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College Football
Preview
Mississippi at Mississippi State
When: 7:30 PM ET, Thursday, November 23, 2017
Where: Davis Wade Stadium, Starkville, Mississippi

Although Mississippi State's Nick Fitzgerald had already emerged as one of the best dual-threat quarterbacks in the country well prior to last season's Egg Bowl, his record-breaking rushing performance in that contest pretty much cemented that label. The dangerous junior signal-caller looks to maintain the 17th-ranked Bulldogs' recent dominance in their Thanksgiving Day rivalry game with Ole Miss when they host the Rebels.

Fitzgerald accounted for 367 total yards - including a school-record 258 yards on the ground - and five total touchdowns (two rushing) in last year's 55-20 thrashing of Ole Miss, allowing Mississippi State to avenge a defeat in 2015 and take home the Golden Egg Trophy for the fifth time in eight tries under coach Dan Mullen. The Bulldogs reached the eight-win mark for the fifth time under Mullen following last weekend's 28-21 thrilling victory at Arkansas, getting two touchdown passes from Fitzgerald over the final 3:57 to pull it out. Win or lose, the Rebels will be playing their final game of the season as a result of a self-imposed postseason ban, which came in February after the NCAA found the program committed multiple violations under former coach Hugh Freeze. Ole Miss guaranteed itself its second straight non-winning season after losing at home to Texas A&M 31-24 over the weekend.

TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN. LINE: Mississippi State -16

ABOUT OLE MISS (5-6, 2-5 SEC): A.J. Brown finished with seven catches for 70 yards and a touchdown against the Aggies; the 6-2, 225-pound sophomore wideout leads the conference in receptions (69), receiving yards (1,085) and receiving TDs (10). Senior running back Jordan Wilkins, who rushed for a season-high 147 yards on a career-high 19 carries last weekend and is averaging 108.2 yards on the ground over his last four outings, is 99 yards shy of becoming the Rebels' first 1,000-yard rusher since Dexter McCluster in 2009. Gary Wunderlich is on the verge of breaking multiple school records, needing one more field goal, two more points and one more successful point-after try to break Jonathan Nichols' career marks in each category.

ABOUT MISSISSIPPI STATE (8-3, 4-3): Fitzgerald extended his own SEC record for 100-yard rushing games by a quarterback to 14 after rushing for 101 against the Razorbacks and needs only 52 more yards to move past ex-Bulldog Dak Prescott (2,521) and into third place on the conference's all-time rushing list from a quarterback. Since totaling 73 yards on the ground in back-to-back losses to Georgia and Auburn at the end of September, Aeris Williams is averaging 89.2 yards rushing over his last six outings and needs 56 more to reach 1,000 for the season. Despite giving up two sacks versus Arkansas, the Bulldogs have allowed a league-low eight - tied for the fourth-best mark in the country.

EXTRA POINTS

1. Fitzgerald has six games with 100-plus yards both passing and rushing, leaving him only behind Louisville's Lamar Jackson (eight) for the most such games this season.

2. Brown is one TD catch and 68 yards receiving shy of tying Laquon Treadwell's single-season school records in both categories.

3. The Bulldogs are one of only three schools (Georgia Tech, South Florida) with a quarterback and running back averaging at least 85 yards rushing.

PREDICTION: Mississippi State 41, Ole Miss 24
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W‑L Strk PF PA Home Away Grass Turf Conf
Mississippi 5-6 L1 33.0 35.2 4-3 1-3 5-5 0-0 2-5
Mississippi State 8-3 W1 32.5 19.5 5-1 3-2 6-3 0-0 4-3
Last Meeting
Mississippi Mississippi State
Date Away Home Tot Rus Pas Tot Rus Pas
11/26/16 MSST 55 MISS 20 528 208 320 566 457 109
Player Stats
Previous Matchup
Passing Player COMP % YDS TD INT
Mississippi S. Patterson 56.2 320 2 2
Mississippi State N. Fitzgerald 47.1 109 3 0
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
Mississippi A. Judd 19 107 5.6 0
Mississippi State N. Fitzgerald 14 258 18.4 2
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
Mississippi D. Stringfellow 6 97 16.2 2
Mississippi State F. Ross 1 38 38.0 1
Touchdowns Player TD
Mississippi D. Stringfellow 2
Mississippi State N. Fitzgerald 2
Season
Passing Player COMP % YDS TD INT
Mississippi S. Patterson 63.8 2259 17 9
Mississippi State N. Fitzgerald 56.2 1770 15 10
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
Mississippi J. Wilkins 141 901 6.4 7
Mississippi State N. Fitzgerald 159 968 6.1 14
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
Mississippi A. Brown 69 1085 15.7 10
Mississippi State K. Mixon 18 275 15.3 1
Touchdowns Player TD
Mississippi A. Brown 10
Mississippi State N. Fitzgerald 14
Quickchart Matchup
Mississippi Mississippi Off vs  Mississippi State Mississippi State Def
Mississippi 472.3 yards
Mississippi State 297.2 yards
Mississippi 4.5 yards/rush
Mississippi State 3.8 yards/rush
Mississippi 9 yards/attempt
Mississippi State 7.1 yards/attempt
Mississippi State Mississippi State Off vs  Mississippi Mississippi Def
Mississippi State 412.5 yards
Mississippi 455.7 yards
Mississippi State 5.2 yards/rush
Mississippi 5.4 yards/rush
Mississippi State 6.1 yards/attempt
Mississippi 7.5 yards/attempt