The importance of the Egg Bowl can not be underestimated. Along with the win comes bragging rights within the state where many recruits will have their eyes on both teams.
On Saturday, the Ole Miss Rebels will play their final regular season game as they will take the Egg Bowl trophy with them 90 miles south to face off against the high-powered offense of Mississippi State led by senior Dak Prescott. Both of these teams have offenses that can throw points up in a hurry with Ole Miss averaging a remarkable 41 points a game while Mississippi State is averaging a touchdown less at 34 points per game. The two defenses are giving up just about the same amount with Mississippi State giving up 21.5 and the Rebels giving up 22.5 points a game.
This will be Chad Kelly’s first Egg Bowl and his first time to lead the offense in the cowbell-clanging atmosphere of Davis-Wade Stadium. Chad Kelly has shown that he has the best arm in the conference and continues to shine statistically. He has had his share of turnovers but has really tightened up as of late. In the last two games against Arkansas and LSU, Kelly has thrown for a combined five touchdowns with no interceptions and run for five touchdowns in those two games. The rivalry game will feature the two statistical leaders in the SEC at quarterback in Chad Kelly and Dak Prescott.
The Rebels running game was able to rush for over 150 yards last weekend which pushed Hugh Freeze’s record to 27-3 when his offense gains over 150 yards on the ground. Chad Kelly has been a big part of the running game especially in the last couple of games. Kelly has run for 353 yards on 86 rushes this season and leads the team with nine rushing touchdowns. Akeem Judd got more carries than Jaylen Walton last weekend against LSU as the two combined for 76 yards and a touchdown. The Rebels need to run for over 150 yards again in this game to increase their chances for a victory.
This group of Rebel receivers will be going up a Mississippi State defense who gave up seven passing touchdowns to Arkansas last weekend. The Bulldogs haven’t been that vulnerable all season though as they have only given up 13 touchdowns through the air. With the talented group of receivers that Kelly has to throw to, we have the ability to have similar success. Laquon Treadwell should be a big part of this game even though he will have one of their best players Taveze Calhoun guarding him. The only time that Treadwell went up against a Mississippi State defense was as a freshman, and he had nine catches. Rebels have to find a way to get the ball to Treadwell whether it be the downfield throw or screens to get him in space. Two out of the last three times Rebels have played Mississippi State under Hugh Freeze a receiver has gone for well over 100 yards. The one time the Rebels didn’t have a receiver go for over 100 yards in Hugh Freeze’s years here against the Bulldogs was in the 17-10 loss in overtime.
The Rebels defense rediscovered that “Landshark” mentality last weekend against LSU as they had Leonard Fournette’s number all game. This week they’ll have to go up against arguably the best athlete in the conference, Dak Prescott. Prescott has two outstanding weapons at receiver in Fred Ross and De’Runnya Wilson who stand at 6’2 and 6’5. The duo recorded a total of 20 receptions in last weekend’s game against Arkansas which helped them in a comeback win. One way that this Rebel defense can keep it out of their hands is to do exactly what Alabama did to the Bulldogs and bring the blitz. The Crimson Tide sacked Prescott nine times when they faced off a few weeks ago. With the quickness that the Rebels have on the end with Marquis Haynes and strength in the middle with Robert Nkemdiche, they shouldn’t have a problem getting to the quarterback if the Rebels simply outnumber their offensive line and bring a five or six-man blitz with a possible spy in C.J. Johnson to limit Prescott from escaping the pocket.
I believe that the key to winning this ball game is getting pressure on Prescott and rattling him the way Alabama did. Once again if the Rebels’ running game can gain over 150 yards, that would be huge for our team. We also need to score fast and early and keep the pedal to the floor as Ole Miss is 28-5 when scoring first and 25-4 when leading at the intermission under Hugh Freeze.
My Pick: Ole Miss over Mississippi State 38-28
Grant Daniels, a student at Oxford High School, is a sports correspondent for HottyToddy.com. Email him at email@example.com