Egg Bowl Statistical Preview

Butch Dill

What to expect out of the Ole Miss Rebels as they take on the Mississippi State Bulldogs tonight.

The Battle for the Golden Egg returns to Thanksgiving for the first time in almost a decade, signifying a special occasion where we Mississippians can simultaneously celebrate our two favorite things: football and gluttony. ESPN will be broadcasting the festivities beginning at 6:30 PM Central, which is just in time for you to unbutton your pants and try to stay awake as your body breaks down a week's worth of calories in just a few hours.

If you're brave enough to spend your Thanksgiving in Starkville tonight, you'll need to bundle up. The weather forecast has the temperatures in the high-20s to low-30s. The locals won't be hospitable enough to part with their piping hot bulldog bites, so wear thick socks and fill up a thermos with (Irish) coffee to keep yourself warm. And definitely make sure you've got enough gas to get out of town, win or lose.

After Mississippi State fought from behind to beat the Arkansas Razorbacks in overtime last Saturday, they put themselves in position to earn bowl eligibility with a win over our Rebels tonight. Ole Miss, on the other hand, lost a frustrating game to the Missouri Tigers in Oxford, and will be on the road with hopes both improving their bowl standing and playing spoiler to Mississippi State's season. It's fair to think that State will have more to play for, with the game being at home and bowl eligibility being on the line, but I don't doubt that Hugh Freeze's Rebels will be playing with the energy and effort necessary to win in a hostile environment.

But, if anybody, yours truly included, claims he or she isn't a bit nervous about tonight, they're lying to you. As confident as we may be in our Rebels, we've all seen plenty of good Ole Miss teams lose in Starkville, and the sneaking suspicion that tonight could be a redux of 2009, for example, is too much to shake.

So what should we expect out of State? Well their quarterback situation isn't an ideal one, with Tyler Russell relegated to backup duties (despite being the statistically most prolific passer in school history) in favor of Dak Prescott and Damian Williams. Dak is likely out with a shoulder injury, meaning that Williams, a true freshman from Metarie, Louisiana, will take the reigns of the offense tonight. Williams is largely unproven, but he did scamper for a 25-yard touchdown against Arkansas in Little Rock to seal the overtime victory, showing confidence and the ability to make plays with the game on the line... against Arkansas.

State, true to Dan Mullen's style, loves to pound the ball with a read-option attack. Prescott is their team's leading rusher, but I don't doubt that they'll rely on Williams to pick up the yards that Dak would otherwise get. LaDarius Perkins and Josh Robinson should also get plenty of touches, as the cold weather and home atmosphere will benefit this attack a lot.

In the passing game, Jameon Lewis is State's most reliable weapon, averaging close to 60 yards per game and earning five touchdowns on the year. Expect the Bulldogs to use him on third down situations or in play action situations set up by their run game.

Mississippi State Passing Leaders

Name

Comp/Att

Yards

Int

TDs

Comp %

Effeciency

Dak Prescott

128/219

1542

7

7

58.4

121.75

Tyler Russell

71/109

875

3

5

65.1

142.2

Damian Williams

14/27

186

1

0

51.9

102.31

Mississippi State Rushing Leaders

Name

Attempts

Yards

TDs

Average/Game

Long

Dak Prescott

111

722

10

80.2

75

LaDarius Perkins

112

490

2

49

35

Josh Robinson

68

376

2

34.2

51

Ashton Shumpert

38

161

2

16.1

14

Mississippi State Receiving Leaders

Name

Receptions

Yards

TDs

Average/Game

Long

Jameon Lewis

49

635

5

57.7

50

Robert Johnson

31

361

0

32.8

61

Malcolm Johnson

26

341

1

31

60

LaDarius Perkins

24

228

2

22.8

32

MSU Offense

MSU Defense

Scoring

299

282

First Downs

255

208

Rushing Yardage

2131

1696

Passing Yardage

2687

2382

Total Offense

4818

4078

Avg Per Game

438

370.7

Average Per Play

6

5.8

Total Plays

798

707

OM Offense

OM Defense

Scoring

355

274

First Downs

272

225

Rushing Yardage

2132

1764

Passing Yardage

3226

2458

Total Offense

5358

4222

Total Plays

856

769

Average Per Play

6.3

5.5

Avg Per Game

487.1

383.8

OM

MSU

Turnovers

16

15

Punting

38 for 38.1 yds net

41 for 37.4 yds net

Time of Possession

29:41:00

33:08:00

3rd Conversion %

75/161 (47%)

56/147 (38%)

4th Conversion %

13/26 (50%)

11/26 (42%)

Sacks For

17 for 122 yds

14 for 108 yds

FG

14/19

8 for 18

Red Zone Scoring

30/38 (79%)

34/44 (77%)

Penalties

62 for 476 yds

57 for 446 yds

Ole Miss Defensive Leaders

Name

Tackles (Total)

TFL

Turnover Plays

Sacks

PBU's

Cody Prewitt

66

4

5

0

6

Serdarius Bryant

63

9

0

3

1

Trae Elston

56

1.5

1

0

5

Tony Connor

55

3

1

1

4

Mike Marry

43

3.5

1

1

1

Mike Hilton

41

5

1

0

3

Mississippi State Defensive Leaders

Name

Tackles (Total)

TFL

Turnover Plays

Sacks

PBU's

B. McKinney

61

5.5

2

2.5

2

Deontae Skinner

53

3.5

1

1

5

Kendrick Market

51

1

0

0

2

Nickoe Whitley

50

1

5

0

3

Matthew Wells

42

5

1

1

0

Preston Smith

36

6.5

0

2.5

2

Beniquez Brown

35

4

2

0

0

Team Stats

OM (FBS Rank)

MSU (FBS Rank)

Total Yards

487.1 (20th)

438 (46th)

Passing Yards

293.3 (23rd)

244.3 (52nd)

Rushing Yards

193.8 (38th)

193.7 (39th)

Scoring Offense

32.3 (52nd)

27.2 (77th)

Points Against

24.9 (47th)

25.6 (56th)

Rushing Defense

160.4 (61st)

154.2 (54th)

Passing Defense

223.5 (52nd)

216.5 (42nd)

Total Defense

383.8 (49th)

370.7 (41st)

Turnover Margin

plus 2 (49th)

plus 5 (34th)

Pass Defense Efficiency

125.41 (65th)

120.22 (38th)

First Downs Offense

21st

tied 39th

3rd Down Conversions

tied 23rd

tied 96th

Keys to the game for a Rebel victory

  1. Start fast, the Rebels need to force Mississippi State to have to score a lot of points to keep pace.
  2. Convert red zone opportunities to TDs
  3. Guard against a trick play, or special teams play that could emotionally charge MSU and the home crowd

Happy Thanksgiving, y'all. Try not to eat too much. Hotty Toddy.

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