By Parrish Alford
Mississippi State and Ole Miss both experienced the healing powers of the Sun Belt Conference over the weekend.
Licking their wounds from difficult SEC road losses, the Bulldogs and Rebels rolled past non-conference foes by a combined score of 97-20 as Ole Miss defeated New Mexico State 52-3 and MSU beat Troy 45-17.
Both teams are outside the SEC again this Saturday, but both should expect greater challenges.
MSU is home against Louisiana Tech and Ole Miss is at Memphis. Both games have 11 a.m., starts.
The Ruston, La., Bulldogs are 4-2 after a 34-31 win over Texas-San Antonio on Saturday.
Tech will challenge MSU with former Florida quarterback Jeff Driskell, who is averaging 292.2 passing yards a game and with running back Kenneth Dixon who is averaging 116.6 yards a game on the ground.
Against Troy, MSU scored on special teams, defense and with big plays from an offense that was mostly without quarterback Dak Prescott, limited by an illness.
While MSU and La. Tech have some history together, it’s nothing like the Ole Miss-Memphis series.
The No. 13 Rebels will face a neighborhood rival that ranks fourth in the country in scoring offense at 47.8 points a game.
Quarterback Paxton Lynch is averaging 307 passing yards with 10 touchdown passes.
Memphis (5-0) has had two weeks to prepare for the chance to knock off an SEC opponent with whom it shares the fertile recruiting grounds of its city.
Ole Miss won last year’s game 24-3 when the series resumed after a five-year break.