Ole Miss tries for another upset vs. No. 23 Mississippi St
No. 22 Mississippi State (7-4, 3-4 SEC, No. 18 CFP) at Mississippi (5-6, 1-6), Thursday, 7:30 p.m. EST (ESPN)
Line: Mississippi State by 10.
Series record: Ole Miss leads 64-44-6.
WHAT’S AT STAKE?
Mississippi State and Ole Miss meet for the 115th time, including the 91st time since the game was called the “Battle of the Golden Egg.” Ole Miss won in an upset last season, but Mississippi State is a big favorite on the Rebels’ home turf. Mississippi State is trying to improve its bowl resume while Ole Miss is trying to finish with a .500 record. The Rebels are ineligible for postseason play because of NCAA sanctions.
The Ole Miss passing game vs. Mississippi State’s defense. Ole Miss has the most productive passing game in the SEC, averaging more than 364 yards through the air. QB Jordan Ta’amu’s favorite target is WR A.J. Brown, who ranks fifth nationally with 1,259 yards receiving. Mississippi State counters with the SEC’s best pass defense, giving up just 165.3 yards per game. The Bulldogs also have some of the best defensive linemen in the league with DE Montez Sweat and DT Jeffery Simmons.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Mississippi State: QB Nick Fitzgerald. He’s had an up-and-down season passing, but his ability to run will be a problem for the Ole Miss defense. The 6-foot-5, 230-pounder is fifth in the SEC with 901 yards rushing this season.
Ole Miss: RB Scottie Phillips. If he’s healthy, Phillips could give the Rebels a run-game boost. He’s fourth in the SEC with 927 yards rushing despite missing last weekend’s game against Vanderbilt because of an ankle injury.
FACTS & FIGURES
Mississippi State has 85 tackles for a loss this season, which is 13 away from the school record set in 2015. ... Mississippi State has allowed fewer than 14 points during eight games this season, which is the best mark in the nation. ... Ole Miss and Mississippi State have each won 14 Egg Bowls since 1990. The Rebels have won four out of the past six. ... Ta’amu threw for a career-high 457 yards in the loss to Vanderbilt last weekend.