Oklahoma State will face Ole Miss in the Allstate Sugar Bowl

Oklahoma State, 10-2, will face Ole Miss, 9-3, in the Allstate Sugar Bowl on Jan. 1, 2016 in New Orleans.

The Oklahoma State Cowboys are going to the Sugar Bowl as the runner-up in the Big 12, which was determined because Oklahoma State defeated TCU 49-29 in the head-to-head matchup that really started the series of showdown games in November in the Big 12 that determined the final standings.

When the BCS era moved on to the new College Football Playoff, the Big 12 and the Southeastern Conference made an agreement with the Sugar Bowl to send the top team in each conference or the top team not participating in the CFP to that bowl game. It is similar to the Rose Bowl which has a long tradition and now agreement of hosting the best teams in the Big 10 and the Pac-12 conferences.

Mississippi, the runner-up in the rugged SEC West Division, is the SEC team designated to play in New Orleans s a result of being the next highest ranked team in the CFP rankings, which is how the SEC decided to determine that bowl bid. 

Oklahoma State is actually ranked 16th in the CFP rankings, one spot ahead of Baylor, but behind TCU, which the committee ranked 11th. 

Since the Sugar Bowl was the host for a CFP semifinal game last season this is the first year for the Sugar Bowl to host the Big 12 and SEC match-up. The game will be Friday, Jan. 1, at 7:30 p.m. (Central time) in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. 
 
Oklahoma State will meet Ole Miss in football for just the third time, and all three have been in bowl games, the previous two in the Cotton Bowl. The first was in 2004 in the old Cotton Bowl in Fair Park when Eli Manning led the Rebels back late for a 31-28 win and the second was the first Cotton Bowl game in Jerry Jones' AT&T Cowboys Stadium and Ole Miss won that one 21-7 in a matchup between former Oklahoma State quarterbacks Mike Gundy and Houston Nutt, then the head coach of the Rebels.

This time a different bowl in a different city as Oklahoma State returns to the Sugar Bowl after a 69-year gap from Oklahoma A&M defeating St. Mary's 33-13 in front of 75,000 people in the 1946 Sugar Bowl. 

This Ole Miss team, coached by offensive dynamo Hugh Freeze, is 9-3 and had some tremendous highs like beating Alabama 43-37 in Tuscaloosa and beating LSU 38-17 in Oxford, while also losing to Memphis 37-24 and at home to Arkansas 53-52 in overtime.

The Rebels are explosive averaging 40.2 points and 514.8 yards a game and are quarterbacked by Chad Kelly, the cousin of former Buffalo Bills quarterback Jim Kelly.

Some of the top performers for Ole Miss include Kelly, who led East Mississippi Community College to the NJCAA national title in 2014. Kelly completed 65 percent of his passes this season for 3,740 yards and 27 touchdowns with 12 interceptions thrown. He also rushed for 427 yards and 10 touchdowns. 

Running back Jaylen Walton was the leading rusher with 690 yards on 134 carries with  5.1 yards per carry average and five touchdowns. The leading receiver was LaQuon Treadwell with 76 receptions for 1,082 yards and eight touchdowns. Quincy Adeboyejo was not far behind with 37 catches for 581 yards and seven touchdowns.

On defense, the Rebels were led by linebacker DeMarquis Gates with 71 total tackles, safety Trae Elston with 66 tackles and four interceptions. Well-known are the Nkemdiche brothers with older brother and linebacker Denzel with 53 tackles. 6.5 tackles for loss, and a half of a sack. Younger brother Robert is a defensive tackle with 29 tackles, 7.0 tackles for loss, and 3.0 sacks. 

A comparison of the Cowboys and the Rebels in basic offense and defense numbers looks like this:
                                    Oklahoma State                          Mississippi
Points                                  41.2                                            40.2
Points Allowed                    29.0                                             22.8
Total Offense                      489.5-ypg                                    514.8-ypg
Total Defense                     429.5-yapg                                  387.5-yapg
Rush Offense                     132.2-ypg                                    181.1-ypg
Rush Defense                    185.2-yapg                                  132.4-yapg
Pass Offense                     357.3-ypg                                    333.7-ypg
Pass Defense                    244.2-yapg                                  255.1-yapg
Turnover Margin                27 gained/14 lost                        22 gained/22 lost
Third Downs                      44% off/42% def                         41% off/39% def  

An early look at the prospective schedule of activities at the Sugar Bowl shows that the teams are scheduled to arrive in New Orleans on Saturday, Dec. 26, with a welcome event. Here is the way the schedule lays out according to the Sugar Bowl.

Saturday, Dec. 26 - Team Welcome  TBA

Sunday, Dec. 27 - Teams begin practices  TBA

Monday, Dec. 28 - Team Practices  TBA

Tuesday, Dec. 29 - Team Practices  TBA

Wednesday, Dec. 30 - Team Practices  TBA
                                 Sugar Bowl Fanfest  Jax Brewery French Quarter

Thursday, Dec. 31 - Team Practices  TBA
                              Head Coaches Press Conference  Marriott Convention Center
                              Sugar Bowl Fanfest  Jax Brewery French Quarter

Friday, Jan. 1 - Allstate Sugar Bowl
                       Mercedes-Benz Superdome 7:30 p.m.

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