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Music City Bowl: Can Ole Miss shake off its Egg Bowl loss and gear up for Georgia Tech’s triple option?

Sam Cooper
Dr. Saturday

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Bo Wallace (USA Today Sports)

Music City Bowl
Ole Miss vs. Georgia Tech
Dec. 30, 2013
Nashville, Tenn.

Ole Miss and Georgia Tech, two teams whose seasons transpired in extremely similar ways, will square off in Monday’s Music City Bowl in Nashville. In fact, the results of the first nine games for each team were exactly the same. The year started off with three straight wins. Then came three straight losses. Then came three more wins.

On top of that, each team ended its season with heartbreaking overtime losses to in-state rivals to end the year with identical 7-5 records. Georgia Tech blew a 20-point lead against Georgia but allowed the Bulldogs, sans Aaron Murray, come back to win the game in double-overtime, 41-34. Ole Miss lost to Mississippi State 17-10 in the Egg Bowl when quarterback Bo Wallace fumbled the ball in the end zone in overtime.

Despite averaging over 30 points per game overall, the Ole Miss offense could muster only 10 points in each of its last two games. The Rebels will be hoping to regain its midseason form. Wallace finished second in the SEC with 3,090 passing yards but threw only 17 touchdowns. Wallace’s top targets include SEC freshman of the year Laquon Treadwell (67 catches, 557 yards, 5 TDs) junior Donte Moncrief (53 catches, 825 yards, 5 TDs) and senior Ja-Mes Logan (44 catches, 583 yards, 3 TDs).

On the other side, Ole Miss’ defense faces a challenge in containing Georgia Tech’s triple option offense that averaged 311.7 rushing yards per game. Sophomore Vad Lee runs the show at quarterback for the Yellow Jackets with running backs David Sims, Robert Godhigh and Zach Laskey receiving the majority of the carries. Sims leads the team with 11 rushing touchdowns while the 5-foot-7 Godhigh averages 10.1 yards per carry. Laskey added seven scores.

As is the case when facing any option team, how the Ole Miss rush defense fares against the option will ultimately be the key.

MASCOT FIGHT

Since old Colonel Reb was replaced by Rebel Black Bear at Ole Miss in 2003, that gives this mascot fight a whole new dimension. A yellow jacket could give anyone some trouble, but unless we’re talking about a swarm of yellow jackets, the edge has to go to the Black Bear.

PREDICTIONS

Graham: Georgia Tech 31, Ole Miss 20. Ole Miss comes limping into this game after losing its final two contests against Missouri and Mississippi State. Georgia Tech's option offense will give the Rebels trouble and the prospect of beating an SEC team will inspire the Yellow Jackets to victory.

Nick: Ole Miss 30, Georgia Tech 24. The bowl game in which Alabama is Switzerland. Has Alabama ever been compared to Switzerland before? If it's possible, both of these teams are a "good" 7-5, as Ole Miss's worse loss is at Mississippi State in the Egg Bowl and Georgia Tech's is to an injury-addled Georgia or Virginia Tech. We'll go SEC, simply based on conference superiority.

Sam: Ole Miss 31, Georgia Tech 27. Ole Miss showed so much promise in wins over LSU and Texas and narrow defeats to Auburn and Texas A&M. Despite the late season struggles, they're more battle-tested than the Yellow Jackets. Georgia Tech will move the ball, but with a few extra weeks to prepare for the triple option, Ole Miss will do just enough defensively.

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