Week 13 – Mississippi State at Ole Miss

Posted Nov 23, 2012

Week 13 Fearless Prediction – Mississippi State at Ole Miss

Mississippi State (8-3) at Ole Miss (5-6) Nov. 24, 7:00, ESPNU

Here’s The Deal: Really, what more could you possibly ask for out of Hugh Freeze, Ole Miss fans? The program was a mess, and he helped turn things around in a hurry, and now he has the chance to not only finish the regular season with an Egg Bowl win, but also with a sixth victory and bowl eligibility.

Fine, so it would’ve been nice to have taken care of the bowl business against Vanderbilt a few week ago, and the Rebels are on a three game losing streak, but the offense has been good, the pass rush excellent, and the team a lot more fun than it was last year. No matter what happens, this was a positive step forward, setting up a potentially stronger 2013.

But getting to a bowl game would be ice.

Mississippi State pulled up out of its own three-game nosedive with a 45-14 blasting of Arkansas to ruin the Hogs’ desperate dreams of a bowl game. There might not be any good wins on the schedule – there’s a chance the team will finish the season without a win over a bowl-bound team – but 9-3 is still 9-3, and considering that would come with a victory over the Rebels, this will be a successful season with just one more win.

Why Mississippi State Might Win: MSU continues to be phenomenal at winning the turnover battle. Fourth in the nation in turnover margin, the Bulldogs have given the ball away just 11 times all season long. There were two giveaways against LSU, and a lost fumble against Arkansas, but the defense is picking up the slack with three takeaways against the Hogs and 26 on the year. Ole Miss isn’t bad when it comes to forcing mistakes, but the four turnovers against LSU were costly and the three against Georgia hurt. Ole Miss needs to be at least +2 to win this week, and it won’t be.

Why Ole Miss Might Win: The offense has exploded, particularly the passing game. LSU might not have been all that focused, but the defense is still among the most talented in the country. It was lit up for 316 passing yards and two scores, and Vanderbilt’s strong secondary allowed 403 yards two weeks ago. Mississippi State doesn’t generate enough of a pass rush to bother Rebel quarterback Bo Wallace or throw off his timing, and despite the solid showing against Arkansas, after allowing 233 passing yards or more in each of the last four weeks, the talented MSU secondary needs to be able to lock down on …

What To Watch Out For: Wallace, who has taken his came to another level. The three picks against LSU were a problem, but he was ballin’ against the Tiger D with 54 rushing yards, two scores, and plenty of big plays to keep the game alive. However, he can’t start turning the ball over against an MSU defense that’s so terrific at forcing the big errors – he can’t force anything. On the other side, the Bulldogs are at their best when they’re able to control the game and the tempo with the running game. Ladarius Perkins missed the LSU game, but he came back to run for a solid 91 yards to help take the pressure off of Tyler Russell and the passing attack. He hasn’t run for a score since mid-October, and the rushing yards need to come back. When the schedule got tougher, his production slipped, but now he needs to get back to being the 100-yard bask that dominated at times over the first half of the year.

What Will Happen: The charged up Rebels will make a few key mistakes, but Wallace will come up with another huge day and the defense will do enough to get to Russell to get the sixth win and set the tone for what should be an even more fun rivalry over the next several years.

CFN Prediction: Ole Miss 31 … Mississippi State 27
ATS Consultants Line (Click for more lines and picks) Ole Miss -1.5 O/U: 54.5
Must Watch Rating (5 – Beware of Mr. Baker, 1 – Life of Pi): 3