The Matchup: Ole Miss (5-3, 2-2) at #6 Georgia (7-1, 5-1)
When: Saturday, November 3rd
Where: Athens, GA
Game Time: 3:30 PM ET
Recent History: Georgia has won nine straight against the Rebels, with the Bulldogs’ last loss coming in 1996, which just happened to be in Athens. Georgia has dominated in recent history.
Storyline(s): Georgia controls its own destiny in the SEC East with their head-to-head victory against the Gators, meaning they have to win out in order to punch their ticket to Atlanta to represent the East in the SEC Championship. Ole Miss will try and crash the party and their championship aspirations.
Interesting Stat: Ole Miss is tied for first in the least amount of penalties in the SEC with 36 total, and Georgia has the second most with 66. Ole Miss has also converted the second most third-down conversions in the SEC with 56, converting 49 percent of the time. Georgia is 10th with 42 conversions at 42 percent.
What you need to know about Ole Miss: This isn’t your daddy’s Ole Miss Rebels. Hugh Freeze has given this team and program an identity and a new foundation on which to build for the future. Outside of quarterback Bo Wallace, Freeze has taken a 2-10 roster and transformed it into a grit-your-teeth team with a physical presence on defense and a running game that is very attractive. It’s really been something to watch.
The Rebels are sixth in the SEC in total offense and sixth in rushing offense led by Jeff Scott, who has 612 yards and six touchdowns.
Ole Miss sits ninth in total defense, just behind Georgia. This is a much more physical group than what resided in Oxford a year ago. The players are not all there yet, but the players inherited by the coaching staff have elevated their play.
The direction of this program is very positive, and the life Freeze has breathed back into an exhausted fan base is inspiring.
What you need to know about Georgia: We still have not seen Georgia’s most complete game to date yet. The Bulldogs played their best game against Missouri in the second week of the season, but the Tigers did move the football, as we have seen all teams do throughout the course of the season. Last week, the defense stepped up its game, and while the offense struggled, it was able to make enough plays off turnovers to get the win. It’s survive or go home.
The offense has been carrying the team for much of the early portion of the season, scoring over 40 points in their first five games. However, the last three games against two very good defenses – South Carolina and Florida – and struggling Kentucky, Georgia has only averaged 17.6 points per game. And that’s going to happen at different times in the season. However, the defense could be coming together at just the right time, as evidenced by the physical nature and edge this unit came out with against Florida.
The Bulldogs can ill-afford to sleepwalk through this game, because this is a different Ole Miss team than recent history. However, maybe the Bulldogs put all three phases of the game together against the Rebels.