I guess we should start off with the number of last week: 49.
The amount of players Mississippi State traveled to Athens, Ga., with to lose to Georgia by a touchdown. I suppose if the number is lower this week, you’ll hear MSU fans from a mile away claiming a moral victory either way.
Fact is, amount 20 of the 30 missing players off of the travel roster are due to opt outs, transfers, or outright quitting by the players. Leach does that to his team in his first year or two with a new program, and this season in Starkville is no different. So, don't listen to them complain about lack of players. That’s friendly fire from kicking people off of their team.
Let’s get to the actual numbers.
That’s Mississippi State’s marginal explosiveness in the passing game. They dink and dunk, and they’re content to do it all the way down the field. The problem with that is it requires your quarterback to be extremely accurate and your wide receivers to catch the football. Not exactly the hardest thing, but one overthrow or drop and you’re behind the chains. A five-yard crossing pattern doesn’t mean much on third-and-9.
Ole Miss’ corresponding position nationally on defense? A surprising 70th. The Rebel defense is bad, ranking anywhere from 106 in air yards per pass to 124 in completion rating, as well as 113th in rushing marginal explosiveness to 121 in rushing success rate, but if there is one thing they do, ahem, well, it’s force teams to complete multiple short passes to score a touchdown.
Unfortunately, since teams are completing 72.4 percent of their passes, they tend to do this but you take the good with the bad.
Mississippi State’s defense when it comes to marginal explosiveness in the air. Ole Miss’ offense ranks 18th. That’s a bad matchup for one team.
The Bulldog defense is actually decent at stopping teams on obvious passing downs. They allow just a 29.9 percent success rate. Something will have to give as the Rebels rank 5th nationally at a 44.8 percent clip. And when they’re successful, they’re wildly successful ranking 18th in marginal explosiveness.
When opposing defenses blitz Matt Corral, he gets cooking. The Rebs are successful on 47.1 percent of blitzes, and they rank 13th in blitzing down big-play rate.
Corral is helped by Elijah Moore and Kenny Yeboah getting open quickly, and against a defense that ranks 72nd in blitzing down big-play rate, they should have plenty of space to run.
This is still a small number, and honestly with the way Ole Miss defense struggles it may not matter, but MSU ranks nearly dead last nationally at a 9.5 percent turnover rate inside the 10-yard line.
The Rebels will need to actually force those turnovers, MSU won’t just put the ball on the ground if they aren’t hit, but with Ole Miss ranking 19th nationally, look for a turnover deep in the redzone to be the difference in the ballgame, and more likely the spread.
Speaking of spreads, the Rebels are 5-2- against the spread this season and 5-2 on the over as well. The overs cover by a huge margin of 10.5 points per game.
Unfortunately, MSU is 1-6-1 ATS and 2-5 against the over this season.
When your offense musters 14, 2, 14, and 0, the under tends to do well.
The amount of yards this season by leading rusher Jo’quavious Marks.
Their next leading rusher has 70, and the next two guys after him are no longer on the team and currently on the bench. To pile on just a little more, only one receiver has more that one touchdown reception on the year and it took him 33 catches to do it.