The last time Ole Miss played Mississippi State in Starkville for the Golden Egg, it ultimately took more than four quarters to decide a winner. Points were at a minimum as both defenses stepped up to the plate.
Dak Prescott was able to give MSU's offense a spark when he came off the bench in the fourth quarter, and his 4th down touchdown run in overtime proved to be the game winner after Bo Wallace fumbled at the goal line the following possession.
It was the type of Egg Bowl we all love to see (kinda), the one that has us on the edge of our seats and biting our nails until the final play of the game. There have been several of those over the years. The '99, '06 and '07 games also come to mind.
But let's be honest, those games, and most of the others in recent history, haven't been very exciting if you're a fan of lots of points and offensive shootouts. In fact, the 2000 Egg Bowl was the only game in the history of the series that both teams scored over 30 points. And even then, Ole Miss won the game by 15.
So when will we finally see the "sexy" game, the one that both offenses go back and forth and the last team with the ball is almost sure to win? This could be the year.
Not only are the top two statistical QB leaders in the conference going head to head, but the MSU and Ole Miss secondaries struggle to defend the pass. Ole Miss is 13th in the SEC, allowing an average of 255 passing yards to opposing QB's. MSU gives up 40 yards less per game and has improved in the secondary from last season, but last week allowed Brandon Allen to throw for over 400 yards and seven touchdowns.
The strength of MSU's defense lies in the front seven, and the front four for Ole Miss. They've both created havoc and made life difficult for opposing QB's. The back end of the defenses have been a different story. That combined with the fact that both teams struggle to run the ball with any consistency, you may see 100 pass attempts between Dak Prescott and Chad Kelly.
Speaking of Prescott and Kelly, they've been the cream of the crop in a league that is not all that impressive at quarterback. Kelly leads the SEC in passing offense, total offense, and total touchdowns. Dak is second behind Kelly in all of those categories. However, Dak has passed for more yards against SEC teams, and his 23-3 TD to interception ratio is much better than Kelly's.
But I'm not here to compare the two or make a case for who is better, that will be determined on Saturday. State fans have made their case for Dak, and Ole Miss fans have made their case for Kelly. Believe me, I see it plastered all over Twitter every single day. The truth of the matter is that both of these players have earned respect. You all can keep acting like your rival's QB can't hold the other's jock strap if you want. After the game, you'll have no choice but to tip your hat to the other guy.
I don't know if we'll see the duel that we saw between Brandon Allen and Dak Prescott, or Allen and Kelly. Over 100 points were scored in each of those games.
What I will predict is that this year's Egg Bowl will threaten to break the record for most points (75) scored in the history of the matchup.
Aside from Prescott and Kelly, a big reason these offenses thrive in the passing game is obviously the elite receivers they have at their disposal.
Ole Miss has the best receiver on the field no questions asked. Laquon Treadwell leads the SEC in both receptions and yards. Treadwell has already eclipsed the 1,000 yard mark with two games remaining. He's in line for a big paycheck with a hight selection in this year's NFL draft.
But MSU has a couple of future NFL receivers as well. Fred Ross flew under the radar before the season but currently leads all players by far in SEC game receptions. He trails Treadwell by three receptions against all competition. De'Runnya Wilson has been MSU's biggest red zone threat and ranks second in the league in TD receptions. Together, Wilson and Ross make MSU the only team in the league that has two players with over 700 receiving yards.
Not many analysts gave MSU much respect after losing Josh Robinson and three players on the offensive line. But they failed to see what we saw: a fifth year senior quarterback with one of the SEC's best receiving corps to throw the ball to. They have no choice to admit they were wrong now.
A lot of questions also surrounded Ole Miss' offense with Bo Wallace graduating. Not many outside of Oxford believed Chad Kelly could fix his off the field problems enough to succeed as the Rebel's starting quarterback. To his credit he did that, and I don't think anybody would have predicted the numbers he's putting up.
When it comes down to it, I don't think MSU's defense is up to the challenge of slowing down Kelly and Treadwell. And I don't think the Ole Miss defense is up to the challenge of slowing down Prescott and Ross/Wilson.
Get ready for a slugfest, possibly even another game that isn't decided in regulation. There will be points, points and more points, and I expect one of the most suspenseful Egg Bowls we've seen in a long time.