SEC Kickoff: Everything you need to know about Ole Miss at Vanderbilt


Here’s everything you need to know about Ole Miss at Vanderbilt.

When: Thursday, August 29th
Where: Nashville, Tennessee
Game Time: 9:15 PM ET
Current Line: Ole Miss (-3)

Game Buzz: Two up-and-coming programs looking to be the SEC’s seventh best program by game’s end. Neither team can lose this game and have the kind of successful season they anticipate.

SDS previews

Ole Miss Rebels

Players to watch:

  • QB Bo Wallace
  • RB Jeff Scott
  • WR Donte Moncrief
  • WR Ja-Mes Logan
  • LB Denzel Nkemdiche
  • DT Lavon Hooks
  • DE CJ Johnson
  • DB Trae Elston

Freshmen to watch:

  • DE Robert Nkemdiche
  • WR Laquon Treadwell
  • TE Evan Engram
  • OT Laremy Tunsil
  • DB Tony Connor

Keys for Ole Miss:

  • Start fast and control the tempo of the game on offense. Historically, spread offenses start faster than pro-style offenses, and the Rebels need to keep the foot on the gas pedal throughout the game, creating matchup problems for the Dores’ defense.
  • QB Bo Wallace must evolve into a game manager, and it starts tonight. His maturation – or lack thereof – will determine just how good Ole Miss will be in 2013. Wallace threw 22 TDs and 17 INTs in 2012, and he has weapons at every position.
  • Make Vandy QB Austyn Carta-Samuels stay in the pocket and beat you down the field. The Rebels’ defense can’t let him get outside the pocket, which gives him the ability to use his legs to pick up first downs.

One glaring weakness: With 18 returning starters and a splurge of new talent, there really isn’t a glaring weakness. The position group that stands to improve the most is the secondary, which finished 11th in the SEC. Vanderbilt receiver Jordan Matthews could give this position corps fits.

Team Buzz: Ole Miss arguably has the most program momentum not named Alabama or Texas A&M. The Rebels had a fantastic 2-10 to 7-6 turnaround led by Hugh Freeze in 2012. He’s breathed life back into an exhausted program. But all the momentum could fall by the wayside with a loss to Vanderbilt tonight. No, it won’t wreck the season, but it certainly won’t create any type of snowball momentum to start the season.

Vanderbilt Commodores

Players to watch:

  • QB Austyn Carta-Samuels
  • RB Wesley Tate
  • RB Brian Kimbrow
  • WR Jordan Matthews
  • OL Wesley Johnson
  • DE Walker May
  • LB Chase Garnham
  • CB Andre Hal
  • FS Kenny Ladler

Freshmen to watch:

  • WR Jordan Cunningham
  • DT Adam Butler
  • DT Jay Woods

Keys for Vanderbilt:

  • Make Austyn Carta-Samuels comfortable early. OC John Donovan will get ACS in rhythm early with shorter throws to establish a foundational confidence. Veteran receivers, O-linemen and running backs will help insolate the first-year starter. Jordan Rodgers wasn’t that good, and ACS can be as good or better.
  • Keep Ole Miss out of the red zone. The Rebels were the SEC’s best team in the red zone last year, scoring on 91.11 percent of their opportunities. However, Vanderbilt pulled the upset last year because they held the Rebels to four field goals, including three from within 30 yards. Bend but don’t break – that’s the way this game can be won.
  • Get the ball to playmakers in space. WR Jordan Matthews, WR Jonathan Krause, RB Brian Kimbrow, RB Wesley Tate, backup QB Josh Grady – all must get the rock.
  • Trust your secondary. The Commodores’ secondary could top the SEC after 2013, and having confidence and playing them on an island is a smart risk. Bringing an extra tackler into the box is also a smart risk. Stop the Rebels’ running game and make Bo Wallace beat your talented secondary.

One glaring weakness: Like Ole Miss, nothing jumps out and smacks you in the face roster-wise. My one area of concern is the defensive line. With one returning starter, they have depth questions matching up against Ole Miss’ veteran O-line. Who will provide the pass rush? I want to see DE Caleb Azubike creating havoc.

Team Buzz: Who says Ole Miss has more momentum coming into this game? The Dores are coming off back-to-back bowl berths for the first time in history, and the ever-expanding record book is looking to get more fresh ink. James Franklin is doing things he isn’t supposed to do at Vanderbilt, and he’s building a program where he was told he couldn’t. This team enters 2013 with a chip on their shoulder, knowing they are once again underdogs for week one, despite winning nine games last year. Can the program continue to rise? It creates a fascinating storyline to watch throughout 2013, and it starts tonight.

Photo Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports



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  • The big question will be can Ole Miss’s secondary stop Vanderbilt? 2 starting corners for the Rebels are on the injured reserve list. So unless their defensive line can give the QB hell, Vandy may pull off the win.

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