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Three Takeaways from Mississippi State's 24-22 Win Over Ole Miss

Three takeaways coming out of Mississippi State's win over in-state rival Ole Miss.
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Mississippi State defeated Ole Miss, 24-22, on Thanksgiving night in Oxford, MS,

The win gives Bulldogs head coach Mike Leach his first Egg Bowl victory of his tenure, having previously lost his last two contests with the Rebels.

With the dust settled, here are three takeaways coming out of the Bulldogs victory over the Rebels in the regular season finale.

Will Rogers' Struggles

Thanksgiving night was not one of Bulldog quarterback Will Rogers' proudest moments. Rogers had zero pocket awareness and struggled against Ole Miss' front seven, getting sacked four times.

He was consistently bullied in the pocket and could not escape from trouble. He fumbled three times, losing two of them, including fumbling the ball away on 2nd and goal with a chance to put the game away.

When his passing game wouldn't work, his running game was even worse, rushing for -37 yards for an average of -4.6 yards per gain.

Rogers would finish the game passing for 27-of-39 passing for 239 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception.

Despite pulling out the victory, Rogers' mistakes could come back to affect the Bulldogs come bowl season, when they face a potentially tougher opponent.

Defense Didn't Disappoint

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Mississippi State's defense did its job and played a huge part in helping the team cross the finish line.

The Bulldogs held Ole Miss to a season-low 331 total offensive yards, as well as holding them to 4/17 on third down effiency.

A standout defensive player for the Bulldogs was defensive tackle Randy Charlton, who deflected a pass from Rebels quarterback Jaxson Dart during Ole Miss' two point attempt, securing the lead late in the fourth quarter.

Other standouts for the defense include linebacker Nathaniel Watson, who recorded ten tackles and one sack. Linebacker Jett Johnson also recorded ten tackles and recovered two fumbles for the Bulldogs.

This year's Egg Bowl was arguably the Bulldogs' defense at its best. If it weren't for the way they played tonight, the Rebels would have more than likely walked away with the win.

The Big Picture

With Thursday night's win, Mississippi State has jumped ahead of Ole Miss in the SEC West standings, sitting behind LSU and Alabama in the top three.

After starting the season 7-0 and being ranked as high as No. 7 in the AP Poll, Ole Miss has lost four of its last five games, and now sit at 8-4 overall, and 4-4 in SEC play.

Mississippi State will finish the regular season with and 8-4 record, including 4-4 in SEC play. The Bulldogs end the regular season with eight wins for the first time since 2018.

Under Mike Leach, this is the Bulldogs' seventh win over a ranked opponent, all of which have been won while the Bulldogs were unranked. No other team in the past three seasons has more than four wins against ranked opponents while being unranked.

With the regular season ending on a high note, the Bulldogs put themselves into a good position for a solid bowl game this postseason, with both sides of the ball hopefully working out its kinks before the Bulldogs go bowling for the 13th consecutive season.