Dawgs. Win. Again! Mississippi State football went up north to Oxford, Mississippi to face the Ole Miss Rebels. It was a very hard-fought victory that came down to one play in which the Bulldogs prevented a two-point conversion by the Baby Sharks to seal the deal on Thanksgiving Day. Everyone in the state of Mississippi understands the significance of this game and how it has lasting effects throughout the year. Both in bragging rights and in-state recruiting this game is very important to both fanbases, but this year the spoils go to the Bulldogs for the next 364 days. Before we dive into GBU, let’s look at our current bowl game predictions after week 14.
Mississippi State football bowl game projections
The first prediction by Athlon Sports is the Reliaquest Bowl between Mississippi State and the Illinois Fighting Illini. I must say I love Tampa in January. The second prediction, per 247 Sports, sounds even more fun if you like to play the odds with a possible invite to the Las Vegas Bowl against UCLA. Now, this would be a very interesting matchup and a common enemy of Mike Leach’s time at Washington State. Lastly, per CFN, is a very interesting matchup between the Bulldogs and Oklahoma which could be an early look at a future SEC West-foe in the Sooners. Personally, I would be happy with either prediction, though I would most likely prefer the Las Vegas Bowl scenario against UCLA. I don’t believe the two teams have ever met on the gridiron.
Mississippi State Football: The Good – Defense’s ability to slow down the Rebel offense
The Bulldog defense proved once again that they are one of the best in the country. Holding the Rebels high powered run game to a season-low 78 yards on the ground. The Rebels were averaging over 260 yards per game on the ground. In addition to slowing down the rushing attack, Mississippi State was also able to contain the Rebel’s air attack as well. The Bulldogs basically put the Rebels in a position where they became more of a one-dimensional offense and easier to contain.
I must always remind everyone that both teams currently are set at 8-4 on the season and both play in the toughest conference in the entire country. The Bulldogs started the season with the second most difficult schedule of 2022 and have really surpassed all expectations by most of the so-called experts. I expect both programs will be selected for quality bowl games, and both will win.
Mississippi State Football: The Bad – Rogers had an off night
Rogers just wasn’t on this past Thursday and it showed. I don’t know if it was his timing or the pressure by Ole Miss because he was having issues hitting his timing routes and overthrowing or underthrowing receivers. Either way, he wasn’t near as accurate as usual and missed several passing opportunities on Thursday. With that being said, Rogers still put up decent numbers with 239 passing yards and 2 passing touchdowns while maintaining a 69.2 completion percentage on the night.
On the bad side of things, Rogers threw one interception and put the ball on the ground in the 4th quarter on the one-yard line that almost cost the Bulldogs an Egg Bowl. So let’s end this section on a good note, Rogers was not affected in any way by the rain. Most quarterbacks tend to have a problem holding the ball and throwing in such weather, but Rogers has shown more than once he can pass in the rain.
Mississippi State Football: The Ugly – 4th quarter officiating
For nearly three and a half quarters, I was very impressed with the officiating crews. Last week there were several SEC matchups where the home team seemed to get that home-field officiating bump. This game was very clean and probably the best-called game I watched this season until the back-to-back blown calls midway through the 4th quarter.
First, it was the lateral pass that ended up being a turnover by Ole Miss. This was a bad call because when the Rebel receiver dropped the lateral pass the officiating crew blew the whistle. If the whistle hadn’t been blown, the Bulldogs would have had a scoop n’ score. The second was Dillon Johnson’s obvious touchdown not being called on the field and then not being reversed. To make matters worse, they gave Mississippi State the ball on the four-yard line.
Both calls had game-changing consequences, but neither can be blamed for winning or losing the game. For all those Ole Miss fans that disagree let me explain. If Dillion Johnson scores the game is over but he didn’t, so the “bad call” for the lateral pass resulted in no points. Ole Miss had their opportunity to have a game-winning drive, but they failed to the two-point conversion.