. That will go to 5-27 if the Bulldogs lose.