We're passionate about the NFL Draft
By Dwayne Wilton
Last week was rivalry week in college football. While there were many good games, only one outcome affected the top four ranking this week. That game was the Egg Bowl, which is played between Mississippi State and Ole Miss. Both teams have had good years and have spent time at the top overall spot, but only 4th ranked Mississippi State came into this game in the top four.
Ole Miss came into the game crippled. They lost their top receiver Laquon Treadwell three weeks prior against Auburn. Quarterback Bo Wallace was playing on an injured ankle and their offensive line was shuffled due to injuries. Despite all of this, the Rebels had their best game of the season. Tight End Evan Engram in particular stepped up his game. Late in the 1st quarter Wallace connected with Engram for 46 yards to give the Rebels the ball at the Bulldog 1 yard line. Bo Wallace, bad ankle and all, ran it in from 1 yard out to give his team a 7-0 lead. On the second play of the 2nd quarter, Mississippi State cut the lead to 7-3 by kicking a 45 yard field goal. Neither team did anything offensively for the rest of the half, so the score stayed the same going into the 2nd half.
On their second possession of the 2nd half, Mississippi State took a 10-7 lead on a 1 yard run by quarterback Dak Prescott. Ole Miss, however, struck back quickly. Wallace connected with Engram for an 83 yard gain, which put them on the Bulldog 1 yard line. The Rebels then lined up 296 pound tight end Jeremy Liggins as the wildcat QB and he ran it in to put Ole Miss back on top 14-10. The Rebels Land Shark defense forced a Mississippi State punt and Ole Miss was able to tack on a 39 yard field goal to extend their lead to 17-10. After forcing another Bulldog punt, the Rebels broke the game wide open. Running back Jaylen Walton took a handoff to the right, reversed his field, and broke clear for a 91 yard touchdown run. The score put Ole Miss up 24-10 going into the final quarter.
On their first possession of the 4th quarter, Prescott hit receiver De’Runnya Wilson for a 32 yard score to again cut the margin to only 7 points. After trading punts, Ole Miss freshman running back Jordan Wilkins had back to back big plays to put Ole Miss back ahead by 14 points. On 1st and 10 from their own 28 yard line, Wilkins broke free down the left sideline for 41 yards to put the ball at the Bulldog 31 yard line. On the next play, he took a pitch to the right then threw a perfect strike to receiver Cody Core to extend the Ole Miss lead to 31-17. The Bulldogs had one last chance to make the game interesting, but their drive ended on the 4 yard line on a 4th down incomplete pass. The Rebels ran out the clock and scored the upset win.
The win by Ole Miss, moved them from 19th to 12th in this week’s ranking. They will not be able to play for the National Championship, but they will still get into a decent bowl game. Mississippi State fell out of the top four and went all the way down to 10th. They will also be out of the hunt for the championship, but will be an attractive bowl team.
Here are my notes on the draft eligible players that played in the game. I will start with the winning team.
Bo Wallace, QB, Sr (6-4, 217): You never know if you are going to get good Bo or bad Bo in a game, but in this game he was very good. Showed guts by playing on an injured ankle. Doesn’t have much of a running game to lean on, so he shoulders the entire load of the offense. Able to take over a game if he gets hot. Likes to attack downfield. Good ball handler. Only completed 13 of 30, but passed for 296 yards. He was picked off once but ran for a TD.
I’Tavius Mathers, RB, Jr (5-11, 190): Good 3rd down back. Has good hands and knows how to protect the passer. Had 1 carry for 0 yards and 1 catch for 8 yards.
Jaylen Walton, RB, Jr (5-8, 166): Small, darting runner. Good on sweeps and is dangerous in space. Elusive and slippery. Very quick feet. Has ability to juke defenders. Has the speed to reverse his field and hit the big play. Able to run from the wildcat. Led the team with 148 rushing yards and 1 TD. Had a highlight reel 91 yard TD run.
Vince Sanders, WR, Sr (6-1, 185): Great hands. Willing to go over the middle. Became the go to receiver after the Treadwell injury, but he injured his knee in the first half of this game. Had 2 catches for 49 yards and had a 30 yard catch.
