Mississippi State and Ole Miss enter AP top three with big wins

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You'll find an exceedingly rare sight in college football's most recent Associated Press polls: not one, but two Mississippi teams ranked in the top three teams in the nation.

Count them. Both Mississippi State and Ole Miss shocked the world with outrageous wins the week before, upsetting Texas A&M and Alabama, respectively. But this week, they added to those upsets with wins that back the talk of each team as title contenders this year.

If the reality of both school as title contenders does play out, expect a raucous finish when the two in-state schools and rivals face each other to end their seasons on Nov. 29.

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Bulldogs tame the Tigers

The wild day for Mississippi teams began when the No. 3 Bulldogs teed off against second-ranked Auburn, which has been a major contender ever since its national championship loss last year.

Despite their surprise win the week before, Mississippi State still was raring to go and raced ahead to a 21-0 lead in the first quarter. The Bulldogs forced two turnovers on Auburn's first two plays on offense, leading to the early advantage.

Not to say Mississippi State was perfect. Both teams finished with four turnovers.

But the 6-foot-2, 230-pound junior at quarterback, Dak Prescott, added another line to his Heisman resume by throwing for 246 yards and a touchdown, then running for 121 yards and two touchdowns for good measure.

It wasn't just about the quarterback here though for the Bulldogs, who are deep in the trenches after years of sound recruiting from head coach Dan Mullen. This squad, that used to get bullied by the heavy-weights of the Southeastern Conference, more than held its own against a stout Auburn front.

Mississippi State has already had the nation's most difficult schedule, facing three top-10 teams in three weeks — and beating each of them, wrapping up with Saturday's 38-23 win over Auburn.

Things don't get any easier though, with games against Kentucky, Arkansas, No. 7 Alabama and No. 3 Ole Miss left.

Rebels out-shoot Aggies

In a game that pitted two highly-touted offenses, defense surprisingly became the true name of the game.

Mississippi's defense scored two touchdowns off turnovers — one interception and one fumble — to put them up by a 35-20 final score.

That leaves the Rebels with two marquee wins in two weeks, with the week before's 23-17 tilt over the Crimson Tide.

Sure, they still have plenty more games to be tested in. After all, LSU, No. 6 Auburn, Arkansas and dreaded Mississippi State remain on the slate.

But the fact that both the Rebels and the Bulldogs could play to represent the SEC West to close off the season is simply shocking considering these programs' relative irrelevance in recent years.


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