Saturday's Egg Bowl will be the final one for Nutt, who two weeks ago was fired but allowed to finish the season. The Rebels (2-9, 0-7 SEC) have been outscored 79-10 in the two games since then - losses to Louisiana Tech and LSU.
"I think they're going to come out fired up and hot," said Lawrence, MSU's senior right tackle, "but if we jump on them, I think they'll kind of lay down. I feel like they're wanting to lay down in a way, because of the things that have been happening here recently."
The Bulldogs (5-6, 1-6) have won two consecutive Egg Bowls, and that certainly contributed to Nutt's demise. Of course, losing 13 straight SEC games doesn't help, either.
MSU coach Dan Mullen, who's in his third year in Starkville, wouldn't say what kind of role his Egg Bowl success might have played in Nutt's ouster, but he does understand the long-term impact of winning or losing this game.
"Rivalry games certainly do have an impact on your tenure as a coach, and I think it's important to win those rivalry games, and if you start losing too many of those, people notice," Mullen said. "No matter what you do the rest of the year, they remember this game."
Nutt has admitted that he didn't fully grasp how much the Egg Bowl meant to Mississippians until he lost to State in 2009, his second year on the job. Mullen, on the other hand, has been treating the game with distinction from the first day.
He's made sure his players understood that. Losing Saturday is not an option.
After last season's 31-23 win in Oxford, Mullen's postgame speech included a vow to never lose to Ole Miss.
"I truly believed it," junior linebacker Cam Lawrence said. "I've never lost to them in my career here, and I don't plan on it. ... You take it like it's the biggest game of the year, and right now it's the biggest game of the year for us."