Mississippi State and Ole Miss will face off in the annual Egg Bowl matchup in Oxford on Thursday night.
The Bulldogs (7-4, 3-4) last defeated the Rebels (8-3, 4-3) in 2019, and they have suffered some tough losses since then. Head coach Mike Leach will be looking for his first-ever victory in the rivalry, but an evening full of heavy rain and a hostile road environment will give his team a difficult task to face.
Here are three players to watch as the two Magnolia State rivals face off.
1. RB Jo'quavious Marks
Marks has made major contributions through the air and on the ground for the Bulldogs. So far this season, the junior has made 89 rushing attempts for 456 yards and eight touchdowns while also hauling in 44 catches for 267 yards. There is a significant chance of rain on Thursday night, meaning that maintaining long offense drives will be much more difficult than usual for Mississippi State. If Marks can capitalize on whatever rushing opportunities he is given and find extra yardage after catches, then MSU will be able to put up a good fight.
2. LB Nathaniel Watson
Watson is currently second in the SEC with 98 total tackles, behind only Vanderbilt's Anfernee Orji. The 6-foot-2, 240-pounder has also accounted for 8.5 tackles-for-loss, four sacks, one forced fumble and one interception. He is a leader on the Bulldogs' defense and seems to find a way to shake up opposing offenses all across the field. Another huge outing by Watson that quickly rattles a loaded Ole Miss offense will be vital to Mississippi State's success on Thursday.
3. DT Jaden Crumedy
Crumedy has more experience against Ole Miss than nearly anybody on the team, as he will be playing in his fourth-straight Egg Bowl. The graduate student missed time with an injury before making his return to the gridiron against Auburn on Nov. 5, but he has made an immediate impact with eight tackles, two tackles-for-loss and one sack in just three games. Crumedy is a core piece of the Bulldogs' defensive line and should be a major factor in stopping the Rebels on the ground -- a place where they excel.