The Ole Miss Rebels will be back in action in Oxford this Saturday. After getting stomped by the Alabama Crimson Tide (read: Flying Death Machine) the Rebs welcome the Kent State Golden Flashes to The Grove. The Rebs seek a 3-1 record at the quarter-point of the season before they get back to conference action next week against the vaunted LSU Tigers.
The Rebels are certainly hoping that their defensive efforts are shored up. In their first three games, they have given up, on average, 43.3 points per game. Among the 130 FBS teams, that mark lands them 125th. They are allowing 338.7 yards through the air and 201.7 yards on the ground per game, totaling up a mark of 540.3 yards per game and 6.2 yards per play. Those numbers are, for lack of a better term, grim.
Luckily (?) Kent State’s offense isn’t much of a juggernaut. They’ve averaged 395.3 yards per game, 202 through the air and 193.3 on the ground. Their PPG of 29.3 puts them 79th out of 130, which hashes out to just below average in that category.
Woody Barrett is a definite dual-threat that they’ll have to account for, though. He’s completed 57.5 percent of his passes so far with four TDs and three INTs. Running the ball, he’s got 117 yards (third-most on the team) and two rushing touchdowns (second-most). It’s yet to be seen if he’ll have a ‘career day’ against the Rebel defense, but they should still take stock in what he brings to the table.
Justin Rankin is the team’s leading rusher, with 199 yards on the ground on a 6.6 YPC clip. Meanwhile, Mike Carrigan and Antwan Dixon both have over 100 receiving yards so far this season. They will be the key targets on offense for Barrett, so we’ll see how Ole Miss defends them.
Defending Ole Miss has been a problem for many teams, save for Alabama. Kent State’s defense also ranks below the 100 mark. They rank 111th in scoring defense (36 PPG) and allow 247 yards in the air and 215.3 on the ground. That’s gotta make Scottie Phillips salivate, as he’ll have a chance to cut through the Golden Flashes defense. The Nasty Wide Outs are likely looking to spring back to prominence after being held down a week ago. Chances are, D.K. Metcalf and A.J. Brown among others will get their due this week. Jordan Ta’amu should be able to bounce back, as well.
All told, this should be a victory for Ole Miss. But much like there others, it could be a tough one to claim thanks to their defense. They won’t be facing a powerhouse this week, so we’ll see if they can hold down the fort.
Time: Noon ET/11 a.m. CT
TV: SEC Network
Commentators: Dave Neal, D.J. Shockley, Dawn Davenport