Friday, October 7, 2022

Rebels vs. Bulldogs: Magnolia State Defenses Reign Supreme

Cody Prewitt and the Landshark defense have dominated all five teams the Rebels have faced this season. / Photo by Chuck Barnes
Cody Prewitt and the Landshark defense have dominated all five teams the Rebels have faced this season. / Photo by Chuck Barnes

This season, the SEC’s two Mississippi football teams are part of the elite in college football. After six weeks of the 2014 season, Ole Miss and Mississippi State are both undefeated at 5-0 and tied at No. 3 in the AP Poll.
This week, we’re comparing the Rebels and Bulldogs, and we’re starting with defense.
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The Bulldogs’ defense is allowing their opponents only 491 yards rushing through the first five games. While in the air, the Psycho Defense has allowed 1,641 yards on the season.
Coach Dan Mullen’s squad has played sound defense both away from Davis Wade Stadium and in its confines, only allowing their opponents 97 points so far on the season.
This season, the Bulldogs have picked up huge victories against two nationally ranked powerhouses in LSU and Texas A&M. This weekend, ESPN College GameDay will stay in the state and be live Saturday from the Junction on the campus of Mississippi State.
However, despite the power of the Psycho Defense, the Rebels may have more skill on the defensive side this season.
Ole Miss’ Landshark defense has been on a mission — and they’re succeeding, allowing just 51 points through the first five games of the season.
Through the past few years, Ole Miss’ defense has given teams trouble, but this season coach Hugh Freeze and his staff have the defense at a top notch level above and beyond anything in recent Ole Miss football history. The return of pass rusher C.J. Johnson and Mike Hilton, who both have been explosive on the defense side of the ball, are a big part of that improvement.
The Rebel defense is only allowing their opponents to average 10.2 points a game, which is second in the nation according to ESPN, and the starting 11 have only allowed one touchdown this season. That score occurred early on against Alabama. The team is also averaging 2.5 interceptions per game.
Heading into the weekend, the SEC West is in a three-way tie for first between the three undefeated teams remaining: Auburn, Ole Miss and Mississippi State. If the Bulldogs and Rebels keep taking care of business on the field, this year’s Egg Bowl Nov. 29 could be a real treat for the entire state — make that nation — and be seen as an unofficial SEC Championship bout for the Western Division champion.
Adam Brown is sports editor of and can be reached at

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