coleryan Posts:11958 Followers:18
On 11/24/2013 07:09 AM in NCAA Football

Ole Miss Rebels vs. Mississippi State Bulldogs: Preview and Pick

Ole Miss Rebels vs. Mississippi State Bulldogs: Preview and Pick

The college football season is coming to a close and in week 14 the action on the field starts early with a Thursday night SEC tilt. The Mississippi State Bulldogs will host the Ole Miss Rebels in a rivalry game that has a long and storied history. The Bulldogs are coming off a win and look to carry that momentum into this game with the Rebels who are reeling from a loss.

Ole Miss Rebels vs. Mississippi State Bulldogs Odds

The college football odds for this game will be valuable to watch leading up to kickoff. The Thursday night game always attracts plenty of action so the point spread will move towards the leading up to kickoff.

The Rebels hope to be feeling better for this game against the Bulldogs. They were sick in the last game when they were trounced by the Missouri Tigers. Bo Wallace threw for 244 yards and an interception, but was battling an illness for much of the game and struggled during the second half. The Tigers' used a deep running back rotation to slowly wear down the Ole Miss defense. Josey had most of the big plays, but Russell Hansbrough and Murphy combined for 99 more yards, helping Missouri shorten the game in the second half with time-consuming drives. This is the recipe to beat the Rebels.

It is only a matter of time before the Bulldogs try this method, but it is unclear if they will be able to succeed. We will find out for sure when they meet on Thursday night.

The latest college football trends reveal some interesting wagering angles leading up to this game. Mississippi is 4-1-1 straight up in its last 5 games, but Mississippi State is 6-1 straight up in its last 7 games when playing at home against Mississippi. When it comes to betting numbers Mississippi is 2-4 against the spread (ATS) in its last 6 games when playing on the road against Mississippi State. The total has gone under in 8 of Mississippi's last 11 games when playing Mississippi State and the total has gone under in 8 of Mississippi's last 11 games on the road. Finally, Mississippi is 5-13 straight up in its last 18 games on the road and Mississippi State is 12-4 straight up in its last 16 games at home.

Ole Miss Rebels vs. Mississippi State Bulldogs Pick

With plenty of time before kickoff we will wait for more information to come in before we select a side on this contest. Make sure to check back on the day of the game to see who we select as our winner for this big game.

coleryan Posts:11958 Followers:18
11/25/2013 01:46 PM

The path was in sight. Win two, and you're in.

Win two, and you have a spot in the SEC Championship game, most likely against the most prolific college football dynasty of the 21st century. Alabama was on the horizon, but two tough tasks stood in the way.

Now, only one remains.

The No. 8 Missouri Tigers did not play a flawless game. They committed a few regrettable penalties, and failed to record a touchdown via the pass.

Yet, the Tigers prevailed. Behind clutch defense when they needed it, and a running game that exuded remarkable toughness, the Tigers will head back to Columbia with a 24-10 victory in their pockets.

No. 24 Ole Miss provided plenty of a challenge for Mizzou, who welcomed back QB James Franklin to the starting lineup for the first time since Oct. 12 at Georgia where he injured his throwing shoulder.

The Rebels offense ran efficient screens throughout the night in order to move the ball against the Tigers to the tune of 252 yards passing. Another 126 yards on the ground totaled 378 for the Mississippi offense, but the Rebels struggled to cap off their drives with points.

Apart from a 45-yard touchdown run by I'Tavius Mathers in the third quarter, Ole Miss was not able to do much scoring. In three trips to the red zone, the Rebels gathered just three points, with other drives ending on a blocked field goal and turnover on downs.

Following the turnover on downs in the middle of the fourth quarter, the Tigers marched relentlessly down the field to ice the game with a gritty and punishing rushing game.

The Tigers totaled 260 yards on the ground. Henry Josey ran 15 times for 95 yards and two touchdowns, while Marcus Murphy added 67 yards and a touchdown of his own.

Though James Franklin's numbers through the air were underwhelming, his performance was a successful one.

He finished 12-19 passing with 142 and an interception, and was replaced by Maty Mauk for one drive when the Tigers were scuffling early in the game. But his leadership and determination was evident throughout.

