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Sports Zone CFB Preview: Egg Bowl

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JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) — We’re less than 48 hours away from the 92nd battle for the Golden Egg. And, it’s a conquest for bowl eligibility for both programs.

In Oxford, the Rebels need a win over Mississippi State in the Egg Bowl to at least be considered for a bowl game through APR. And, with that the Rebs will play spoiler to State’s chances of going bowling

One thing in the Bulldogs favor, they will have all of their suspended players back. Here’s Matt Luke on what to expect with the players return and how to control his players’ emotions in this game:

“We have the luxury of having every game that they’ve played, so they have all played at one time or another,” Luke said. “You’re prepared and ready to go no matter what happens. They’re going to play all their guys, we’re going to play all of ours, and we’ll be ready for whatever combination they throw at us.”

“This is a very emotional and passionate game, and it should be, like all rivalry games should be with two passionate fan bases. It’s a great college football game, but at the end of the day, you still have to go out there and play football. You have to play football between the whistles and take care of your business and go play really hard. All the other stuff is not going to affect the outcome of the game.”

To Starkville, the Bulldogs are finally clicking in the pass game, they have the league’s leading rusher in Kylin Hill, and home field advantage on Thanksgiving Day.

ESPN’s ‘Football Power Index’ has the Bulldogs with a 65 percent change of winning Thursday night.

But, the Rebels are pretty run heavy and from a defensive standpoint head coach Joe Moorhead said he worries about possibly overlooking their passing game.

“I think that’s what Coach [Rich] Rodriguez does very well,” Moorhead said. “There are some 10-personnel looks, some 11-personnel looks, getting into some of that two-back, one-tight end stuff and really create conflict. When you’re that concerned with stopping the run and needing to get people to the box, by secondary support or pressure, it creates some one-on-one match ups. Certainly, they’ve played John Rhys [Plumlee] and [Matt] Corral. Elijah Moore has 815 yards receiving. A couple guys have chipped in along the way, but I think like anything, when your commit numbers in the box, it’s a give and take. You’re going to have some guys playing single coverage on the back end. I think you’ve got to do two things; you’ve got to mix up the looks and get numbers and set edges, but at the same time, you’ve have to be cognizant and aware of the ability to throw the ball down the field.”

These two teams will face off Thursday at 6:30 p.m.

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