Sugar Bowl Capsule
The Associated Press
Dec. 31, 2015
No. 13 Oklahoma State (10-2) vs. No. 16 Mississippi (9-3), Friday, 7:30 p.m. (ESPN)
Line: Ole Miss by 7½.
Series Record: Ole Miss leads 2-0.
WHAT'S AT STAKE
Ole Miss (No. 12 CFP) wants to prove that it's one of the better teams in the country following an up-and-down regular season full of impressive wins and head-scratching losses. The Rebels would also like to show that last year's embarrassing Peach Bowl trip — a 42-3 loss to TCU — was a fluke. Oklahoma State (No. 16 CFP) is trying to look more like the team that won 10 straight games to start the season than the one that lost its final two contests of the regular season to Baylor and Oklahoma.
Ole Miss LT Laremy Tunsil vs. Oklahoma State DE Emmanuel Ogbah. This should be an intriguing battle between players who have a chance to go in the first round of the NFL draft this spring. The 6-foot-5, 305-pound Tunsil has been terrific protecting QB Chad Kelly's blind side over the past five games since returning from a 7-game NCAA suspension. The 6-foot-4, 275-pound Ogbah is a disruptive player on the Cowboys' defensive line that is the NCAA's active career leader in sacks with 28.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Ole Miss: QB Chad Kelly has thrown for 3,740 yards, 27 touchdowns and 12 interceptions this season, generally improving as the year has progressed. He's also run for 427 yards and 10 touchdowns.
Oklahoma State: WR James Washington is the Cowboys' major deep threat. He's caught 52 passes for 1,077 yards and 10 touchdowns and averages nearly 21 yards per catch.
FACTS & FIGURES
Ole Miss hasn't been to the Sugar Bowl since 1970. Oklahoma State returns for the first time since the 1946. ... Ole Miss' Kelly leads the SEC with 311.7 passing yards per game and 347.3 yards of total offense per game. ... The Rebels will be playing without star DT Robert Nkemdiche, who was suspended for the Sugar Bowl after falling out a hotel window in Atlanta earlier this month and being charged with possession of marijuana. ... Oklahoma State is playing in a bowl for a 10th consecutive season. ... Oklahoma State will likely use two quarterbacks in the Sugar Bowl — Mason Rudolph has thrown for 3,591 yards and 21 touchdowns while J.W. Walsh has thrown for 663 yards and 13 touchdowns.
AP College Football website: collegefootball.ap.org