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Ole Miss Week 12 Opponent Preview: Mississippi State Bulldogs Defense

Our college football preview series continues this week with the Rebels' Week 12 matchup.
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OXFORD, Miss. -- After losing big to the Arkansas Razorbacks 42-27 on the road in Fayetteville, Ark., the Ole Miss Rebels return home for one of the most anticipated games of the year, the Egg Bowl.

The Rebels are closing out the regular season playing their in-state rival, the Mississippi State Bulldogs. Ole Miss has won the Golden Egg the last two seasons, and currently leads the series all-time versus Mississippi State with a record of 64-45-6.

The Bulldogs, coached by Mike Leach, are 7-4 (3-4 in SEC) entering Egg Bowl week. Leach is 0-2 in the rivalry game and will be expected to win his first Egg Bowl this year in enemy territory.

Here is an overview of the Mississippi State team that will travel to Oxford, Miss., for the annual Egg Bowl on Thanksgiving. Kickoff is set for 6:00 p.m. CT, and the game will be televised on ESPN.


Defensive Players to Watch

Tackles: Linebacker Nathaniel Watson

2022 stats: 98 tackles and 8.5 TFLs

A tackling machine for the Bulldogs, Watson's primary objective on Thursday will be to slow down Ole Miss' running back duo of Quinshon Judkins and Zach Evans.

Interceptions: Cornerback Emmanuel Forbes

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2022 stats: six interceptions 

Forbes is without a doubt the top NFL prospect on the Mississippi State roster this fall. The lockdown corner led the Bulldogs last year in interceptions and passes defended with three and five, respectively. Ole Miss quarterback Jaxson Dart will want to avoid the ball hawk as he has recorded a ridiculous 14 interceptions and 6 pick-sixes in his collegiate career.

Sacks: Linebacker Tyrus Wheat

2022 stats: five sacks and 8.0 TFLs

Wheat led the Bulldogs in sacks last year with 7.5, and he is keeping up that standard this fall. The athletic linebacker could be a problem in Ole Miss' backfield, as pass protection has been an issue for the Rebels in recent games. 


You can follow Ben King on Twitter at @BKing_2023.

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