Franklin carried 8 times for 42 yards, and could be found diving for first downs in critical situations down the stretch. He played a fearless game coming off his injury, and while it wasn't a typical Missouri performance in the passing game, Franklin helped will his team to a much-needed victory.

The Tigers can now set their sights on the final test before a potential trip to Atlanta to face Alabama. Missouri will welcome Johnny Manziel and his Texas A&M Aggies to Columbia for the final home game of the season. After the Aggies embarrassed a depleted Tigers group 59-29 in last year's finale in College Station, Missouri will be seeking revenge this Saturday. But they'll be playing for more than pride this time around.

At 10-1, nothing is off the table for the Tigers as far as national contention. Both Oregon and Baylor lost this week to effectively remove themselves from the national title conversation. Three unbeatens remain, but Mizzou will be afforded the right to take down one of them personally, if they can get past Texas A&M.The

Though it's easier said than done, should Missouri upset Alabama, only Florida State and Ohio State would be left in the undefeated column. While Florida State appears to be a mortal lock for a spot in the championship, there is an argument to be made that a one-loss SEC team deserves the opportunity to defend the conference's consecutive national title streak, which currently stands at seven in a row.

Numerous hypothetical situations exist for several teams in the top 10, and the Tigers are no different from the rest. In order to turn those hypotheticals into reality, Missouri has one job: Keep on winning.

They will hope to do so in front of the home crowd next Saturday at Faurot Field, in what could prove to be one of the biggest games in program history.

coleryan Posts:11958 Followers:18
11/26/2013 01:08 PM

For Dan Mullen and the Mississippi State Bulldogs, even more is at stake Thursday night when they host their rival Mississippi in the Egg Bowl.

The Bulldogs snapped numerous negative streaks and gave themselves a shot at bowl eligibility in Saturday’s 24-17 win over the Arkansas Razorbacks at War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock.

Mississippi State had never won in the state of Arkansas, and had lost all three previous overtime games with the Razorbacks, in 1996, 2000 and 2010. The Bulldogs had also lost 33 straight games in which they trailed after three quarters, and had lost eight straight games away from home.

Mississippi State (5-6, 2-5, SEC) rallied from 10-0 and 17-10 deficits to force overtime. Damian Williams scored on a 25-yard run on the first play of overtime, and Taveze Calhoun intercepted Arkansas’ Brandon Allen on fourth down to ice the victory.

“This is the SEC,” said Mississippi State running back Josh Robinson, who had a key block on Williams’ touchdown run. “You can’t put anybody down. Everybody is good in this league. You can’t put anything past anyone. That’s what we came out doing.”

Arkansas may have exposed what had been a stout Mississippi State defense, especially against the run. Ole Miss features a high-powered, hurry-up offense, one that averages nearly 200 yards rushing per game.

“(Arkansas) ran the ball for 225 yards on us,” said Mullen, who grew up in New Hampshire. “We’ve held some really good rushing teams down in rushing statistics this year. Two top teams like Auburn and Texas A&M, we were able to stop. They were able to run on us and we’ve got to look at that.”

Williams could see considerably more action on Thanksgiving night. Starting QB Tyler Russell left Saturday’s game late in regulation after re-injuring his shoulder, and Zak Prescott has already been ruled out for the Ole Miss game.

Mississippi State has won the last four Egg Bowls played in Starkville, and six of the last seven at Davis Wade Stadium. But Ole Miss (7-4, 3-4) figures to be a solid favorite in the game, despite a disappointing loss on Saturday to Missouri in Oxford.

Meanwhile, Arkansas’ ugly season continued, as it came up short in its bid to break a seven-game losing streak.

The Razorbacks (3-8, 0-7) had a chance to take the lead in the final three minutes, but Alex Collins fumbled on first down inside the Mississippi State 10.

Collins, who has shined in his freshman season with 998 rushing yards, was suspended for the first quarter along with fellow running back Jonathan Williams for being late for a workout session. Before the fumble, he racked up 52 yards on 10 carries in three quarters.

“He’s a tough kid, real tough,” Allen said of Collins. “That’s obviously a bad situation for us, but things like that happen. They have good players on their defense and things like that are going to happen. He’s young and he’s taking it hard on himself. Things like these only make you stronger.”

