The Ole Miss Rebels are sitting at 8-2 on the season and looking for their first undefeated homestand this weekend since 1992.
Vanderbilt comes to Oxford for the final home game of the season on Saturday but hasn’t shown the same offensive or defensive capabilities that last week’s A&M team had. The Commodores currently have a 2-8 record on the season, losing all six of their SEC conference games so far this season. This isn’t new. Vandy has struggled for years, not winning an SEC game since 2019, including straight SEC road game losses since 2018. With a fresh set of coaches, the Commodores are still ranking last in the SEC in almost every category this season.
After a huge win against a top ranked opponent, it is difficult to not overlook a much lesser opponent this week. With injuries on the line, freshman offensive lineman Eli Acker earned his first start of his Ole Miss career on Saturday and helped the Rebels to the most rushing yards allowed against Texas A&M this season. During a press conference, he was asked on how to continue to play the same way, despite a very statistically different team.
“No, you’ve got to go out there like you’re playing first round draft picks every week,” Acker said.
The Rebels are currently opening up as a 36.5 point favorite over the Commodores. While this seems like an obscene number for an SEC team, it gets even crazier after you realize what it will take to actually get there.
Ole Miss has been unable to put more than 31 points on the board in over a month. While it is Vanderbilt, there is still the factor that they are an SEC team. Ole Miss has been unable to win by 36 points or more against an SEC opponent since 2014. While this Rebel offense looked better against the Aggies than it has in a long time, finishing has still been an issue.
Lane Kiffin has harped on the inability to actually score once the offense gets to the red zone. Against Texas A&M, Ole Miss marched down the field with little opposition, however, once they were inside the 15, they fell apart.
If Ole Miss wants to be able to cover the spread, things will have to start clicking in order for them to find the back of the endzone.
These past few weeks while the offense struggled, the defense was the star of the show. In order to get this massive point win, the defense is going to need to play the same way that they played against Texas A&M.
This will be the final game for so many key seniors and probably junior quarterback Matt Corral’s last game in Vaught-Hemingway.
“We’re excited to be playing at home. To me it should be a challenge that A&M didn’t use a silent count. Should be a challenge to our fans to be louder,” Kiffin said. “Senior Day and probably the QB’s last day, hopefully we show up.”