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A breakdown of four key Egg Bowl plays

We’re running out the clock until bowl games are announced.

NCAA Football: Mississippi at Mississippi State Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports

After an Egg Bowl best described as “Ole Miss won the game,” the football content train is at the station until a late December/early January bowl destination announcement, which will be followed by transfer portal madness and the early signing period.

To kill time over the next few days, I can think of no better way than to review some ball plays Lane Kiffin and Charlie Weis Jr. used to do just enough, LITERALLY JUST ENOUGH, to get by Mississippi State last Thursday night.

The Setup

After Mississippi State scored to take a 7-3 lead in the third quarter, Ole Miss launched a 10-play, 75-yard touchdown drive to retake the lead on a two-yard Quinshon Judkins touchdown run. We’ll get to that play in a second, but first, let’s look at the play that set it up.

Ole Miss had a 2nd and 9 at the State 11 and, unless they got six or seven yards, they faced a 3rd and NOT GREAT in a condensed space, likely settling for a field goal. Fortunately, they dialed up a little pin and pull goodness.

This was the look, with Prieskorn motioned into the formation to be off the left hip of left tackle Victor Curne.

The pin and pull means Prieskorn blocked down on the defensive end, wide receiver Tre Harris (to Prieskorn’s left) blocked the safety, and Curne pulled around both players and tagged the corner.

The result was a lane for Ulysses Bentley IV to navigate and get to the two-yard line, giving Ole Miss the short third down they desperately needed.

One Play Later...

Ole Miss lined up with Prieskorn off right tackle Jeremy James (not unusual), but Tre Harris lined up between Curne at left tackle and left guard Quincy McGee (quite unusual).

Although an odd alignment, the play Ole Miss ran was a standard split zone play in which the offensive line zone blocks to their left, and a blocker comes across the formation and kicks out the unblocked edge player. Usually, Prieskorn does that work.

However, on this play, Prieskorn functioned as a sixth offensive lineman and zone blocked to his left, while Harris came across the formation to kick out the unblocked player.

As you can see, Harris blocked his guy on the edge, and the offensive line got enough of a push that Judkins could pick up the first down, but thanks to his power and leg drive, LET’S MAKE IT SIX.

The Setup: Part II

To open the fourth quarter, Ole Miss faced a 4th and 3 from the Mississippi State 41. WHAT A WAY TO LIVE.

If you can tap into your experience last Thursday night, you may recall Ole Miss, at this point, reclaimed control of the game. A touchdown drive to go up 17-7 was likely the end of competitive formalities, which made this play wildly important.

Ole Miss came out with a bunch set to Dart’s right (the field), and the Bulldogs decided to play straight man, three versus three.

They also chose to send both linebackers on a double A gap blitz (gaps between the center and both guards), which they did earlier in the game with success. They gambled that they could get to Dart or force him into a rushed throw.

I have no idea if Kiffin/Weis anticipated this or saw the man coverage look and knew they had it. Tre Harris (3) ran a vertical route to attract the State safety (3), while Dayton Wade (1) ran a stick route that was NOT A PICK on the State corner (2), which freed up Jordan Watkins (2) because the State corner (1) didn’t pass off Wade to the other State corner (2) and pick up Watkins.

The result was an easy pitch and catch with a giant window for Dart.

The conversion was SIGNIFICANT because three plays later Kiffin/Weis hit the Bulldogs with the pop pass life and ended the game.

The Pop Pass Life

On 3rd and 2 from the State 26-yard line, Ole Miss brought in the beef in the form of defensive lineman JJ Pegues, who lined up as a tight end, with Prieskorn to his left. Everything about this formation screamed power run play.

Instead, Ole Miss hit them with the ol’ tight end pop pass.

Dart and Judkins sold the hell out of a run, while Prieskorn worked his way out of being a blocker into a receiver who caught the game-ending touchdown.

The other enjoyable part of the play was Lane Kiffin not playing it cool. Totally normal stance for a very normal third down run play.

He also knew it was a touchdown when the ball was not even three feet out of Dart’s hand.

Remember this if you find yourself in a Texas Hold ‘Em game with Lane Kiffin, and the river card is an ace of spades.