To all those great Mississippi State football fans far and wide, that wonderful time year has come once again to this great state, which means so much to all of us Mississippians year after year. Yes, the time to put all our differences aside and give thanks to friends and family as we gather and celebrate Thanksgiving, and of course, watch the Egg Bowl
Like the Hatfields and McCoys, there can only be one college family in this state and that is decided on the gridiron each year on Thanksgiving Day. This year, only one team has an opportunity for a New Year’s Six bowl, and that would be the Baby Shark Black Bear Rebels if they can go into Starkville, Mississippi, and get a win. Just thinking about all the name changes and who came up with these names makes my sweet potato casserole taste bad.
I must admit that I would not know how to handle living in a house divided by this game. I for one live in a solid, and I mean SOLID, Mississippi State household, just another thing I give thanks for every Thanksgiving.
In this week’s edition, I am going to focus on the Egg Bowl because last week’s game was pretty good all around. So, in saying that, let’s talk Hail State football with, “The Good, the bad and the Ugly!
I am very excited to watch this game. For the past several years, both teams seemed to come into this game with one team being the much better team. The strange thing about this annual football game is that the best team usually loses, which is very strange for any rivalry matchup.
At the beginning of the season, through the first several games, most fans did not look forward to playing Ole Miss with the way they were playing. But in the past few weeks, the Bulldogs have clearly embraced Mike Leach’s Air Raid attack and this game seems to be a tossup at best.
Currently, I believe that Mississippi State has the best passing offense in the country, and I don’t want to hear anything about Western Kentucky because if the Hilltoppers played in the Southeastern Conference East, they would only beat Florida (Happy Thanksgiving Danny Boy).
The Bulldogs can, and will, move the ball on any team in the country right now through the air and can score just the same in value. This is because Leach has found his plan to win in the SEC and the entire offense has bought into it.
THE BIG PLAY! Even though Mississippi State’s offense is riding on a high note over the past few weeks, the defense is still a little subject. Since the first game of the season, the Bulldogs have been very susceptible to the big play, both through the air and on the ground.
To me, this, is the weak point of this matchup for the Bulldogs. Ole Miss lives by the big play and without them, the Rebels will lose. The Bulldog defense must contain both the run game and most importantly, Ole Miss quarterback Matt Corral. Corral is very dangerous in both areas because he is a good passing quarterback that can flat out carry the ball. I’m not talking about former Mississippi State quarterback Nick Fitzgerald running up the middle and through people. No, this is worse. Corral has speed and agility, and he brings something State hasn’t faced all season. He’s dangerous in both aspects of the game.
The Bulldogs must contain all aspects of the run game against Ole Miss, and if they do, the Bulldogs can and will win, especially if the Air Raid continues as it has over the past few weeks. Again, this game will boil down to the Bulldog defense's ability to control the Rebel offense. The Bulldogs need to force third-and-long and second-and-long to make their offense predictable. I mean, Mississippi State’s offense is very predictable, it passes 90% of the time, but the Rebels can’t stop it, so the Bulldogs must stop them. And if they do, they win. It’s that Simple. I know it is easier said than done, but it’s true!
The fact that Mississippi State falls out of the College Football Playoff committee’s Top 25 after a win. I just don’t understand. I hope this helps motivate the Bulldogs because they have already beat four Top 25 teams this season, which only one other team in the country can say, and that is Georgia, so I say let’s just make it five on Thursday night against those Baby Bear Black Sharks!
Prediction Week 13
This game will be decided on whether State can control the run and stop the big play. If that happens, I see State winning its fifth Top 25 game of the season and earning a Florida bowl game. It will be a close game, but the Bulldogs take back the trophy in 2021.
Mississippi State: 42
Ole Miss: 38
GOD BLESS, HAIL STATE and GO DAWGS!!!