Ole Miss has a much easier matchup against Vanderbilt this Saturday, but after last week’s victory in Tuscaloosa, it definitely resembles a bit of a trap game. The Rebels will have to avoid a letdown and move to 4-0.
Vanderbilt (1-2) at Ole Miss (3-0), Saturday 7 pm (ESPN U)
Weather: 74 degrees, partly cloudy
Line: Rebels are favored to win by 25 points
Numbers to know:
- Ole Miss beat Vanderbilt last season 41-3, which was the most lopsided margin of victory in this rivalry since 1993 when the Rebels beat the Commodores 49-7. Last season, Ole Miss outgained Vanderbilt 547-167.
- The Rebels lead the all-time series 49-38-2 and have won the last two meetings.
Vanderbilt sophomore wide receiver Trent Sherfield caught 16 passes for 240 yards and a touchdown against Austin Peavy last week. Sherfield did not catch a pass against Ole Miss last season.
- Ole Miss will be without two of its best players: offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil, is reportedly not playing this week, and has missed all three games this season due to an NCAA investigation.Tony Conner, who tore his meniscus last Saturday, will be out at least four weeks.
- Vanderbilt’s defense is 15th in the country in yards allowed per game (271) this season. Meanwhile, Ole Miss’ has the nation’s top scoring offense (64 ppg) and is No. 9 in yards per game (567).
Storylines to watch
- Will the Rebels avoid a letdown?: All week Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze has been preaching about how “dangerous” of an opponent Vanderbilt can be, and has warned his players about complacency. However, it would simply be human nature for the Rebels to take the Commodores a little bit lightly. Ole Miss following through on its coach’s promise will determine whether or not this matchup is competitive. The Rebels do have some experience in this department. A week after beating Alabama last season, Ole Miss defeated No. 14 Texas A&M by 15 points.
- Vanderbilt’s star sophomore wide out: In order for Vanderbilt to have a chance in this game, the Commodores will have to open things up on offense and Sherfield is going to have to take over the game. He is a big play machine, averaging 16.5 yards per catch this year. Two weeks ago, Georgia was able to hold Sherfield to just one catch, but it did go for 44 yards. Sherfield will have to make those kinds of plays often in this one for Vanderbilt to pull off the upset.
- Ole Miss defensive line vs. Vanderbilt offensive line: The right side of the Vanderbilt offensive line is inexperienced, and Georgia took advantage of it two weeks ago. Look for Ole Miss to try and do the same by stacking the box and matching up senior outside linebacker Denzel Nkemdiche with freshman right tackle Justin Skule.
My prediction: Ole Miss 40, Vanderbilt 24