College Football

Allstate Sugar Bowl: Ole Miss vs Baylor

Jori Parys/WGNO ABC

The Allstate Sugar Bowl: Ole Miss vs Baylor will feature contrasting styles. The Big 12 champion Baylor Bears old school style of play will go up against Lane Kiffin’s high-powered offense. Here is what you need to know about this matchup prior to its kickoff.

Matchup: Allstate Sugar Bowl: Ole Miss vs Baylor

Game Time: January 1, 2022, at 8:45 Eastern Standard Time

Game Location: Caesars Superdome, New Orleans, Louisianna

Team Records: Ole Miss: 10-2 Baylor: 11-2

How to Watch: ESPN

Head to head preview

According to reports from both teams, unlike in most high-caliber bowl games, there are no current opt-outs on either side. This means that college football fans can expect two teams as close to fully equipped as it gets this time of year. Ole Miss and quarterback Matt Corral will look to light up the scoreboard with their explosive offense. While Matt Corral may get all the attention, Ole Miss is very balanced on offense. They rank 20th in passing yards per game, 9th in rushing yards per game, and 4th in scrimmage yards per game.

Rogelio V. Solis/Associated Press

Although the stereotypical Big 12 team may not value defense, Baylor certainly does. The star of this Baylor team is safety Jalen Pitre. Pitre is one of the main reasons why the Bears’ defense ranks 14th in the nation allowing only 19.2 points per game. Baylor will also get back quarterback Gerry Bohanon. Bohanon was the Bears’ starting quarterback until he injured his hamstring late in the season against Kansas State. Blake Shapen took over for Bohanon and did remarkably well, especially in the first half of the Big 12 Championship game. Shapen injured his shoulder late in the game though and is not expected to play against Ole Miss.

Ole Miss’ Key Players

Matt Corral: With 31 total touchdowns on the year, Corral finished 7th in the Heisman Trophy voting. Corral was also voted second team All-SEC behind Heisman winner Bryce Young. What makes Corral’s ability so unique is his ability to run the ball. Even in a system not necessarily designed for the quarterback to run the ball, Corral still averaged over 12 carries per game and had 11 rushing touchdowns on the year. If Ole Miss is able to defeat the Baylor Bears and their versatile defense, expect Corral’s dual-threat ability to play a huge role.

Joshua McCoy/Ole Miss Athletics

Sam Williams: Big names like Will Anderson from Alabama overshadowed the outstanding year Sam Williams had for Ole Miss. Williams had 12.5 sacks which was tied for 5th most nationally, and 4 forced fubles which was tied for 8th nationally. He also had 2 or more sacks in 3 games this year for the Rebels. Along with his success on the football field came his accolades. Williams was voted first team All-SEC and third team All-American by the Associated Press. While Sam Williams is listed as an edge defender, expect Williams to move

Dontario Drummond: While you could say that any of the 4 players for Ole Miss with 500+ yards rushing and 100+ carries on the year are key players, Corral’s favorite target Dontario Drummond deserves this nod. Drummond was the only Rebel with over 30 receptions on the year. With 67 catches for 924 yards and 8 touchdowns, the Rebels will look to use Drummond to spread out Baylor’s defense. An explosive play or two from Drummond could be what the Rebeles need to defeat the Bears.

Baylor’s Key Players

Jalen Pitre: One of the most dynamic players in the Big 12 this season, Jalen Pitre is like a magnet to the ball. Pitre was voted the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year in 2021. Even though numbers do not jump off the page, what makes Pitre so valuable is his ability to impact both the run and pass game. Unlike some defensive backs, Pitre welcomes contact, and is good at dishing it out as well. Against a dynamic offense like that of Ole Miss, Pitre’s high level of play will go a long way in dictating Baylor’s success.

Abram Smith: The converted linebacker, Abram Smith employs a tough, bruising style of running. Baylor fans will remember great running backs from the past decade like Schock Linwood and Lache Seastrunk because of how explosive they were. Smith may not be as explosive as the afore mentioned running backs, but along with a physical offensive line, he has worn down defenses all year long. With over 1,400 yards and 12 rushing touchdowns on the year, Baylor will try and use Smith to wear down Ole Miss’ defense.

Trestan Ebner: If Abram Smith is the physical element of the Bears’ rushing attack, Trestan Ebner is the dynamic element. Ebner may be one of the best backup running backs in college football. He reached 1,047 scrimmage yards, combining both his run ability and his ability to catch the ball out of the backfield. But this does not encapsolate all of Ebner’s abilities. Ebner was also named Big 12 Special Teams Player of the Year. In all, Ebner finished with 1,687 total yards and 9 total touchdowns, 5 of which came on special teams.

Prediction

The focus of this game could easily be placed on Matt Corral and the explosive offense of Ole Miss. What I believe this game will come down to is the line of scrimmage. Although both teams have had explosive plays this year, Ole Miss and Baylor are tough, run first teams. The team that controls time of possession and limits turnovers the most should win this game. While this game does have the potential to be high scoring, expect more of a back and forth war along the line of scrimmage. My final score prediction is Baylor: 30 Ole Miss: 27.

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Pingback: Clemson wins defensive battle vs Iowa State - Championship Sports Media

  2. Pingback: Matt Corral injured, Bears hold off Rebels - Championship Sports Media

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