Ole Miss report card: Quick start pushes Rebels past Mississippi State
For the second straight week, No. 18 Ole Miss dominated a rivalry game, as the Rebels rolled No. 21 Mississippi State in the Egg Bowl Saturday night to claim the state of Mississippi for the second consecutive season.
Here are the grades Ole Miss received for the 38-27 road win:
It wasn’t a flawless effort, but the Rebels offense was pretty dominate against Mississippi State. Ole Miss totaled 479 yards and remained very balanced, racking up a 243 rushing yards — a team high in an SEC game this season. Quarterback Chad Kelly had his third straight turnover-free game and further proved why he should be a first-team all-SEC selection.
Ole Miss’ defensive depth issues showed late, as the Rebels allowed Mississippi State to get two fourth-quarter touchdowns to make the score appear closer than the game really was. But overall, Ole Miss played well defensively. The Rebels totaled seven sacks and held Bulldogs quarterback Dak Prescott relatively in check.
SPECIAL TEAMS: D
Ole Miss kicker Gary Wunderlich missed two easy field goals before knocking home his third attempt, a 48-yarder, in the third quarter. Rebels punter Will Gleeson had two punts that averaged 15.5 yards, and Ole Miss could not get a kickoff anywhere near the goal line. It was a forgettable day for the special teams unit.
Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze and his staff had the Rebels ready to play in what was both a difficult and emotional situation. Ole Miss found out minutes before kickoff that Alabama had defeated Auburn, and the Rebels chances of winning the SEC West were over. Still, Ole Miss came out focused and executed a well-thought out game plan to build an early lead and silence at least some of the cowbells. In the second half, the Rebels had a solid mixture of running and passing plays; not totally predictable, but still efficient enough to preserve the big lead.
Anytime an Ole Miss team goes into Starkville, Miss. and wins, it’s a huge accomplishment. The Rebels couldn’t have drawn up the first quarter any better, and from there, the game was pretty much over. Ole Miss found a way to motivate itself, and now, the Rebels faithful may be ringing in the new year in New Orleans for a trip to the Sugar Bowl.