Here’s everything you need to know about Saturday’s highly-anticipated Egg Bowl showdown between No. 4 Mississippi State and No. 19 Ole Miss.

When: Saturday, Nov. 29
Where: Oxford, Mississippi
Game Time: 3:30 p.m. ET
TV: CBS
Current Line: Mississippi State (-2)

Game Buzz: Ole Miss and Mississippi State will square off in one of the most highly anticipated Egg Bowls in history when the two teams meet for the 111th time on Saturday afternoon. Both teams will enter the game ranked in the Top 25 for the first time since 1992, and if Mississippi State wins it will remain alive to win the SEC West and reach the College Football Playoff. Ole Miss has lost three straight games in SEC play, while Mississippi State has lost just once all year and has won four of the last five meetings in this series. Nevertheless, when the Bulldogs and Rebels meet in the Battle for the Golden Egg, anything is possible.

SATURDAY DOWN SOUTH PREVIEWS

MISSISSIPPI STATE BULLDOGS

Players to watch:

  • QB Dak Prescott
  • RB Josh Robinson
  • WR De’Runnya Wilson
  • OL Ben Beckwith
  • DL Preston Smith
  • LB Benardrick McKinney
  • LB Beniquez Brown
  • CB Jamerson Love
  • CB Taveze Calhoun

Keys for Mississippi State:

  • Run right at the Landsharks. Ole Miss is known for its physical, intimidating Landshark defense, but the Rebels have dropped to sixth in the SEC in run defense and have allowed more than 220 rushing yards per game in their last three SEC contests. If Mississippi State sticks to its guns and runs right at Ole Miss, it should be able to establish both Dak Prescott and Josh Robinson as threats on offense. When Mississippi State runs the ball well it can open up its entire offense, and when it has the entire playbook at its disposal it normally has little trouble hitting 40 points on the scoreboard.
  • Avoid obvious passing situations. When Mississippi State can run to set up the pass, it has little trouble picking apart opposing defenses. But when it’s forced to throw in obvious passing situations it’s far from the most explosive pass attack in the SEC. Prescott is a dynamic talent at quarterback, but when forced to sit in the pocket and play like a more traditional quarterback he has weaknesses that can be exploited. Mississippi State must stay ahead of the chains on first and second down to stay out of long down-and-distance situations.
  • Play aggressive in the front seven. Ole Miss hasn’t had an adequate rushing attack all season, it’s banged up along the offensive line and it’s missing its most dynamic wideout in Laquon Treadwell for a third straight game. The strength of the Bulldogs defense lies in its front seven, and if MSU remains aggressive in the front seven it should be able to control its matchup with the Ole Miss offense. If the Rebels turn into a one-dimensional passing offense and Bo Wallace is rushed in the pocket, it will be difficult for them to gain any traction on offense, even on their home field.

Glaring weakness to watch: The kicking game. Mississippi State has kept itself afloat in the kicking game for most of this season, but it’s also spent much of that time flirting with disaster. Place kicker Evan Sobiesk is an impressive 9 of 10 on field goal tries this season, but he’s missed three extra points on the year to indicate he’s not as consistent as his field goal percentage might lead on. If this game comes down to a late field goal, Mississippi State could be in trouble. Sobiesk’s abilities in late-game situations this season are an unknown at best, which has to leave Bulldogs fans unsettled entering Saturday’s game.

Most interesting part of the game: Mississippi State hasn’t won an SEC title since 1941, it has only won the SEC West once since the conference split into two divisions, and it hasn’t had this good of a chance to win a national title in 50 years. If Mississippi State can beat its rival on Saturday, all of it will be possible. That’s enough to make this game interesting for the Bulldogs and their fans. (By the way, Mississippi State hates Ole Miss, so that should intensify this game as well.

Team buzz: The Bulldogs got their swagger back in last week’s 51-point win over Vanderbilt, capping their first 7-0 run at home in school history. Mississippi State is confident and it’s not shying away from the big stage or the high stakes of this year’s Egg Bowl. If the Bulldogs learned their lesson in a loss to Alabama, they have every reason to feel good about their chances in Saturday’s monumental game.

OLE MISS REBELS

Players to watch:

  • QB Bo Wallace
  • RB Jaylen Walton
  • WR Vince Sanders
  • WR Cody Core
  • OL Laremy Tunsil
  • DT Robert Nkemdiche
  • LB Serderius Bryant
  • CB Senquez Golson
  • S Cody Prewitt

Keys for Ole Miss:

  • Protect Bo Wallace at all costs. Ole Miss is banged up along the offensive line, and its best lineman, left tackle Laremy Tunsil, will play through a biceps injury for a second straight week in Saturday’s contest. As a result, Ole Miss must rely on its tailbacks and tight ends to contribute in pass protection, keeping Wallace upright even at the expense of pass-catchers on a given play. With the nation’s No. 1 scoring defense on their sideline, the Rebels will be better off running two-man route and loading up in protection rather than leaving Wallace vulnerable to a stout Mississippi State front seven. Ole Miss won’t need a big day on offense, but it will need to keep its quarterback safe and avoid costly mistakes when it has the ball.
  • Mix up looks on defense. The Rebels have one of the best defenses in the nation, but it is also facing the No. 2 scoring offense in the SEC from Mississippi State. Thus, Ole Miss must continue to mix up its looks on defense, never allowing Dak Prescott to find his comfort zone in Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. The Rebels will have a raucous crowd behind them, and if they can keep the MSU offense unsettled they’ll have a great chance at limiting one of the most potent offenses in the SEC.
  • Give the run game one last chance to shine. Ole Miss ranks 10th in the SEC in rushing, but it has averaged just 115 yards per game as a team during its recent three-game losing streak. Nonetheless, the Rebels should still try and establish the run early in the game, giving MSU plenty of different looks in the run game with its multitude of tailbacks and their varying styles. Even if Ole Miss fails to gain any traction in the run game, it will at least make the Bulldogs have to respect the run, which in turn could open up a passing game sorely missing Treadwell in the lineup. The Rebels may not run the ball any better than they have in recent weeks, but they must avoid becoming one-dimensional on offense.

Glaring weakness to watch: Injuries. Tunsil, Wallace, and a handful of other starters on both sides of the ball will try to play through injuries on Saturday; Treadwell and Denzel Nkemdiche won’t play at all. The Rebels depth will be tested in this year’s Egg Bowl, as will their ability to play through pain in a physical battle against their mortal enemy from Starkville. If Ole Miss’ health concerns leave it unable to match MSU’s physicality, it could be in big trouble at home on Saturday afternoon.

Most interesting part of the game: The Egg Bowl rivalry is interesting enough on its own, but it will be even more interesting to see how the Landshark defense matches up with a dynamic Mississippi State offense. The Rebels remain the nation’s best scoring defense, but they’ve been bullied by conference competition during their recent struggles, allowing at least 30 points in each of their last two conference games. Ole Miss needs to win on defense to have a chance of winning this game, and it will be fascinating to see if the Landsharks are up to the task one more time.

Team buzz: Ole Miss is reeling following a difficult stretch in November, but it also knows anything can happen in a heated rivalry game like the Egg Bowl. Spoiling Mississippi State’s epic season would go a long way in salvaging this season for Ole Miss. The Rebels won’t qualify for the College Football Playoff and they’re likely on the outside of the New Year’s Six bowl berth as well, but finishing the year 9-3 with wins over Alabama and Mississippi State would still qualify this year as one of the best in school history. Ole Miss is excited by the opportunity to leave its struggles in the past and end the season on a high note, and it’ll play with great confidence at home on Saturday as a result.