The 7-5 Ole Miss Rebels are going bowling on Monday afternoon when they take on the similarly 7-5 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. This will be the fourth time ever that these two teams will meet and Georgia Tech owns the series record 2-1. How can the Rebels pull off a victory? You could boil it down to two factors.
It goes without saying that the option attack for the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets should be one of the primary concerns for the Ole Miss defense. On the season, the Yellow Jackets are rushing for 311.7 yards per game. This mark is fourth best in the nation, trailing only Auburn, Navy, and Ohio St. For the Rebels, this could present a bit of a matchup problem. This is due in large part to the fact that the Rebels defense is giving up 155.2 rushing yards per gam. Some good news for the Reels could be that they gave up just 99 yards to the Mississippi State Bulldogs in their final matchup of the season. The Bulldogs were rushing for 185.8 yards per game prior, so while it's not nearly in the ballpark that the Yellow Jackets are in, it could give them a more calm demeanor going into this contest. Expect the Rebels to stack the box a lot with eight or nine men to thwart out as many chances at long runs as possible.
Okay, pun aside, Laquon Treadwell is Ole Miss' impact player on offense. The freshman wide receiver from Crete, Ill. led the Rebels in receptions with 67 and was tied for receiving touchdowns with five. Those five touchdowns were tied with Donte Moncrief, who was the leader in receiving yards as well. But Treadwell's development continued as the season progressed as he became one of quarterback Bo Wallace's favorite targets, if not his most desired. He will certainly have his hands full however in this game. Georgia Tech cornerback Jemea Thomas will most likely find himself matched up against Treadwell, and Thomas has proven to be a very good cornerback this season. He had 10 passes defended and came away with 73 total tackles in the 2013 season. How Treadwell does against Thomas as well as the entire Georgia Tech secondary could prove to be the biggest difference maker of all on the offensive side of the ball.
In any event, there is a lot to be excited about for this game as bowl season rolls on. While these two factors will not necessarily impact the entirety of the game, they certainly will weigh heavily in the final result.