Ole Miss made some history on Thanksgiving Night.
For the first time ever, the Rebels can celebrate a 10-win regular season after their 31-21 victory over rival Mississippi State. This Egg Bowl victory will be remembered for a long while because as they say, “First ever is forever.”
Coming into the night, Ole Miss was one of the best first-half teams in the country. Conversely, Mississippi State was one of the worst. Fittingly, the Rebels led by a score of 10-6 heading into the break. While this was below Ole Miss’ average of 16.8 points per first half on the road, they got by thanks in part to State being below their own mark of 10.2 points per first half at home.
The second half provided a significant difference to how Ole Miss usually plays ball in that half. The Rebels scored 21 points off two rushing touchdowns from Snoop Conner and Matt Corral as well as a receiving touchdown by Jerrion Ealy. State could only muster two scores, both coming late in the fourth quarter.
Tonight marked the first time that Ole Miss scored at least 21 points in the second half since their thrilling 52-51 victory over Arkansas on October 9.
Ole Miss batted 1.000 on their red zone attempts. They got into the red zone five times and scored all 31 points there as well. This bucks a trend that Ole Miss had gotten themselves into. On the season, they’d converted on just over 75 percent of their attempts (76.36%). In their last three games, the mark was at 66.67 percent, converting on average two-thirds of their attempts. They went 100 percent on Turkey Night, also bucking a trend that saw them convert on just 75 percent of opportunities on the road.
Mississippi State put up a very disappointing effort on the other end. Coming into the game, they ranked 40th in the country in the RZ Scoring% with a mark of 86.96 percent. They were even better at home, converting on 89.47 percent of their opportunities inside the 25. Against the Rebels, who’d let up 90 percent of scoring opportunities inside the red zone to be converted on the road this year, they merely went 4-for-6. When your adversary is able to cash in on every single opportunity, one miss may doom you and two misses will have you on the wrong end of the game.
Both these teams will be bowling this year so each will be awaiting postseason announcements. It’s likely that Ole Miss is headed to the Sugar Bowl, where they can achieve something else that’s never been done before in program history. That, of course, would be an 11-win season. Brett McMurphy of Action Network has them projected to play the Baylor Bears in that Sugar Bowl. As for Mississippi State, McMurphy has them currently projected in the Texas Bowl against the Big XII’s Iowa State Cyclones.