Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Ole Miss Takes on Texas Tech in the Tax Act Texas Bowl

By Adam Brown
Sports Editor
adam.brown@hottytoddy.com

Ole Miss will take the field against the Texas Tech Red Raiders in the Tax Act Texas Bowl on Wednesday at NRG Stadium in Houston. Kickoff is set for 8 p.m. and can be seen on ESPN.

Ole Miss (8-4, 4-4 SEC) finished the regular season losing the final three games including the Egg Bowl to in-state rival Mississippi State. The Rebels are making their third straight bowl appearance under head coach Lane Kiffin.

This season, the Rebels’ offense leads the SEC and ranks No. 6 in the FBS with 82 plays of 20 yards or more. Ole Miss averages 491.3 total yards per game, the fifth-best single-season mark in school history … Three of the top five offensive seasons in program history have all come under Kiffin.

Ole Miss ranks top 20 nationally in total rushing yards (3,139), rushing attempts (571), yards per rush (5.5) and rushing TDs (31).

The Rebels running back duo of freshman Quinshon Judkins leads the conference in both rushing yards (1,476) and rushing touchdowns (16). His teammate junior Zach Evans ranks seventh in the SEC in rushing yards (899).

Texas Tech rolls into the Texas Bowl with a record of 7-5, including going 5-4 in the Big 12 this season, Texas Tech will look to their pass-heavy offensive playbook to navigate the Ole Miss secondary.

Leading the Red Raider offense will be senior quarterback Tyler Shough, the team’s opening-day starter who missed most of the season with a shoulder injury but returned late in the year to lead the team to a 3-0 record in the final three games of the year. Shough will aim to connect with Texas Tech’s leading receiver and All-Big 12 Honorable Mention honoree Jerand Bradley, who enters the team’s bowl game matchup with 656 receiving yards and five receiving touchdowns on the year. 

The Red Raider defense is anchored by the presence of first-team All-American (FWAA) Tyree Wilson, with the senior outside linebacker leading Texas Tech and ranking third in the Big 12 in total sacks on the year with seven. A projected top-10 pick in the upcoming NFL Draft, Wilson also leads the Red Raiders and the Big 12 with 14 TFLs this season. Wilson is accompanied by senior defensive back and Second-Team All-Big 12 selection Malik Dunlap, who ranks the best in the conference with 11 pass breakups in the 2022 season.

Wednesday night will be the seventh all-time meeting between the two programs on the gridiron. Ole Miss holds a 4-2 advantage over Texas Tech in the series. The Rebels and Red Raiders have met three times in bowl games and Ole Miss won all three matchups in the 1986 Independence Bowl (20-17), the 1998 Independence Bowl (35-18) and the 2009 Cotton Bowl (47-34).

The last time these two teams met actually came at NRG Stadium to open the 2018 season, where the Rebels prevailed 47-27 in the AdvoCare Texas Kickoff.

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