Week 13 Thursday game features Ole Miss/Mississippi State
Maybe deviled eggs find their way onto the Thanksgiving dinner table, but an entire Egg Bowl will be part of dessert on Thursday night. That’s because Ole Miss and Mississippi State connect for the 120th time on November 23. It could be a very somber mood in Starkville, as last year’s 24-22 win was the final game coached by Mike Leach, who unexpectedly died a few weeks later.
Mississippi is a sizable favorite for this year’s matchup and has a chance to keep the Bulldogs from going bowling.
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This game did take on a different feel last week with the return of Will Rogers. Mississippi State’s all-time leading passer by nearly 3,000 yards over Dak Prescott returned in the 41-20 win over Southern Miss. He didn’t look very good, as he was just 12-of-27 for 144 yards and a couple touchdowns, but it was his first game in about six weeks. We’ll see if he shook off enough rust to look more like the guy who has over 12,000 passing yards to his name.
In a lot of ways, it feels like Ole Miss has had an underwhelming season, but the Rebels have a chance at winning 10 games with their only losses coming against Alabama and Georgia. They have a win over LSU on their resume and rank 12th in the nation in yards per play, so they may be a little bit of an underrated commodity given what happened when they really stepped up in class.
The Bulldog offense obviously missed Rogers, but this was a disappointing group anyway without Leach. Head coach Zach Arnett was fired earlier this month and the team really seems to be in a state of flux. The offense has just 5.34 yards per play and just 4.72 yards per play against SEC foes. Rogers is definitely a better QB than backup Mike Wright and will give them a better chance, but Leach’s play-calling has been sorely missed.
The Ole Miss defense allowed 7.61 yards per play to Alabama and Georgia. They’ve allowed 4.93 YPP in their nine wins. The numbers for both teams suggest that this game probably shouldn’t be close, even with Rogers back in the fold, but this has been a highly competitive game the last four seasons, with two wins apiece and final margins of 1, 7, 10, and 2 points.
However, there is no Leach this season and Rogers looked very shaky coming back from injury. My line here is Ole Miss -12.5, so I don’t see much line equity. The total of 55.5 seems good as well. I lean with Ole Miss in a revenge spot, but it wouldn’t be more than pizza money, especially if you don’t like the traditional Thanksgiving feast.
Lean: Ole Miss -11.5