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Mississippi State football vs. Ole Miss: Time, TV schedule, game preview, score

Bulldogs battle Rebels

Mark McLaurin #41 of the Mississippi State Bulldogs returns the second of his three interceptions in the game in the fourth quarter of the TaxSlayer Bowl against the Louisville Cardinals at EverBank Field on December 30, 2017 in Jacksonville, Florida. The Bulldogs won 31-27. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

STARKVILLE, Miss. – State bragging rights aside, Mississippi State has added motivation entering its regular-season finale against its bitter rival on Thanksgiving night. The Bulldogs have made a bowl appearance in a school-record nine consecutive seasons and look to extend that streak when they host Ole Miss in this year's edition of the Egg Bowl.

TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN. LINE: Mississippi State -2.5

Mississippi State had dropped five of six before routing overmatched FCS foe Abilene Christian 45-7 last weekend and there is speculation about coach Joe Moorhead's status if the bowl streak ends Thursday. "We have to do two things: make sure we play well and keep the Egg here in Starkville," Moorhead said. "If we do that, then we will extend the season and get to play in a bowl game." The Rebels lost four of five following a 58-37 drubbing by top-ranked LSU but have had two weeks to prepare to avenge last year's brawl-marred, 35-3 defeat at home -- the fourth straight season that the away team has prevailed. "I think this game stands alone and you can't worry about what happened last year," Ole Miss coach Matt Luke said. "These are two brand new teams, different set of circumstances, but I think you really don't need any extra motivation when it comes to this game."

ABOUT OLE MISS (4-7, 2-5 SEC)

The Rebels’ hopes rest on the arm and, mostly, the legs of freshman quarterback John Rhys Plumlee, who already has rushed for 989 yards and 11 scores and gouged LSU for a season-high 212 yards and four rushing touchdowns. Classmate Jerrion Ealy also set a season high with 141 yards rushing on only 13 carries versus the Tigers while Elijah Moore is the top target in the passing game with 64 receptions for 815 yards and five touchdowns for an offense that ranks third in the conference in total yards at 450.8 per game. Ole Miss has been fairly stout against the run, ranking 34th nationally with an average of 132.0 yards allowed.

ABOUT MISSISSIPPI STATE (5-6, 2-5)

The Bulldogs rolled up 309 yards on the ground in last season’s victory, including 108 by junior running back Kylin Hill, the SEC’s leader rusher who has run for 10 touchdowns and needs 176 yards to match the school’s single-season record. Quarterback Tommy Stevens has thrown for fewer yards (934) than backup Garrett Shrader (1,062) and must avoid another slow start -- Mississippi State has scored a combined 13 points in the first quarter of its six losses. The defense could receive a major boost with the expected return of starters Willie Gay, Lee Autry and Marcus Murphy, who have each missed multiple games due to academic violations.

EXTRA POINTS

1. Mississippi State is 3-0 since 2011 when needing a victory in the Egg Bowl to become bowl eligible.

2. Freshmen are responsible for 88.1 percent of Ole Miss' offense, the highest number in the nation.

3. The Bulldogs are 8-2 when Hill rushes for at least 100 yards.

PREDICTION: Mississippi State 27, Ole Miss 23