I can guarantee Ole Miss quarterback Bo Wallace hasn’t forgotten last season’s Egg Bowl. And the memories probably aren’t so sweet.
Down 17-10 in overtime, Wallace was headed to the end zone on a keeper, looking to tie the game. He was stripped of the football near the goal line, the ball was recovered in the end zone by Mississippi State’s Jamerson Love and the game was over.
Wallace and the No. 19 Rebels (8-3, 4-3 SEC) will look atone for last season’s loss when they host No. 4 Mississippi State (10-1, 6-1 SEC) on Saturday in the rivalry’s 111th game.
But quarterback Dak Prescott and his Bulldogs know what’s at stake. Miss State sits in the No. 4 spot of the latest College Football Playoff rankings and a win in Oxford should be enough to keep the Bulldogs in the final four for another week.
Ole Miss holds the series advantage 61-43-6, but since Dan Mullen’s arrival in Starkville, MSU has won four of five matchups. For the first time since 1999, both teams are ranked in the Top 25.
Here’s what you need to know about this year’s Egg Bowl:
No. 4 Mississippi State vs. No. 19 Ole Miss
Saturday, 3:30 p.m. Eastern on CBS
Vaught-Hemingway Stadium, Oxford, Mississippi
Mississippi State (-3). Line provided by bovada.lv
Mississippi State 17, Ole Miss 10 (OT), on Nov. 28, 2013, in Starkville, Mississippi
Scouting Mississippi State
Prescott is one of the premier dual-threat quarterbacks in the nation, passing for 2,714 yards and 23 touchdowns and adding another 891 yards and 12 scores on the ground. The junior is the only player in the FBS with at least 2,700 passing yards and 750 rushing yards. The Heisman Trophy candidate has even scored a receiving touchdown. He is 1 passing touchdown away from setting the school’s single-season record.
Josh Robinson has been a big-play back for the Bulldogs, averaging 6.6 yards per carry. His 1,084 rushing yards lead the team and he has a run for at least 10 yards in every game, including a long of 73. Robinson has scored 11 times on the ground and added 26 receptions and another TD.
State’s 39.0 points per game are good for 11th in the nation. The Bulldogs also rank highly in yards per game (511.7, 9th overall) and total first downs (280, 11th).
Led by All-America candidate linebacker Benardrick McKinney (60 tackles) and defensive end Preston Smith (8 sacks), Mississippi State allows 18.4 points per game, 11th in FBS. It also boasts the nation’s top red zone defense (22 total scores in 37 trips).
MSU is coming off a 51-0 victory over Vanderbilt and is 2 weeks past its only loss of the season, a 25-20 defeat at Alabama.
Scouting Ole Miss
Ole Miss hangs its hat on a swarming defense, though it has slipped in the past month. Regardless, the Rebels still lead the nation in points allowed per game (13.5) and fewest touchdowns allowed (16). They’re also in the top nationally in 3rd down defense (10th), passes intercepted (tied for 4th with 19) and forced turnovers (tied for 6th with 28).
Bronko Nagurski Trophy finalist Senquez Golson has 9 interceptions, second in the country. Free safety Cody Prewitt is also a player to watch as he is an All-America candidate with ball-hawking skills.
Offensively, the Rebels are led by Wallace, who has thrown for 2,789 yards and 22 touchdowns. While Wallace is coming off arguably his worst game of the season, a 30-0 loss at Arkansas, the senior is the school’s all-time record holder for total offense.
Since losing Laquon Treadwell (48 receptions, 632 yards, 5 touchdowns) for the season in the Auburn loss, the passing game has struggled a bit. The Rebels average 30.4 points per game.
After starting the season 7-0 and peaking at No. 3, the Rebels have dropped 3 of 4, with their only win coming against Presbyterian on Nov. 8.
Mississippi State 20, Ole Miss 13
No doubt emotions will be running high in Oxford as the Egg Bowl is one of the oldest rivalries in the country. And Ole Miss would like nothing more than to knock Mississippi State out of the College Football Playoff picture. Unfortunately for the Rebels, they aren’t playing their best football. Wallace just doesn’t have the weapons right now to put up the points. And Prescott has appeared to shake off a midseason mini-slump as he has accounted for 9 touchdowns in the past 3 games. It’s close, but State pulls it off on the road.