Cody Core, WR, Jr (6-3, 196): Good size and gets good elevation on high balls. Nimble runner after the catch. Knows where the sticks are. Has the speed to get behind the defense. Had 3 catches for 50 yards and had a 31 yard TD catch.
Evan Engram, TE, So (6-3, 217): Listed as a tight end, but has the size and speed of a wide receiver. With Treadwell already out and Sanders injuring his knee, he really stepped up his game. Great athleticism. Great concentration. Runs very good routes. Able to line up tight or split outside. Has ability to elevate over defenders and catch the ball at its highest point. Breaks tackles after the catch. Led the team with 5 catches for 176 yards. Had catches of 46, 83 and 35 yards.
Justin Bell, G, Jr (6-2, 352): Massive guard that moves better than you think. Has the ability to pull to the outside and lead sweeps.
C.J. Johnson, DE, Sr (6-2, 225): Undersized lineman that makes plays because of his quickness. Versatile player that plays the run and pass well. Runs well and pursues well. Good spin move as part of his pass rush. Moves all over the line to take advantage of mismatches. Had 6 tackles, 1 ½ tackles for loss and 1 sack.
D.T. Shackleford, MLB, Sr (6-1, 247): Good size and speed. Athletic linebacker than makes plays sideline to sideline. Flows well to the ball. Leader of the defense. Had 7 tackles.
Senquez Golson, CB, Sr (5-9, 176): Plays tight man coverage. Able to take on blockers, fight through blocks and make the tackle. Had 6 tackles and 1 pass breakup.
Mike Hilton, CB, Jr (5-9, 182): Breaks quickly on the ball in the air. Tackles well in space. Plays special teams. Had 6 tackles.
Cody Prewitt, S, Sr (6-2, 217): Leader of the secondary and a key to the Rebels defense. Good tackler and is able to blitz the QB. Had 2 tackles.
Dak Prescott, QB, Jr (6-2, 235): Focal point of the offense. Does a very good job on QB power runs. Eludes the pass rush. Moves well in the pocket. Does a good job running the option. Shows good patience on running plays and is able to find creases in the defense. Has a nose for the end zone. Completed 22 of 37 for 282 yards and 1 TD. Was held to 48 rushing yards and 1 TD on 24 carries.
Josh Robinson, RB, Jr (5-9, 215): Short, powerful runner. Good leg drive. Slips tackles in space. Good vision. Good receiver out of the backfield. Was held to only 44 yards rushing on 12 carries and had 2 catches for 9 yards.
Jameon Lewis, WR, Sr (5-9, 183): Small and quick. Follows blockers well and does a good job on screens. Able to return kicks. Had a quiet day with only 4 catches for 36 yards.
Malcolm Johnson, TE, Sr (6-2, 231): Tight end in a receiver’s body. Moves all around. Good downfield blocker. Had 2 catches for 14 yards.
Ben Beckwith, C/G, Sr (6-3, 306): Has played both center and guard. Able to pull and trap block. Good cut blocker.
Justin Malone, G, Jr (6-7, 320): Great size. Good feet. Does a good job pulling. Has the ability to get to the second level and block linebackers.
Preston Smith, DE, Sr (6-6, 270): Good size and athleticism. Quick first step. Instinctive pass rusher. Had 3 tackles, 1 tackle for loss and 1 sack.
Benardrick McKinney, MLB, Jr (6-5, 249): Great size. Has the ability to meet ball carriers in the hole and stop them in their tracks. Knows how to get into passing lanes. Had 1 tackle, ½ tackle for loss and 1 pass breakup.
Jamerson Love, CB, Sr (5-10, 175): Does a good job mirroring the receiver. Shows good form separating the ball from the receiver. Had 1 tackle and 1 pass breakup.
Taveze Calhoun, S, Jr (6-1, 184): Smart player off and on the field. Does a good job playing the ball in the air. Good ball skills. Had 4 tackles, 2 pass breakups and an interception in the end zone.
Come back next Wednesday as I discuss another of the big games from this weekend. If you like what you read, like us on Facebook and tell your friends. See you next Wednesday!