As both teams descend upon New Orleans for the 2016 Allstate Sugar Bowl this weekend, local favorite Ole Miss (9-3) and Oklahoma State (10-2) are looking forward to taking in all the festivities that the Crescent City has to offer, as well as getting ready for their opponent. And for the 10th consecutive year, the Allstate Fan Fest is back and will serve as the backdrop for pre-game events and celebrations, including a performance from multi-platinum artist, Usher.
According to VegasInsider.com, the 16th ranked Cowboys are a seven-point favorite over the 12th ranked Rebels for the New Year’s Day contest that will begin at 8:30 p.m. (EST) at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Most are expecting a shoot out as both squads boast high octane offensive players, and the under/over for the contest is 68.5 points. In fact, the Rebels put up more point than the under/over line by themselves, as they shot out to victories over Tennessee-Martin (76-3) and Fresno State (73-21) in their first two games of the regular season.
Oklahoma State is no slouch offensively either, as the Cowboys averaged 41.2 points per game behind the two-headed quarterback monster of Mason Rudolph and J.W. Walsh. Parrish Alford of the Tupelo Daily Journal indicated on Dec. 27 that Ole Miss will prepare for equal doses of both Rudolph and Walsh, as the Rebels try to end the season as they began it.
“A two-quarterback system has been the MO for Oklahoma State football this year, but it’s been two quarterbacks with very defined roles, and now one of them, sophomore starter Mason Rudolph, could be limited by injury,” according to Alford. Rumor has it that Rudolph has a broken bone in his foot, which limited his effectiveness against Oklahoma, in a game that the Cowboys lost 58-23.
The Rebels also boast a powerful combination in quarterback Chad Kelly, nephew of Hall of Famer Jim Kelly, to wide receiver Laquon Treadwell (76 receptions, 8 TDs), and the team averaged 40.2 points per game this year offensively. It has been a while since the last time Ole Miss appeared in the Sugar Bowl, and of course it had a Manning at the helm when they came to New Orleans and conquered the Sugar Bowl. But not so fast, it was Archie, not Eli, who led the Rebels to a 27-22 win against the Arkansas Razorbacks in old Tulane Stadium.
Manning, the Rebels’ All-American signal caller, won game MVP honors after going 21 of 35 for 273 yards with that touchdown pass to Studdard. He also ran for 39 yards and another score,” wrote Davis Potter on Dec. 27 in the Oxford Eagle.
Allstate is kicking off the two-day fan fest event with its #UsherLiveAllstate, giving fans access to exclusive experiences featuring the R&B legend. Usher and college football fans can post to Twitter using #UsherLiveAllstate for the chance to receive a personalized video message from Usher ahead of the big game.
The #UsherLiveAllstate will culminate in the heart of the French Quarter at the Allstate Fan Fest, free and open to the public, featuring Usher live in concert on the evening of Wednesday, Dec. 30. The concert will be live streamed for fans at home and around the world on TIDAL’s global entertainment platform.
This year’s Allstate Fan Fest features football-themed activities, including an opportunity to kick a field goal into the iconic Allstate “Good Hands” Field Goal Net, as well as high-energy pep rallies featuring marching bands, mascots and cheerleaders from the Oklahoma State Cowboys and Ole Miss Rebels. In addition, the Allstate Combine will give fans an opportunity to participate in football-related drills leading up to the big game.
Highlights for this year’s Allstate Fan Fest include:
Wednesday, Dec. 30
Usher Concert – 6:15 p.m.
Thursday, Dec. 31
Oklahoma State Pep Rally – 1:30 p.m.
New Year’s Eve Parade – 3:30 p.m. – 5 p.m.
Ole Miss Pep Rally – 5:15 p.m.
The Allstate Fan Fest is free to the public and open from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 30, and 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 31. Fan Fest is located at Jackson Square in the Jax Brewery parking lot off Decatur Street.
Allstate will celebrate its tenth year as the title sponsor of the Allstate Sugar Bowl held in New Orleans at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on Jan. 1, 2016. The game will be broadcast on ESPN at 7:30 p.m. CST.