The very movable object goes up against the easily stoppable force when Ole Miss Rebels (1-4) brings the SEC’s worst defense to Vanderbilt Stadium to face off with the Vanderbilt Commodores (0-3) and their basement dwelling offense. Your opinion on how this game will go pretty much comes down to whether you trust the Ole Miss defense to get some stops or the Vanderbilt offense to score the 30ish points it is likely going to need to win.
When the team’s better units take the field, it will be all eyes on Matt Corral to see if he can get back to his early season form. After throwing for over 1,000 yards with a 9/1 TD/INT ratio in the Rebels’ first three games, Corral has totaled less than 400 with a 3/8 ratio in their contests against Arkansas and Auburn. This should be a telling game as to whether the Ole Miss offense has been “figured out” like their in-state neighbors or it was just a few rough games. It will help that Corral can still depend on the SEC’s leading receiver Elijah Moore, and two of the best backs in the league in Jerrion Ealy and Snoop Conner.
That will play well against a Vanderbilt defensive front that has been worn down on and off the field so far this year and gives up 211 yards per game on the ground and is last in the SEC giving up 6.5 yards per carry. It should help Vanderbilt that Dashaun Jenkins and Donovan Kaufman are back at their starting safety spots after missing Vandy’s last game vs. South Carolina. They will provided much needed help in dealing with the Ole Miss rushing attack as well as being likely candidates to match-up with stud TE Kenny Yeboah in the pass game.
Even though I’m not sure it’s super likely, if Corral struggles early on, I’ll be curious to see if John Rhys Plumlee will be a given a full series or two to run the offense instead of the mostly designed runs that have been called for him so far this year. Corral has the higher ceiling of the two but we saw last year that Plumlee is fully capable of running a successful offense. It also wouldn’t hurt to get him some more in game reps in case of an injury to Corral.
If the Vanderbilt defense has problems, then I’m really not sure how to describe the Ole Miss defense. The Rebels allow 300 yards through the game through the air to go along with 257 yards on the ground. That is a lot! Granted, they have played some very good offenses, including Alabama and Florida, but they’ve also given up boatloads of yards to Kentucky, Arkansas, and Auburn, who aren’t exactly bastions of offensive excellence. Vanderbilt is going to feel the pressure to look good offensively this week because, if not now, when?
Freshman quarterback Ken Seals is getting a trial by fire with a SEC-only schedule but this week will provide an opportunity for him to gain some confidence and keep building his connection with receivers Cam Johnson, Ben Bresnahan, and Amir Abdur-Rahman. Vandy will be without leading rusher Ja’Veon Marlow but Keyon Henry-Brooks and Jamauri Wakefield are a solid duo that should be able make some hay against a porous rush defense.
The Dores should top their season-high point total of 12 but it is hard to see them slowing down Corral, Ealy, Moore, Yeboah, and all of the other Ole Miss playmakers enough to keep their offense close for 60 minutes. While the two teams weaknesses might cancel each other out, when it is strength on strength I think the advantage goes to Lane Kiffin’s offense.
How to Watch
Time: 4 p.m. ET/3 p.m. CT
TV: SEC Network
Watch Online: WatchESPN
Spread: Ole Miss -16.5
Moneyline: Ole Miss -850 | Vanderbilt +540