A look at the upcoming Egg Bowl: What Ole Miss learned from State’s loss to UGA
OXFORD, Miss. — Ole Miss received a surprising off week due to the COVID-19 crisis at Texas A&M. So, instead of a story on a game that did not occur, we are taking a look at the results from Saturday of our upcoming opponent. Here is what we discovered about Mississippi State in the Bulldogs’ near-miss in Athens Saturday.
What we learned from the Georgia game:
Mississippi State may not have all its players it started the season with, but they have the ones who want to play. In Athens, with fewer scholarship players than FCS North Alabama had available Saturday at Brigham Young, State gave Georgia all it wanted in a 31-24 loss.
The Bulldogs were not required to play due to the low number of available players, but State’s kids decided they wanted to play. Imaging how motivated they will be for their archrivals next week.
What to look out for from the Bulldogs:
Quarterback Will Rogers never met a short pass he didn’t like. He did throw for 336 yards including a 51-yard touchdown to Jaden Walley, but the longest completion apart from that one was 19 yards.
Ten different Bulldogs caught passes, but the longest reception for five of those players were in single digits.
Mike Leach’s Air Raid became the dip and dunk Saturday, and it was successful. Mississippi State will look to complete short passes and let the receivers gain yards after the catch. The Ole Miss linebackers need to make solid tackles to keep those gains at a minimum.
What can be exploited by Ole Miss:
The deep ball. Before Saturday, Georgia quarterback J.T. Daniels had not started a game since some Rebels were juniors in high school. The Southern Cal transfer torched the State secondary for 401 yards. Four UGA receivers had receptions of at least 28 yards and Daniels in his rust missed a few other opportunities down the field.
JT Keep Spinning It 🏈
— All-American Bowl (@AABonNBC) November 22, 2020
Matt Corral could have another big night for Ole Miss.
Which Rebels could have a big day:
Matt Corral, Elijah Moore, Jonathan Mingo, Braylon Sanders, et al. Again, Georgia exploited the State secondary. UGA was ranked 13th nationally, but its passing game does not compare to Ole Miss.
The Rebels’ receivers can put pressure on each secondary position and at least one of the weapons will find himself in single coverage. That could provide some big receiving numbers.
Who to look out for on the Bulldogs:
Walley. The freshman from D’Iberville, had a 51-yard touchdown catch, but he also accumulated seven grabs for 115 yards. If the touchdown is taken from the equation, Walley did his most damage catching short passes and turning them into first downs. The Ole Miss back seven will have to focus attention on number 31.
Will Rogers with a dime to Jaden Walley who takes it 51 yards to the house to give the Bulldogs (+1350 ML) the 17-10 lead pic.twitter.com/ZGoYpATa0l
— Bet The Pigskin (@betthepigskin) November 22, 2020
State has won the last two Egg Bowls against Ole Miss. The Bulldogs are coming off a loss to UGA after snapping a four-game losing streak prior to beating Vanderbilt 24-17 two weeks ago.
Ole Miss has been rolling, winning its last two games against Vanderbilt and South Carolina with record-breaking offensive performances. The win over the Gamecocks was the first home win for Ole Miss this season.
The last time the Rebels beat State in Oxford was in 2014 when the 18th-ranked Rebs won 31-17. Ole Miss also defeated the Bulldogs at home in 2012, 41-24. However, those two wins were later vacated by sanctions by the NCAA.
What we can look for:
In a rivalry game, it is said one should throw the records out of the window. In what is typically one of the most venomous rivalries in college football, that is usually true in the Battle for the Golden Egg.
We should know early in the game if Mississippi State will build on the confidence it gained in a close loss at Georgia, or if they will suffer a hangover from the moral victory.
Ole Miss has been rolling of late and wanted to be on the field Saturday at Texas A&M. We will see pretty early if the Rebels’ can keep their offensive momentum going.
This one should come down to defense. Ole Miss should score a lot of points, but can the Bulldogs minimize the damage and get some turnovers. Mississippi State will try to control the clock with its short passing game. Can the Landsharks avoid giving MSU sustained drives and get off the field to give the ball back to the offense?
If Ole Miss holds State to 30 points or fewer, the Golden Egg will stay in Oxford.
Hotty Toddy! #BeatState
Steve Barnes joins The Rebel Walk staff as a senior writer and brings a trifecta of journalistic experience. As a writer, he has covered college sports for Rivals.com, Football.com and SaturdayDownSouth.com as well as served as a beat writer for various traditional newspapers.
He has been a broadcaster for arena football and several national tournament events for the National Junior College Athletic Association as well as hosting various shows on radio.
A former sports information director at Albany (Ga.) State University and an assistant at Troy and West Florida, he has helped host many NCAA conference, regional and national events, including serving five years on the media committee of the NCAA Division II World Series.
Barnes, a native of Pensacola, Fla., attended Ole Miss in 1983-84, where his first journalism teacher was David Kellum. The duo has come a long way since that time.
He will bring a proven journalistic track record, along with a knack for finding the out-of-the-ordinary story angles to The Rebel Walk.
Barnes continues to reside in Pensacola a mere ten minutes from the beach because he does have taste and a brain.