It is no secret what the biggest surprise of this college football season has been: the small, Southern state of Mississippi has taken the nation by storm. Mississippi State, who were not placed in the preseason top 25 by the AP voters, now sit on the top of the rankings after beating three top 10 teams in a row. Ole Miss is number 3 in the poll, and have impressive wins against Alabama and Texas A&M. We’re all fascinated by them now, but when the Egg Bowl comes, will they still be contenders?
The Rebels of Ole Miss have had a season full of Oxford natives yelling “HOTTY TODDY!” Yes, Bo Wallace (Dr. Bo) and the immense talent of their 2013 recruiting class have the nation on the edge of their seats. Wallace, a senior, provides a strong arm along with a surprising ability to run the ball, and his hair is the greatest in football which adds another advantage to the Ole Miss offense. Sophomore receiver Laquon Treadwell catches the majority of the passes for the team; don’t be surprised when you see him on a NFL sideline in two years. I’tavius Mathers leads an explosive rushing attack for the Rebels, who have showed they can move the ball through the air and on the ground.
Perhaps the most impressive thing about Ole Miss so far is their defense. Sophomore Robert Nkemdiche is one of the most athletic defensive lineman in the nation, and he is almost constantly a threat when the quarterback drops back. Safety Cody Prewitt, who had a 75 yard pick-6 after intercepting Kenny Hill (not so trill anymore), leads a tall and athletic group of defensive backs. Ole Miss has allowed only 7 touchdowns this year, tied for the best in the nation with Stanford.
Ole Miss has already won tough games this year against Bama and A&M, but their schedule will not get any easier as time passes. The Rebels travel to Death Valley to face an underachieving LSU team who will be hungry for a marquis victory. The next week, Nick Marshall and Auburn will travel to Oxford for the Rebels toughest test until Miss State comes to town for the Egg Bowl in the regular season’s last week. Nothing ahead of the third ranked Rebels will be easy, but they are as talented of a team I’ve seen this season, so I would expect them to be either an undefeated or one-loss team when Dak Prescott comes to Oxford.
HAIL STATE! MORE COWBELL! #CLANGA. If you’ve laid eyes on this years Mississippi State Bulldogs, these expressions are probably still ringing in your ears. Dak Prescott leads arguably the best dual-threat offense in the country, and these Dawgs have no intention of anything getting in their way. Prescott, the current Heisman Trophy favorite, uses his massive build to run through people on quarterback draws, and his explosive yet accurate arm to drop dimes and bombs through the air. When Prescott doesn’t have the football, you can usually find it in the hands of Junior running back Josh Robinson, AKA the Human Bowling Ball. State ranks 14th in the nation in rushing yard per game, and the 11th best scoring average at 41.8 points per game. The defense is nothing to mess with either, average just 20 points per game, good enough for 25th in the nation.
Mississippi State has already come out of nowhere to defeat LSU, Texas A&M, and Auburn, so there is no reason to believe they won’t continue this success. As long as Prescott stays healthy and away from any sort of suspension (because that’s a legit threat now #FREEGURLEY) State should walk right through all of their games, except Bama of course. Alabama will host State in 4 weeks time, and if Kiffin/Saban have anything left to prove when that comes, it will be on display in Tuscaloosa on that day. Then, of course, State will travel to Oxford in a game that could determine the representative for the SEC West in the conference championship game. State, much like Ole Miss, should be either undefeated or one-loss when they go to Oxford. To conclude, don’t plan anything for November 29, because you won’t want to miss this year’s Egg Bowl. It is unknown wether the Magnolia State will ring with cheers of HOTTY TODDY or HAIL STATE, but whatever happens, it has been a monumental year for the state of Mississippi this year.