EDITOR’S NOTE: Counting down to the first week of Ole Miss football practice the week of August 7, HottyToddy.com’s own Collin Brister, former sports editor of the Daily Mississippian, will bring you exclusive “5 at 5” analyses of either A) the opponents Ole Miss will be facing this season or B) some background on Ole Miss’ players at each position. It’s being called “5 at 5” because each original piece will give you 5 key things to know, and we will post these stories at 5 p.m. every Monday-Friday.
The Rebels have knocked off Mississippi State the last two seasons, including their first win in Starkville since 2003 last season. The Rebels have won three of the last four in the Egg Bowl series, with their only loss coming in at 17-10 overtime defeat in 2013. Ole Miss, frankly, has dominated in their wins.
Mississippi State lost their best player in school history after the 2015 season, Dak Prescott. Prescott was a Mississippi State legend and led the Bulldogs to a brief stay at the number one spot in the college football playoff during the 2014 season. Prescott improved his passing during his tenure, and became one of the best quarterbacks in the country. The Bulldogs will have to replace him and the loads of production that he brought to the Bulldog offense.
With Prescott leaving, the Bulldogs will have to replace the star quarterback with a less experienced quarterback. The leader in the clubhouse seems to be Nick Fitzgerald, who has comparable size to Prescott and, maybe, better arm strength. Damian Williams seems to be another option for the Bulldogs. The senior quarterback started the 2013 Egg Bowl, the last time the Bulldogs won the rivalry game. Elijah Staley and Nick Tiano are also in the race for the quarterback position.
The Bulldogs struggled mightily along the offensive line last season, giving up nine sacks to Alabama and getting dominated up front by the Rebels all night long. Toward the end of the year, Mississippi State didn’t allow Prescott time to make decisions or plays. Mississippi State returns Justin Senior, Jamall Clayborn and Elgston Jenkins, along with redshirt junior Martinas Rankin who will likely man one of the tackle positions.
Analysis and Pick
Mississippi State hasn’t won but one time in Oxford since 2000 (2010). The Bulldogs have trouble when they come to Vaught-Hemmingway from an offensive standpoint, and this year won’t be any different with them replacing a three year starter in Dak Prescott at quarterback. The Rebels have had success moving the football against Mississippi State every year except 2013, and Mississippi State will have to replace a good portion of their defense after last season. It’s easy to say throw the rivalries out of the window when talking about a rivalry, but most of the time, talent wins out in the end. This year, that’ll likely be the case.
Ole Miss 42
Mississippi State 21
Collin Brister is a staff writer for HottyToddy.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.