After a close call against underdog Vanderbilt last week, the third-ranked Ole Miss Rebels could be in for another nail-biter against No. 25 Florida on Saturday.
Ole Miss enters the game as a 7.5-point favorite, according to Bovada.com, but the Rebels were 24-point favorites against Vanderbilt and only won by 11.
Here are three reasons Florida could pull off the upset:
Vernon Hargreaves III
The top-rated NFL cornerback prospect, according to ESPN’s Todd McShay, will be matched up with Ole Miss star wide receiver Laquon Treadwell.
The two players have a history with one another, and they will add another chapter on Saturday. Treadwell is Ole Miss’ best deep threat and red-zone receiving target.
If Hargreaves can limit Treadwell’s productivity, Florida’s chances to pull off a victory will greatly increase.
One of the reasons Vanderbilt was able to keep the game close last week was its ability to force turnovers.
Ole Miss quarterback Chad Kelly had only thrown one interception prior to the team’s win over Vanderbilt, but the Commodores picked Kelly off twice.
The Gators have four interceptions and six forced fumbles this season. They will likely have to add to their turnover total to slow down the SEC’s highest scoring offense.
Florida converted multiple fourth downs in its victory over Tennessee, including a miraculous 4th-and-14 touchdown reception by wide receiver Antonio Callaway late in the fourth quarter for the game-winning score.
Florida will need some more timely plays to beat Ole Miss. The overall talent level seems to favor the Rebels, but Florida is a very fast team.
If Florida coach Jim McElwain can find ways to get his playmakers, like leading rusher Kelvin Taylor and Callaway, in mismatches then those players could come up with decisive plays once again…
With that said, Florida’s passing offense still has questions with redshirt freshman Will Grier set to make his fourth consecutive start at quarterback.
In each of the last three games he has completed less than 60 percent of his passes. Grier has also thrown three interceptions and been sacked seven times.
Expect Ole Miss to load the box and force Grier to beat them in the passing game. Ole Miss defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche and the Rebels should be able to win the battle at the line of scrimmage and disrupt Florida’s offense.
The Gators will need their defense to keep the Rebels from putting up a lot of points to have a chance to win.
Ole Miss should come into the game with a higher level of intensity after last week’s subpar performance against the Commodores. But if they don’t, the Gators could pull off another surprise victory.
— SEC Country (@seccountry) October 1, 2015