In a season that signals a change for the Ole Miss Rebels football program, a visit to Tuscaloosa and playing against Alabama could be yet another benchmark on their road that leads to becoming one of the significant powers in the SEC West, even if their road game doesn’t end up being a victorious one.
Last season, Alabama beat Ole Miss 31-14 in what was their ninth consecutive win in the rivalry. However, the Crimson Tide, aside from their 49-42 win over Texas A&M, haven’t looked impressive this season, not getting too much offense done in their 31-6 win over Colorado State.
They ran for only 66 yards, its fewest on the ground since 2010, which accompanies having only 206 yards in the opening season win against Virginia Tech. There’s certainly plenty of defense to be happy with, but at some point, and now that the SEC competition is going to come at them every week, having a competent offense is a must if they’re to finish the season undefeated and head over to another BCS championship game.
Ole Miss is 3-0 for the first time since 1989, averaging 250 rushing yards per game, including Jeff Scott going for 330 yards so far this season. Their run defense has been equally impressive, holding opponents to 114.3 rushing yards per game, but Alabama haven’t gone two games straight under 100 rushing yards since the 2005 season.
The big question will be how good A.J. McCarron will be. Not just in terms of accuracy and keeping a steady pace of offense, hopefully keeping Ole Miss from getting any kind of offensive rhythm, but especially if he’ll be able to avoid a turnover or not. He did throw an interception against Colorado State, and those mistakes are more costly against quality opposition.
While Ole Miss are big underdogs going into this game as you’d expect, this might be the best opportunity for any team to beat Alabama this season, as the Rebels bring some sort of unknown quality to the table, and the kind of speed and defense that has given the Tide problems against Georgia and A&M last season.
Prediction – Alabama usually raise their game according to the opposition, but Ole Miss have the right blend to make this one a close one, and maybe even come out with the win.