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Game Prediction: #12 Ole Miss at Mississippi State

Predictions and analysis for the Egg Bowl matchup between Ole Miss and Mississippi State

The second edition of the Lane Kiffin vs. Mike Leach Egg Bowl could be even more entertaining than the first. Ole Miss beat Mississippi State by a 31-24 score last season, and the game was very entertaining. The Rebels out-gained the Bulldogs 550-479 and pulled ahead late for a touchdown victory.

The 9th-ranked Ole Miss Rebels (9-2) have won three in a row and six of their last season, while the Mississippi State Bulldogs (7-4) has won two in a row and four out of their last five. That includes a 43-34 win at Auburn in a game the Bulldogs trailed 28-3 at one point.

It should be a very exciting Thanksgiving Day game.

BRYAN DRISKELL, PUBLISHER

Prediction: Mississippi State 34, Ole Miss 29

Two weeks ago I would have gone with Ole Miss, but the Rebels are banged up - especially quarterback Matt Corral - and the Bulldogs seem to have found their stride.

Mississippi State's offense has finally found its groove under Leach. Since losing to Alabama the Bulldogs have averaged 40.4 points per game, 507.0 yards per game and 6.8 yards per play. What makes the Bulldogs dangerous in this matchup, however, is that its defense is also improving. Outside of the first two quarters against Auburn the Bulldogs have been stout, holding Vanderbilt to 155 yards, Kentucky to 216 yards and Tennessee State to 205 yards. 

Ole Miss hasn't been nearly as explosive over the last month and is averaging just 28.2 points per game in its last six contests. The Rebels played a physical game against Tennessee at the beginning of this stretch, and they impressed me with thier ability to go on the road and win that game, but the Rebels haven't recovered physically.

After averaging 259.6 rushing yards (5.7 YPC) in the first five games, the Rebels have averaged 206.5 yards (4.7 YPC) and have been held below 160 rushing yards three times during that stretch, including going for just 139 yards in the 31-17 win over Vanderbilt this past weekend. Mississippi State has held four of its last five opponents to 106 yards or less.

It will be entertaining, but the Bulldogs are going to get this one done.

VINCE DEDARIO, FOOTBALL ANALYST

Prediction: Ole Miss 45, Mississippi State 42

The Egg Bowl! Ole Miss is slowly creeping up the standings this week sitting at #9 in the CFP. Good old Lane Kiffin doing his thing and getting his name out there for open jobs too. Playing on Thanksgiving night is a great time too if you have had your fill of the NFL for the day. If you like offense then I have a feeling this game will be for you! Lots of offense and very little defense. The ball will be slinging from the Bulldogs and Ole Miss will hit on some big plays throughout. Shootout here we come!

ANDREW MCDONOUGH, IB CONTRIBUTOR

Prediction: Mississippi State 42, Ole Miss 38

Sometimes, the spread of a game just looks off. Despite the fact that Ole Miss is ranked 9th in the CFP rankings while Mississippi State is unranked, Las Vegas has the Bulldogs favored by 2 points (right now) at home. Last week, Vegas cleaned up when the public money flooded in on third-ranked Oregon, who was an underdog against Utah, and this game has a similar feel, as the majority of the bets are on Ole Miss.

Why does Vegas like the Bulldogs in this one? Well, first of all, Mississippi State is hosting their archrival at home, at night, on Thanksgiving. That means that in addition to asking for more turkey and pumpkin pie, the Bulldogs will be asking for more cowbell, and the crowd noise in a bitter rivalry has to count for something. But more importantly, the Bulldogs are a tough matchup for Ole Miss between the lines. Mississippi State comes into the game with the top-ranked passing offense in the SEC (and #2 in the nation), and Ole Miss struggles to stop the pass, ranking 12th in the SEC in passing defense. 

On the other side of the ball, even though Ole Miss has a reputation as a passing team, they are the top-ranked rushing offense in the SEC and use the ground game to set up play action deep shots. It's not a coincidence that in the only game the Rebels did not run for 100 yards this season, they got blown out by Alabama. This plays to the Bulldogs' strength, as Mississippi State excels at stopping the run, giving up only 96.4 YPG.

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This one will be close, but I expect the Bulldogs defense to keep Ole Miss behind the chains and make more stops than the Rebels. This one will be a high scoring game, but there's a reason they say the house always wins. 

RYAN ROBERTS, RISENDRAFT

Prediction: Mississippi State 41, Ole Miss 38

This game could go either way. Matt Corral has been a little banged up so that will be the difference in this high scoring affair. 

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