Ole Miss and Mississippi State set to battle for another year of bragging rights
Plenty is at stake in tonight’s 88th annual Egg Bowl. Ole Miss and Mississippi State are both already bowl eligible, but each team will be playing for more than the postseason. They will be playing for a full year of bragging rights.
Depending on the outcome of the Iron Bowl between Alabama and Auburn, a win for No. 18 Ole Miss (8-3, 5-2) could potentially mean a Southeastern Conference Western Division title and a trip to Atlanta for the Rebels.
But you can be sure the Rebels, including quarterback Chad Kelly, will not be concerned about what is happening between the Tigers and Tide today–at least not until the Egg Bowl is over.
Kelly is only thinking about the Bulldogs (8-3, 4-3), regardless of what happens in the Iron Bowl:
In the past 11 meetings, the home team has won every time, and the Rebels have not defeated Mississippi State in Starkville since 2003 when Ole Miss shut out the Bulldogs, 31-0. In that win, current New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning was the gunslinger under center.
Mississippi State’s head coach Dan Mullen feels great about hosting this year’s Egg Bowl at home and not having to play on the road inside Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. The Rebels got the best of the Bulldogs in last season’s match-up, 31-17.
“I don’t know if it’s just the Egg Bowl. It might be all of college football, especially here in the SEC,” Mullen said. “Home-field advantage is such a big deal. One, you’re at home. You have your routine, your fans, your home stadium gets behind you, especially rivalry games.
“It’s such a huge deal. Our fans do such a great job of giving us that home field advantage. They encourage our team and also make things a little difficult on the visiting team. Our fans do a great job of that, but in this league fans do that everywhere.”
Regardless of the home field advantage, the Rebels are a 1-point favorite.
Ole Miss and Mississippi State: two high-octane offenses
This highly-profiled end-of-the-season thriller will feature two high-octane offenses, led by two athletic quarterbacks with the will to win, even if it means keeping the ball and taking some hits. Both Kelly and Dak Prescott are the top two passers in the SEC, passing for 3,504 and 3,159 yards, respectively, and both of their offenses are at the top of the league.
Ole Miss leads the SEC in total offense, averaging 518 yards per game. No.21 Mississippi State sits at third place, averaging 455.91 yards per outing.
“This year, we are more similar than any year we have played,” Rebels head coach Hugh Freeze said. “I think our defensive fronts are strong, I think our receiving corps are strong. Our quarterbacks are playing well. There are a lot of things that are really similar. We both have given-up some back-end passing yardage. There are a lot of similarities for sure.”
Egg Bowl History
Ole Miss leads the series 62-43-6. In the Egg Bowl, the Rebels are 56-25-5. In Starksville, Ole Miss is 20-14-3.
Senior Day for Prescott and the Bulldogs
On Saturday, the Bulldogs will honor 15 seniors, their winningest senior class since 1942. Prescott, State’s most notable senior, became the first player in SEC history to account for over 550 yards of total offense and seven touchdowns in a single game, the 51-50 win at Arkansas. Prescott has only one more opportunity to play collegiate football inside Davis Wade Stadium and is happy he didn’t opt for the NFL Draft a year ago.
“It’s exciting. It’s humbling,” Prescott said. “It’s something I’ve been looking forward to. It’s a big-time game. For my last one, it will be exciting.”
Date: Saturday Nov. 28, 2015
Time: 6:15 p.m. CT, ESPN2
Location: Starksville, Miss.
Venue: Davis Wade Stadium (61,337)