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The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

    Game 12: Mississippi State vs. Mississippi

    The Mississippi State Bulldogs head north to Oxford on Thanksgiving Day to play their biggest rival, Mississippi. At stake is, for Mississippians, the most important trophy in all of college football–the Golden Egg.
    MSU now has possession of the Egg due to last year’s 36-28 Egg Bowl win over the Rebels at Scott Field. That victory kept Mississippi from going to a postseason bowl game, and the Rebels hunger for revenge this year.
    This season, both teams have losing records, but the game has postseason repercussions for the Rebels. The Bulldogs (3-8, 0-7) have dropped their last four games to conference opponents and the Rebels (5-6, 2-5) find themselves in the midst of a five-game skid.
    While Eli Manning’s team isn’t putting up numbers as striking as last season, Manning himself is having another fine year. Last year, in his breakout season, Manning threw for 2,948 yards, 31 touchdowns and nine interceptions. In all likelihood, he will break his own UM record for season passing yards. Leading into Thursday’s game, Manning has thrown for 2,881 yards, 18 touchdowns and 13 interceptions.
    Manning’s favorite targets–Chris Collins, Mike Espy and Bill Flowers–have combined for nearly all of UM’s receptions and touchdown catches. Collins leads the bunch with eight TDs and Espy and Flowers have three apiece on the year.
    The Rebel ground attack, led by Tremaine Turner, has struggled as of late, averaging just 56.4 yards per game during UM’s five-game losing streak.
    The Rebels are even worse on the other side of the ball. In their last five games, they’ve given up 376.6 yards per contest. On the ground, they’ve given up at least 100 yards to every SEC opponent except Florida. They held the Gators to a respectable 95 yards rushing.
    If the Bulldogs are going to come up with a mild upset at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium, they’ll need to take advantage of Mississippi’s weak rush defense. Whoever starts at quarterback for MSU, whether it’s Kevin Fant or Kyle York, needs to open up the field by producing a decent passing attack. If State isn’t a threat in the air, Mississippi will just stack the line of scrimmage and probably have one of its better defensive days.
    On defense, the Bulldogs must contain Manning. It’s unlikely that they’ll be able to shut him down entirely, but another 213-yard, three-interception performance by Manning will help.

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    Game 12: Mississippi State vs. Mississippi