Last year around this time, Mississippi State fans didn’t know what to expect going into the 2016 Egg Bowl at Ole Miss on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. We had no idea that Nick Fitzgerald would turn on the jets in the last regular season game. We had no idea that our offense would move like it did that day. We had no idea that our defense could stop their “explosive Shea Patterson.” We had no idea that we would end up in the St. Petersburg Bowl against Miami of Ohio.
But this year is quite different. Mississippi State expects to come in and dominate this game on Thursday night. This year, Mississippi State has the better team on the field. Granted, we have a few key starters out, but none that we haven’t already been playing without against Alabama and Arkansas.
Nick Fitzgerald and Aeris Williams should have more rushing yards than last year’s Egg Bowl. These two guys have fed off of each other week in and week out this season. When one gets it going on the ground, it forces defenses to keep an eye on that guy, opening up the running game for the other. They won’t have any problems getting started on Thursday night in Starkville, MS.
Though Fitzgerald and Williams will be two huge keys to winning this ball game, the biggest key for Mississippi State is to dominate the trenches on the offensive and defensive side of the ball. Looking back at this season, Mississippi State’s offensive line has done what no other Dan Mullen offensive line has done. Being ranked 5th in the nation in sacks allowed heading into the last regular season game is something Dan Mullen probably didn’t expect this year. The offensive line isn’t the only side of the ball dominating this year. The defensive line has created havoc for any quarterback we’ve faced this year. With Jeffery Simmons and Montez Sweat both healthy going into this game, they could rattle Ta’amu early on this ballgame. Although Mississippi State’s secondary hasn’t been the prettiest site to see this year, if the defensive line comes out aggressive early, it should make things a whole lot easier on the defensive backs and safeties.
Egg Bowl week is always a fun time of the year. Though last year we were pleasantly surprised with the outcome, this year’s game has potential to be exactly what we expect. Domination.