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Ole Miss closes season with Mississippi State Thursday
By: Freddy Wander - StatFox
Published: 11/28/2013  at  5:02:00 AM
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Kickoff: Thursday, 7:30 p.m. ET
Line: Ole Miss -3, Total: 52

Ole Miss visits its cross-state rivals Thursday in an attempt to go .500 in the tough SEC, while Mississippi State aims for bowl eligibility in its season finale.

After losing three of their first four games in the SEC, the Rebels pulled out a three-game conference winning streak, which included a 27-24 win over then-No. 6 LSU. They most recently lost to Missouri at home, 24-10. The Bulldogs have struggled in the SEC, but with a win can still become bowl eligible. They won their most recent game, a 24-17 overtime game at Arkansas last week. The Bulldogs are 4-3 SU (3-4 ATS) at home this season while the Rebels are 2-2 (both SU and ATS) on the road, and are 5-13 SU over their past 18 road games. When these two programs met last season, Ole Miss won 41-24 at home despite being a 1-point underdog. The Rebels outgained Mississippi State on the ground 233 to 30 in that contest. Since 1992, these teams have played nearly even, with the Bulldogs having an 11-10 SU record, but Ole Miss holding the 10-9 ATS edge. QB Drake Prescott has missed each of the past two games and is questionable for Thursday. He is Mississippi Stateís leading rusher with 722 yards (6.5 YPC) on the season.

Is Mississippi State going to make itself bowl eligible, or will Ole Miss spoil the Bulldogsí season? For the answer, connect to College Football Best Bets for all the StatFox Experts picks throughout the 2013 regular season and bowl season. The four experts are a combined 52% ATS (109-101-7) in college football Best Bets for the season, led by StatFox Dave who is 59% ATS (33-23-2) in Best Bets this season, including 69% ATS (20-9-1) during a run of eight straight weeks of .500 or better. StatFox Brian is 54% ATS (30-26-1) in college football Best Bets this year.

The Rebels have put up impressive numbers this season through the air, averaging 293.3 passing YPG (23rd in the nation) and has been led by QB Bo Wallace in this category. Wallace has 2,908 passing yards this year with 17 TD and 6 INT. This includes throwing for 300+ yards in four of seven SEC games. He is coming off a game where he was 26-for-42 for 244 yards but had 0 TD and 1 INT in a 24-10 loss to Missouri. Ole Miss has five different players that have 50+ rushing attempts on the season, with HB IíTavius Mathers leading the way with 495 rushing yards (6.6 YPC) and HB Jaylen Walton leading the team in rushing touchdowns with six. The receivers also seem to spread the wealth around, with three different players having 40+ receptions on the year. WR Donte Moncrief is a top prospect for next yearís draft and leads the team with 801 receiving yards (16.0 avg.) and has five receiving touchdowns. LB Mike Marry (43 tackles) and the Rebels defense has allowed 24.9 PPG to their opponents this season, and have done even better over the past five games, allowing only 21.4 PPG.

Mississippi State has been a mediocre team this season and has not been too spectacular in any area. QB Dak Prescott (1,542 passing yards, 7 TD, 7 INT) has also served as the teamís main runner (722 yards, 10 TD) but is questionable for this game. He has run for 100+ yards four different times this season. If he is not able to go, either QB Tyler Russell (875 passing yards, 5 TD, 3 INT) or QB Damian Williams (186 passing yards, 0 TD, 1 INT) will be under center. Russell is the primary backup, but left the last game late with a shoulder injury and is listed as questionable. Behind Prescott in the running department has been HB LaDarius Perkins who has 490 yards (4.4 YPC) and two touchdowns on the season. He has yet to have a 100-yard game on the ground. WR Jameon Lewis leads the team in receiving yards (635) and touchdowns (five). He had a solid game in the teamís win against Arkansas, catching six balls for 94 yards (15.7 avg.) including a touchdown. LB Deontae Skinner (53 tackles) has led a Mississippi State defense that has allowed 25.6 PPG.

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