Editor’s note: Counting down to the start of Alabama football fall practice, SEC Country is taking a look at the Crimson Tide’s 2017 opponents.
Alabama vs. Ole Miss
- When: Saturday, Sept. 30
- Kickoff time: TBA
- Where: Bryant-Denny Stadium, Tuscaloosa, Ala.
- TV: TBA
- Last meeting: Alabama defeated Ole Miss 48-43 on Sept. 17, 2016
Ole Miss at a glance
- Coach: Matt Luke (interim)
- 2016 record: 5-7, 2-6 SEC
Ole Miss players to watch
Shea Patterson | QB
In his collegiate debut, Patterson led the Rebels to an upset road win over No. 8 Texas A&M, directing a second-half comeback for the 29-28 victory. In three contests, he averaged 293.3 passing yards and 56.3 rushing yards per game and totaled 6 touchdowns with 3 interceptions.
Marquis Haynes | DE
Haynes ranks third in school history with 24.5 career sacks and fourth with 36.5 tackles for loss entering his senior year. Haynes has led the Rebels in sacks all three years (7.5 in 2014, 10 in 2015, 7 in 2016), while earning All-SEC honors twice (2015, 2016).
Greg Little | LT
Little played in every game, while making five starts at left tackle. Throughout the 2016 campaign, he helped protect the Ole Miss quarterbacks that led the SEC and ranked 13th nationally in passing as a unit (314.9 ypg). The strong season earned him freshmen All-America honors by Rivals.com, and the coaches voted him first team Freshman All-SEC as well. Entering the fall, Little is expected to be the Rebels’ starting left tackle.
This game lost some of its appeal with Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze stepping down in July. Freeze did something no other SEC coach has been able to do since 2014: beat Alabama. Including SEC Championship games, Alabama has won 25 of 27 league contests with the only losses coming against the Rebels.
With Freeze out, only two active SEC coaches have wins over Nick Saban and Alabama — Auburn’s Gus Malzahn (2013) and Texas A&M’s Kevin Sumlin (2012).
It’s hard to know what to make of this game since Ole Miss is in turmoil. The Rebels have talent, but it’s hard envisioning a scenario where they are able to beat Alabama in Tuscaloosa without Freeze calling the shots.
During the last two years, Alabama football has faced Ole Miss in the season’s third week.
This year, Alabama gets the Rebels at home in Week 5 on Sept. 30. That means Alabama will have more time to get things figured out between the opener and the date with Ole Miss.
Alabama’s three games between Florida State and Ole Miss are Fresno State (Sept. 9) and Colorado State (Sept. 16) at home, and at Vanderbilt (Sept. 23). Those can all be checked as wins.
Alabama will be breaking in new players on defense. So the three-week stretch between the opener and Ole Miss will give Alabama time to see who will be contributors this season.
Alabama 31, Ole Miss 10