Ole Miss heads to Starkville for the 116th Egg Bowl against Mississippi State on Thursday.
Though neither team has reached the .500 mark to date, both schools have at least a chance at playing in a bowl game. For the Bulldogs, at 5-6, the path is simple— win and they’re in. For the Rebels, at 4-7, a postseason invitation is a stretch. Should John Rhys Plumlee and company return the Golden Egg to Oxford, an Academic Progress Rate (a measure of eligibility and retention for Division I student-athletes) bowl invitation could be extended if there are not enough schools to reach six wins.
Though it is unlikely that Ole Miss will play the 2019 season beyond Thursday, it is not impossible. Any hope begins and ends with beating Mississippi State.
Mike MacIntyre’s defense must play lights out against a run-first team that is led by 1,215-yard rusher Kylin Hill and quarterbacks Tommy Stevens and Garrett Shrader. The Bulldogs have averaged 4.2 yards per carry in each of their six losses, and the Rebel front seven has allowed an average of just 3.9 yards per touch all year. Something’s got to give.
Flipping the script, Rich Rodriguez’s offense has been exhausting at times, but it sure-as-heck can run. Plumlee is on pace for a 1,000-yard season without playing a full year, while three separate running backs are on pace to break the 500-yard mark. More impressively, Plumlee, Jerrion Ealy and Snoop Conner are each averaging about seven yards each time their number is called.
Whichever team wins on the ground, or so it seems, will win the game.
Numbers aside, this Thanksgiving Day bout brings two teams on the tail-end of disappointing seasons to battle in front of the eyes of the nation for bragging rights over one of (if not the most) hostile in-state rivalries in college football. Remember last year?
After chowing down a hefty portion of turkey, green beans, cornbread dressing, and mashed potatoes, there is no better way to end a wholesome family holiday than with a dogfight between two schools that absolutely hate one another.
Cozy up on the couch with a slice of your favorite pie (and a hot bourbon cider) and tune in!
Line: Ole Miss +2.5
How to watch
Where: Davis Wade Stadium, Starkville, Miss.
When: 6:30pm CST
Online streaming: WatchESPN