As Ole Miss and Mississippi State take the gridiron for the annual Egg Bowl matchup in Starkville Thursday. Coach Matt Luke met with members of the media Monday to talk about the game.
“It’s a big game for us with our program on national TV,” Luke said. “It’s a showcase game for the entire state of Mississippi and we are excited about the opportunity.”
As the Rebels took the practice field on Sunday with Scottie Phillips, Ben Brown, Benito Jones – who cleared concussion protocol recently, it appeared Jonathan Hanes might just make it to the field Thursday despite his recent ankle injury.
“(Hanes) was a little bit gimpy on his ankle (Sunday), but as we get closer to Thursday night, I think he will be good to go,” Luke said.
Mississippi State’s defense has been good this season making it difficult for teams to get the running game going, according to Luke.
“They are very athletic and they do a good job of movement to create negative plays,” Luke said. “With a very good pressure system (the Bulldogs) ability to blitz and get in the backfield is what you see on tape from them.”
“Their linebackers are as big as we have played all year,” offensive coordinator Rich Rodriguez said. “Upfront they are aggressive.”
This season, the Rebels defense has faced some talented backs in the conference. Mississippi State has the leading running back in Kylin Hill. Hill has rushed for 1215 yards on 208 touches with 10 touchdowns.
“(Hill) is a very good player as he makes people miss and breaking tackles with yards after contact,” Luke said.
“(Mississippi State) is a very physical team and they run the ball well,” defensive coordinator Mike MacIntyre said. “The offensive line is huge and they do a good job – along with the receivers, they have been able to make plays.”
“We are excited about the opportunity and obviously it’s a huge game for a lot of different reasons,” Luke said. “Always excited about the Egg Bowl.”
Ole Miss and Mississippi State will tee the ball up on Thanksgiving at 6:30 p.m. on ESPN.