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2021 Egg Bowl, Ole Miss vs. Mississippi State: Preview, how to watch, odds

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Ya just never know what to expect in this matchup.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 20 Vanderbilt at Ole Miss Photo by Chris McDill/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The 9-2 Ole Miss Rebels will tee up to meet the 7-4 Mississippi State Bulldogs in the annual Egg Bowl on Thanksgiving. The Rebels are one win away from a 10-win season, something they have only achieved as a program seven times previously. A Sugar Bowl berth is probably on the line in this game, as is the chance to win 11 games for the first time in program history. The Bulldogs would sure love to spoil the party, especially since the game is in Starkville. Some batshit things have happened in this rivalry before and could happen again. You just never know.

How to watch the 2021 Egg Bowl

Time: 6:30 p.m. CT
TV: ESPN
Watch Online: ESPN App

Betting Odds

(via DraftKings Sportsbook)

Spread: Mississippi State -2 | Ole Miss +2
Total: 64.5
Moneyline: Mississippi State -130 | Ole Miss +110

Ole Miss holds an edge on Mississippi State in quite a number of offensive categories. That shouldn’t come as a surprise as Lane Kiffin’s offense combined with top-flight quarterback Matt Corral make for a dangerous mix. A pretty complementary running attack that includes Snoop Conner adds another dimension to one of the best offenses in the country.

That’s not to say the Bulldogs have been slouches offensively. Quarterback Will Rogers has been strong when called upon. There’s been only one game all year where he’s thrown for under 300 yards, and he’s surpassed the 400-yard mark in each of the last three games.

As for this matchup with Mississippi State, Ole Miss has held an edge over the entire season and over the last three games, as well. Per TeamRankings.com, for the season the Rebels lead the Bulldogs in Plays/Game, YPP, YPC, Yards/Pass, and Points per Play. State’s been considerably better, interestingly enough, on both 3rd downs and Red Zone Scoring%.

The Rebs lead in YPP, YPC, and Yards/Pass over the last three games, with the biggest difference coming in the yards per carry dept. Ole Miss has rushed for 4.8 yards per carry to State’s mere 2.9.

On defense, neither team has a lot to write home about. State’s YPC/allowed of 3.6 is pretty strong, but that’s about the only really strong quality. Neither team has done a great job of keeping opposing teams out of the end zone. While top dog Georgia leads the SEC and the nation with an RZ Scoring% allowed of 55 percent, the Rebels and Bulldogs find themselves around the nation’s average.

They stand at 81.82 and 82.61 percent in that category respectively, ranking 7th and 8th in the SEC respectively.

Of late though, Ole Miss has tightened up. Over the last three games, they’ve given up just 5.0 YPP, a 3rd Down Conversion rate of 36.96 percent, and an RZ Scoring% of 60 percent. These all lead Mississippi State’s numbers in those respective categories as well.

Ole Miss will be on the road for this one obviously, and there is maybe some worry about how different they play on the road. Their 5.6 YPP is not nearly as large as the 7.0 YPP they have at Vaught-Hemingway. But as State is giving up 5.7 YPP at home this year, that cause for concern could perhaps be diminished a bit. The same could really be said for Ole Miss’ passing attack. Matt Corral and the Rebels average 9.7 yards/pass at home and just 8.0 on the road. But the Bulldogs have allowed nearly 8.0 yards/pass this season in Starkville.

What I’ll be looking at here, in particular, is what happens in the first half. Ole Miss has been some go-getters this year, averaging 20.8 points per game in the first half. That ranks ninth in the nation and fourth in the SEC behind Alabama, Georgia, and Tennessee. Pretty good company to be in on the offensive end of things. Mississippi State, meanwhile, has only averaged 12.6 points in the first half this year. That number is not much better at home, as they’ve only averaged 10.2 points in the first half in Starkville. The Rebels, meanwhile, average 16.8 away from Oxford in that category.

A hot start for Ole Miss and they could come away with a historic Egg Bowl victory. If they trip up, they could be in for a fight as State has been one of the best second-half teams in the nation this year.