This weekend’s Egg Bowl marks the first time since 1938 two first-year coaches are fighting over a silly trophy. Lane Kiffin and the Ole Miss Rebels (3-4) welcome Mike Leach and the Mississippi State Bulldogs (2-5) to Vaught-Hemingway Stadium for a college football contest that, much like the tangle with the Gamecocks, that is imperative for momentum purposes.
The Rebels are eager to get back on the field after an impromptu bye week when Texas A&M had to postpone due to COVID-19 contact tracing. And the Bulldogs are itching to get the taste of L out of their metaphorical mouths after a close loss to another set of Bulldogs in Athens last weekend.
Kiffin and Co. have one of the most potent offenses in the country, led by Matt Corral and Elijah Moore. Outside of an anomaly in Fayetteville, Jeff Lebby’s offense has virtually torched and eviscerated everyone in their path. Mississippi State on the other hand has not had the same success since week one when they “upset” LSU.
So the question that is being begged, can Zach Arnett’s defense led by Erroll Thompson slow down the Rebs’ 10th-ranked offense?
Sure, Ole Miss’ 97th-ranked defense has been the ulcer on the 2020 season, but is Mike Leach’s all-of-a-sudden stuck-in-neutral office capable of exposing it? Last week when Georgia quarterback JT Daniels was cut loose, he picked MSU apart for 401 yards and four touchdowns in his first start of the season. So, it’s not out of the realm of possibility to think that Matt Corral, the nation’s 5th-most efficient quarterback and orchestrator of the conference’s best offense, could do the same, right?
Freshman quarterback Will Rogers has taken over Leach’s offense after Stanford transfer KJ Costello was benched and he hasn’t exactly lit it up. He’s averaging just 5.19 yards per pass attempt and is third-to-last in the SEC in QBR.
So this game is most likely going to be settled in a shootout fashion. And you have to ask yourself, can the Bulldogs keep pace with the Lane Train?
We’ll find out.
Line: Ole Miss -10
How to watch
Where: Vaught-Hemingway Stadium, Oxford, Miss.
When: 3:00pm CDT
TV: SEC Network, DTV:611
Online streaming: WatchESPN