Greetings guys. Welcome to the prediction thread many of you have been waiting for.
These predictions are all in good fun, of course, but pick against the locals, and you can really stir things up.
I offered some insight into what I was thinking last week on a response below, so I won’t rehash that here.
I also am going to resist using the most over-worked cliche in sports — throw out the records.
College football is an emotional game, and honestly, I don’t account for emotion enough when I offer these predictions.
I can’t see much else that Mississippi State has going for it right now in this matchup. On paper it’s just a game the Rebels should win.
State got some people’s attention last week with 226 rushing yards and a career-high 179 by Anthony Dixon. But that was against Arkansas, the league’s worst rushing defense.
It does serve as a reminder that Dixon is a capable back when he gets a little blocking.
A little blocking is all that’s been available at State many times this year. The Bulldogs are rushing for 115.5 yards a game, ninth in the league, and have given up 26 sacks, 10th in the league.
The Bulldogs’ rushing defense of 144.6 yards a game ranks 11th in the SEC.
Numbers indicate that Ole Miss, average 180.1 yards on the ground, can run the football. That’s what the Rebels need to do, because that will allow them to take some pressure off quarterback Jevan Snead who will play with a tender shoulder.
The Bulldogs have been pretty good against the pass, giving up a 51 percent completion rate and nine touchdowns, but their seven interceptions are second-fewest in the league.
Snead was on target last week against LSU, and he’ll need to be that sharp again. He’ll have a harder time burning State’s corners.
In simplest terms, if the Rebels do not revert, they’ll win. If they do not return to the first half of the season when mistakes, turnovers and big plays allowed on defense were normal, they’ll win.
Ole Miss is plus-6 in turnover margin over the life of its four-game win streak.
The Rebels have been good on the defensive line all season, and they’re peaking right now.
Houston Nutt has had these guys sharp, focused and ready to play each Saturday. I expect it will be that way on a Friday too, especially with a likely Cotton Bowl berth on the line.
Ole Miss 28, MSU 14