Instead, the Razorbacks’ losing skid extended to eight games, the worst in Arkansas history. Now the only thing between Arkansas and a winless SEC season is a road trip Friday to Baton Rouge, La., where a dangerous LSU team awaits, fresh off an impressive win over Texas A&M.

“Our seniors put a lot into that game, invested a lot,” Arkansas coach Bret Bielema said. “I expect them to do the same thing. We’ve got a short week. Obviously no chance for postseason play, so this will be our opportunity to send those seniors off in the right way and build for something that we continue in the future.”

coleryan Posts:11958 Followers:18
11/26/2013 01:10 PM

Ole Miss' four-game winning streak is history along with its short stay in the national rankings.

The Rebels (7-4, 3-4 Southeastern Conference) didn't play very well in a 24-10 loss to No. 8 Missouri on Saturday -- especially struggling in the red zone -- and now must regroup for a road game against rival Mississippi State (5-6, 2-5) on Thursday night.

It might be the most crucial game of Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze's two-year tenure.

The Rebels have been trending upward since he arrived, making a bowl game last season after a 2-10 record in 2011. But a loss to the rival Bulldogs would be a blow to his reclamation project.

Winning in Starkville won't be easy. The home team has won eight of the past nine Egg Bowls.

There's little doubt Mississippi State will be highly motivated, and not just because it's the Egg Bowl. The Bulldogs must win the game to earn bowl eligibility for a fourth straight season.

Freeze and the Rebels had a 5-6 record last season before the rivalry game and beat Mississippi State 41-24.

"The Egg Bowl intensity is always about as high and you can get," Freeze said. "But certainly with them having to win to go to a bowl, like we were last year, if it's possible to ratchet it up more, that would do it."

But it's not all mind games for the Rebels. They must also play better football, especially in the red zone.

Ole Miss made three trips to the red zone in last weekend's loss to Missouri, but managed only three combined points from those drives. Penalties, dropped passes and the lack of a power running game were all partially to blame.

"There were some opportunities to have some really nice plays and we didn't get it done," Freeze said. "There are three or four that stand out in our mind -- they're our fault. And then you've got to give (Missouri) some credit."

Mississippi State beat Arkansas 24-17 in overtime on Saturday, but might be down to its third-string quarterback on Thursday.

Bulldogs' coach Dan Mullen said on Monday that starter Dak Prescott will miss his third consecutive game because of a nerve injury in his non-throwing arm. Backup Tyler Russell played for most of the Arkansas game, but had to leave in the fourth quarter with an injured throwing shoulder.

Mullen said Russell's status will continually be evaluated this week, but if he can't play, the assignment falls to true freshman Damian Williams.

The 6-foot-1, 230-pound Williams hasn't played much this season, but scored what proved to be the game-winning touchdown on a 25-yard run against the Razorbacks in overtime.

Freeze said Mississippi State's offense is fairly consistent no matter who is under center. He sounded more concerned about Mississippi State's defense -- which held top-ranked Alabama to a season-low 20 points two weeks ago.

"The windows to throw in, they don't stay open long," Freeze said. "It's an excellent defense and over the past few games they've improved."

coleryan Posts:11958 Followers:18
11/27/2013 12:27 PM

Archrivals meet in the annual Battle for the Golden Egg on Thanksgiving night, as the Mississippi State Bulldogs and the Ole Miss Rebels close out their regular seasons with an SEC showdown at Davis Wade Stadium.

At 7-4, Ole Miss will be heading to bowl season for the second straight year under coach Hugh Freeze. The Rebels made their second appearance in the AP Top-25 this season following a four-game winning streak spanning from Oct. 19 to Nov. 16, but they were promptly ousted from the ranks following a 24-10 home loss to nationally-ranked Missouri last weekend, which dropped them to 3-4 in the SEC.

Mississippi State has been bowl eligible in three straight campaigns under coach Dan Mullen, but unless it can win this matchup, it'll be on the outside looking in come the postseason. The Bulldogs were reeling with three consecutive losses prior to last week's thrilling 24-17 overtime win at Arkansas, in which Damian Williams scored the game-winning touchdown in the extra session to avenge Devon Bell's missed 42-yard field goal attempt at the end of regulation.

