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Five Pokes Who Must Step Up For A Sugar Bowl Win

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We're only days away but these guys really need to step up for a team win.

Rob Ferguson-USA TODAY Sports

Emmanuel Ogbah

This is an easy pick because of his presence on any defensive line usually meaning he's a key cog. But since the loss of Jimmy Bean, this defense has gotten worse against good teams. The thing is, Ole Miss is still a good team with a good quarter back. If Ogbah doesn't force Ole Miss quarterback Chad Kelly out of the pocket and to make some errant throws, then it could make for a long night for the rest of the Poke defense.

Kevin Peterson

There's no doubt in my mind the senior corner will be ready to play in his last game as a Cowboy. However, there is a doubt in my mind that he'll be able to catch up with LaQuon Treadwell all game. Treadwell is to Ole Miss what James Washington is to OSU. People have tried all year to stop them both but have rarely done it (both have identical stats). Peterson has kept the likes of Josh Doctson and Kevin White from doing their thing in his career, his biggest, and last, task is a guy who decided on Ole Miss over OSU back in the day.

James Washington

Washington, though a magnificent year, didn't have a 100-yard game until October. Sometimes that happens in spread offenses as the players all have to get into their timing and stride. Today, December, 28, marks a month since the Cowboys lost Bedlam. That means none of these guys have played a game since. Washington and whoever plays quarterback can't sit around and wait a month to get into stride this time. The Cowboys will need him the moment the ball is kicked off.

Offensive Line

Just because Robert Nkemdiche won't be playing, the Ole Miss defensive line will still make the OSU line look like a middle school. They'll need to protect the quarterback and force at least a little bit of a running game for the Pokes to have any hope. I know this is a unit and not a player, but at the same time, they're the biggest piece.

J.W. Walsh

No matter if he's the starter or the red zone specialist this week, he's going to need to be sharper than he's ever been in his last game in orange and black. Walsh hasn't ever had the arm needed to do what OSU wants to do with its offense and that won't change over night. However, when he plays he can't make mistakes, he can't take losses and he needs to move around the pocket.

If all of these players step up, OSU could win its first game against Ole Miss. If not, it could be 0-3 against these Rebels. See you in NOLA.