FOOTBALL: Predictions Anyone?

The first three games for Ole Miss have been a success, yes, even the loss at Wake Forest, even though it was gut-wrenching in the way the deal was done.

The Samford game was fairly lackluster, but that’s not uncommon for I-AA foes.

The rubber meets the road this week. The Rebels have looked like an improved football team. Hopefully that will show up now, against Vanderbilt, also a very improved team.

The Commodores have won two of the last three in the series, and had they not turned the ball over six times while they outgained the Rebels more than 2-1, they’d have won handily in Oxford in 2006.

Vanderbilt isn’t likely to turn the ball over six times Saturday night. They are plus-5 in turnover margin, second in the SEC. Six of those take-aways have been interceptions, and throwing the ball to the other jersey was a problem for Ole Miss quarterback Jevan Snead last week. If this was one of the recent Ole Miss quarterbacks, I’d expect that trend to continue, but I do not. I think Snead and offensive coordinator Kent Austin quickly identified mistakes, and Austin said Snead was throwing the ball better in practice this week.

The Rebels have lost only one fumble this year, though they’ve laid it on the carpet five times compared to one for their opponent.

Vanderbilt also leads the SEC with 10 sacks, so Snead will have to be on top of his game not only with ball-protection but with escapability. Protection from up front has been pretty good, but sometimes Snead slides out just to make a play. Some of his best throws have come when he’s moved out of the pocket.

While the Commodores are at or near the top in some pretty impressive categories, they’re last in the league against the pass, giving up 258.7 yards a game. Should be a matchup there that favors Ole Miss if Snead doesn’t force things.

Defensively, end Greg Hardy is expected to return in some role. Hardy won’t go the full game, and he doesn’t have to. He just needs to be sharp and focused and show his experience on the plays that he’s in there. Hardy won’t get sucked in by Vanderbilt’s misdirection, and he should strengthen a pass rush that has often relied on blitzing linebackers and defensive backs.

In a game as close as this one is expected to be, one big play will make a huge difference. Had Hardy been in the game on the last drive at Wake Forest, perhaps Riley Skinner would have been sacked, or maybe the pass that resulted in interference against Marshay Green would have been batted away at the line of scrimmage.

This game will be close enough that one big, well-timed play by Hardy could make the difference.

It will be interesting to see if Jeremy McGee gets more snaps at cornerback after notching two pass break-ups last week. Maybe Green will improve as his playing time increases. There are four cornerbacks — including former starter Dustin Mouzon and starter Cassius Vaughn — who have to get it done in pass coverage this season. Vanderbilt will try for the big play at some point.

The key to success for the Ole Miss defense, however, will be stopping the run. Hardy will help here. It was good to see Peria Jerry getting stronger last week. Ted Laurent is getting there, and Jerrell Powe is coming along.

These guys need to control the line, fit their gaps and be in position when Vanderbilt starts attacking the edges, as it did against South Carolina, the only other quality defensive line the Commodores have faced.

If that happens for Ole Miss and the linebackers chip in, the Rebels should be able to slow down Vanderbilt quarterback Chris Nickson.

I’m looking for that to happen.

Ole Miss 27, Vanderbilt 26

— PA

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24 Responses to “FOOTBALL: Predictions Anyone?”

  1. john Says:

    Is this right?

    “The Commodores have won the last two in the series, and had they not turned the ball over six times while they outgained the Rebels more than 2-1, they’d have won handily in Oxford in 2006.”

  2. djrebel Says:

    Oops. The Commodores have won two of the last three in the series.

    — PA

  3. RoastBeef1 Says:

    Alright, look at my post on the Samford game. I predicted them to hold that early 7-3 lead and then the Rebels would turn it on after that. I might as well be the nostradamus on here. Joking aside, I see this not being quite as close as many feel. Upsets happen and I just don’t believe Vandy is as good as some are making them after that win against South Carolina. I’m saying Ole Miss takes this one 31-14.

  4. john Says:

    I say Ole Miss 28-24.

  5. Jimmy Barbee Says:

    Ole Miss 27 Vandy 24

  6. Jorel Says:

    I agree with RoastBeef. Stats reveal Vandy to be overrated for a change. Ole Miss will turn it up a notch. Good guys 34 Vandy 20

  7. jr85reb Says:

    Ole Miss 14
    Vanderbilt 10

  8. Jeff Jolly Says:

    Ole Miss 38
    Vandy 28

    MSU 2
    Ga Tech 3

  9. colreb420 Says:

    rebs 31 vandy 23

  10. cr Says:

    Hardy is back! Rebs 28 Vandy 10

  11. VA Reb Says:

    Rebs 27 Vandy 17

  12. mobilereb Says:

    Snead lights ’em up, throws for 300 yards. Rebs 38 Vandy 17

  13. bornarebel Says:

    If we can put 28 on Wake Forest, I think we can put at least that much on Vandy.
    Ole Miss – 31
    Vandy – 20

  14. oxfordrebel Says:

    I also agree with RB, the SC game was due much impart to them imploding in the second half, and we all know that USC has not got a good offense. The other 2 wins are against inferior opponents, even for Vandy. BUT, Vandy is always an upset-minded team that looks to ruin seasons for other teams while not really advancing their own case that much. This game could go both ways, but I think that we’re balanced enough to close this one out. I’m not saying we won’t lose, but I see it being highly unlikely.

    UM-33
    Vandy-24

  15. Row! Says:

    Hardy is back! Even if only for a few snaps his presence will fie up the defense! i don’t think the game will be as close as some think! revenge from last year also! Snead passes for 250 yards, we run for 175 and beat em on a score of 38 14….. HOTTY TODDY!!!!!!

  16. southernbutter Says:

    I think the only way we don’t win this one by 10 or more is if we turn the ball over or commit a slough of penalties. The only thing about this Vandy team that impresses me is that they are well coached (they haven’t made costly mistakes while at the same have been taking advantage of their oppenents’ miscues) and they have been able to control the ball with the ground game.

    I think we match up well against these ‘Dores and I’ll take the our Rebs 34-20.

  17. dstesports08 Says:

    Shootout.

    Ole Miss 34
    Vandy 30

    Georgia Tech 10
    State 7

  18. stangreb Says:

    28-20 Rebels

  19. m4rebs Says:

    Ok everybody, put down the Nutt Juice, at least for right now. As I stated earlier in the week, Vanderbilt and Wake Forest are built very similarly, so I’m not sure why everyone thinks the outcome will be so dramatically different than the Wake game. With the home crowd advantage, I think that gives us an edge, but not a big one. I think the key will be the turnovers, just as it was in the Wake game, if we don’t turn the ball over twice in the 3rd quarter, I’d venture to say we win that game and not have to hold on a late drive for FG. Just as Wake’s MO is turning turnovers into points, so is that of Vandy, and regardless if you view that as the other team imploding or being in the right place at the right time, it does give a team momentum, just as it did in numerous outings for Miss. State 1 year ago. All this being said, I think we make a few mistakes, but so do they, I too like the Rebels, but MUCH closer than the experts, and the rest of you do….
    Ole Miss 30
    Vanderbilt 27

  20. rebelnate Says:

    Vanderbilt Commodores- 17
    Ole Miss Rebels- 45

    This will be the game that really puts us over the hump. We will go and give Florida all they can handle in the 11:30 game next week but come up just a little short.

  21. rebel2011 Says:

    Ole Miss 31, Vandy 24

  22. raleighrebel Says:

    Ole miss 31 Vandy 20

  23. pjmdreb Says:

    Rebels 31 Vandy 24

  24. djrebel Says:

    PJ, nice to see you here.

    — PA

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