In a series that dates back to 1901, Ole Miss holds a 61-42-6 advantage. The Rebels defeated the nationally-ranked Bulldogs, 41-24, in last season's edition for their first Egg Bowl win since 2008.

Despite its poor output in the loss to Missouri (378 yards, 10 points), Ole Miss has been stellar offensively this season, scoring 32.3 points and 487.1 yards per game.

The offense runs through quarterback Bo Wallace, who has completed more than 64 percent of his passes for 2,908 yards, 21 touchdowns (four rushing) and just six interceptions. Barry Brunetti has only 36 pass attempts this season but he's much more than just a backup quarterback, as he's featured in many goal-line packages and has cashed in with six passing and four rushing touchdowns.

I'Tavious Mathers was one of the few bright spots in the loss to Missouri (seven carries, 66 yards, TD), and he now leads the team with 495 yards on 75 carries. Jeff Scott (493 yards, two TDs) and Jaylen Walton (433 yards, six TDs) give the Rebels plenty of options in the backfield.

The talent is plentiful at receiver as well. Laquon Treadwell (58 receptions, 500 yards, six TDs) is the top possession target, while Donte Moncrief (50 receptions, 801 yards, five TDs) has made it a habit of getting open deep. Ja- Mes Logan (40 receptions, 532 yards, three TDs) is also having a strong campaign.

Defensively, the Rebels have held their own against some of the best in the SEC, as they rank seventh in the league in scoring defense (24.9 ppg) and eighth in total defense (383.8 ypg).

Cody Prewitt could be on his way to an All-SEC selection, as he has racked up 66 tackles, five interceptions and two forced fumbles. Serderius Bryant (63 tackles, 9.0 TFL, 3.0 sacks), Denzel Nkemdiche (31 tackles) and Robert Nkemdiche (26 tackles, 7.0 TFL) have all missed multiple games due to injury, but are all healthy now.

While Mississippi State's offense has been solid this season with 27.2 points and 438.0 yards per game, both figures rank in the bottom half of the SEC.

The offense was missing a key component last week when dual-threat quarterback Dak Prescott (1,542 passing yards, 722 rushing yards, 17 TDs, seven INTs) sat with an elbow injury. He remains questionable for this contest, meaning Tyler Russell (.651 completions, 875 yards, five TDs, three INTs) could be in line for another start.

The Bulldogs are fortunate to have one of the SEC's best all-purpose weapons on their side in Jameon Lewis, who has been potent as a receiver (49 receptions, 635 yards), rusher (117 yards), return man (102 yards) and even passer (3-of-3, 84 yards), and through all those channels he's scored 12 touchdowns.

Without Perkins, MSU's rushing attack is a little light. LaDarius Perkins (490 yards, two TDs) and Josh Robinson (376 yards, two TDs) have garnered the most work.

Much like their counterpart, the Bulldogs have been impressive on defense this season, allowing 25.6 points and 370.7 yards per game while ranking as one of the SEC leaders in takeaways with 20.

Benardrick McKinney is the top tackler with 61 stops, and he has also recovered a pair of fumbles. Nickoe Whitley (four INTs, FF, blocked kick), Taveze Calhoun (three INT, FF) and Jamerson Love (three INTs) have all been active in the turnover battle.

Mississippi State only has two losses in six tries at home this season, with those setbacks coming to national powerhouses Alabama and LSU, so it is certainly a difficult draw for Ole Miss, especially coming off a tough loss. However, the Rebels have shown great resiliency under Freeze and should be able to create enough big plays to run past a potentially-shorthanded Bulldogs squad and claim the Golden Egg.

coleryan Posts:11958 Followers:18
11/27/2013 12:29 PM

There is more happening Thanksgiving night in Starkville than just a football game between two rivals. The Egg Bowl also represents a clash of fashion ideologies.

When the two teams take the field, Mississippi State will be wearing a new uniform designed just for the Egg Bowl, featuring a gold-lettered Hail State on the front and a gold helmet. Ole Miss will opt for one of its usual away-game uniforms.

In the fashion world, that marks a battle of new and bold versus traditional and classic.

“Many schools are stuck on tradition and luck,” said fashion designer Vincent Quevedo. “They think sticking to a look that made them win in the past will make them win again.”

