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Ole Miss 41, Mississippi State 24: The Rebels Knock Off the Bulldogs and Ponder What's Next

Ole Miss clocks its in-state rival to finish off a late run through the season. There might even be bigger things ahead

Stacy Revere

It's hard to avoid the thought that Ole Miss has continued to improve as the season has worn on. After all, this is the team that needed to rally to beat Central Arkansas and got run out of its own stadium by Texas. With the loss to Vanderbilt two weeks ago, it seemed like the Rebels' last bowl chances had slipped away. But then, in the Egg Bowl, Ole Miss routed its cross-state foes and sent a signal that the Bulldogs aren't the only Mississippi program ready to make its mark in the SEC West.

And it was not a fluky win. After a 17-17 deadlock at the half, Ole Miss then scored the next 24 points to finish off the Bulldogs. A team that had started the season with dreams of potentially challenging Alabama and LSU for supremacy in the SEC West ended up dropping the rivalry matchup with a team that needed every last win it could muster to get into the postseason. Ole Miss churned out 527 yards and 28 first downs. Donte Moncrief -- a sophomore -- went off, catching seven passes for 173 yards and three touchdowns. On the other end of those passes was Bo Wallace -- another sophomore -- who went 15-of-22 for 294 yards, five touchdowns and a pair of interceptions.

Whether that's enough to signal a real challenge to the SEC West's Big Three of Alabama, LSU and Texas A&M is a question for another day. But it does seem to indicate that Ole Miss under Hugh Freeze will not be a team easily forgotten. And if they keep improving at this rate, maybe that other goal will look within reach after all.