The Egg Bowl is one of the most anticipated games of the year in Mississippi. The Ole Miss Rebels will host the annual game against the Mississippi State Bulldogs. The Bulldogs (8-3, 4-3 SEC) has already secured a post season bowl game. While the Rebels need to win this game in order to qualify for a bowl game. The Rebels (5-6, 2-5 SEC) are coming off of a two win season last year and has been one of the surprises of this season for the SEC. First year head coach Hugh Freeze has sold a new mind set to the Rebels and they have bought into his philosophy. The Rebels leads the series 6-42-6 and has an advantage in Egg Bowl games 54-25-5. The rivalry is tied for the eighth-longest uninterrupted series, as the NCAA considers Saturday’s game the 98th consecutive year that the two schools have faced each other.
Keys to Ole Miss defeating Mississippi State:
Eliminate mistakes. The Rebels have lost three games this season Texas A&M, LSU and Vandy that they should have won. The reason they lost all three of these is simple the turned the football over in critical situations. Mistakes are not limited to just turnovers, but making sure everyone does their assignment. Players can’t afford to have unforced penalties or unnecessary personal fouls.
Play hard the entire game. The Rebels have lost three games in the final minutes of the game. The Rebels have lost the last two games by a total of 7 points. Ole Miss has jumped out to big leads and has not been able to hold those leads. The Rebels will look back onto to this season with should’ve, could’ve and would’ve thoughts.
Have a better balance on offense. The running game has left the Rebel late in the season. Jeff Scott has not been as productive in the last few games. Scott has to run for a hundred yards to give the Rebels a better chance to win. Bo Wallace threw for 403 yards last week against LSU. Defensive back Johnathan Banks will be one of the best players that Wallace will face this season and has to be careful when challenging him. Donte Moncrief will have to play smart against Banks also.
Control the emotions. Senior and Homecoming games are two of the most emotional games to play for home teams. Saturday is also senior night for the Rebels, 22 members of the Ole Miss team will play their last home game. The Rebels have been through an emotional rollercoaster this season and this game could begin to put the program back on the map with a win.
Control the line of scrimmage. Bulldogs quarterback Tyler Russell has 2, 522 passing yards and Chad Bumphis has 758 receiving yards. Gabe Jackson is one of the best offensive linemen in the country and he will be protecting Russell. The Rebels defense will need to continue to bend but don’t break during the game.
Terry Davis covers Ole Miss football for MemphiSport. Follow him @Terryd515.
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