The fashion of college football uniforms has become a booming industry in recent years. College football programs look for every possible advantage when it comes to branding and recruiting. Schools like Oregon and Maryland discovered that an in-your-face uniform design can create buzz. Major apparel companies like Nike, Adidas and Under Armour have engaged in a race to see which can put together the most memorable design.

Mississippi State has kept a relatively normal standard uniform but has dabbled with alternative looks with the help of Adidas. Adidas comes to the school with ideas two years ahead of time; right now, Mississippi State is already working with the company on its 2015 uniforms.

Adidas is a big reason Mississippi State will wear special gold helmets against Ole Miss on Thanksgiving night. Adidas left a gold helmet sample in Starkville last spring, and about five weeks ago head coach Dan Mullen decided his team should wear the helmet during the primetime ESPN game. MSU planned on surprising everyone, including the players, with the helmet Thursday night but decided for safety reasons to have the players test them out Tuesday.

“It fits with the whole Golden Egg (and) Egg Bowl,” said Scott Wetherbee, Mississippi State’s senior associate athletic director for external relations. “It’s the icing on the cake for the whole uniform.”

Mississippi State’s Egg Bowl-themed uniform is a “bold” approach” but only works if the Bulldogs win, one uniform expert said.

“When you wear something like that and lose, you look pretty damn stupid,” said ESPN.com’s Paul Lukas, who writes about sports uniforms and runs the blog “Uni Watch.”

Thursday night will mark the fourth time in the last two years MSU has worn a special uniform. It also did last year against Ole Miss and Texas A&M (to commemorate the “Snow Bowl”) and in this year’s opener against Oklahoma State.

“The main reason you do it is to build excitement around your program, around recruiting and the players,” Wetherbee said. “We have taken the approach of trying not to go too far over the top and to keep it classy and consistent with Mississippi State. We don’t come out with five or six uniforms, but maybe one game like the Egg Bowl we’ll unveil a unique uniform.”

That’s precisely the wrong time to do so, says Lukas.

“A lot of teams do it for rivalry games, and that seems like the worst time,” Lukas said. “The whole point of a rivalry game is tradition. It’s something that’s about your school heritage. That’s a time when you wear your most traditional things.”

He admits alternative uniforms have their benefits, namely selling apparel and creating excitement among the fan base. But few actually look good, he says.

Ole Miss doesn’t dabble much in alternative-design uniforms.

The Rebels made modest changes to their uniforms this year — blue and white pants were added to the mix. But Ole Miss doesn’t wear uniforms specifically designed for one game.

“Our fans like our look,” said Stephen Ponder, Ole Miss’ senior executive athletic director for external relations. “Coach (Hugh) Freeze likes that as well. He likes our traditional uniforms and wants to stay true to that as much as possible. It’s not driven by Nike by any means; we aren’t reacting to what Nike wants. It’s really more of an internal thing for what (Freeze) is looking for in a program and what our fan base wants.”

So which uniform Thursday appeals more to the fashion industry? That also comes with debate.

Quevedo, who is also an associate professor of fashion design at Kent State University, believes Mississippi State’s Egg Bowl uniform is superior to Ole Miss’ uniform options.

“(The) Mississippi State uniform is the best one because it is sleek, shiny, athletic and looks like it means business,” he said. “The best feature of this uniform is the lack of decoration it has. It is simple and easy to see on the field. The monochromatic color scheme makes the athlete look taller, leaner, faster and stronger.”

Quevedo feels Ole Miss’ two-color uniforms makes the players look “slow, chunky and massive.”

Ole Miss has yet to decide its uniform combination; the players and coaches will make the decision and tell the school Thursday, Ponder said.

While Ole Miss isn’t planning special uniforms for the future, Mississippi State is considering one to honor the 100th year of Scott Field next year. The helmet seen against Oklahoma State this year also could be in the rotation going forward.

Alternative uniforms are now a part of MSU’s fashion identity, but at least one expert questions how effective nontraditional designs will be in the future.

“A lot of the stuff seems like it is just geared for shock value or how outrageous we can be,” Lukas said. “Both the individual schools and the industry as a whole, you start to paint yourself into a corner when you take that approach. Eventually, how do you keep topping yourself?”