Ole Miss is 2 victories away from its first 10-win regular season. The Rebels get Vanderbilt at home on Senior Day on Saturday before traveling to Starkville on Thanksgiving night to take on Mississippi State.

The Rebels should get by Vanderbilt with relative ease. But perhaps the biggest question is how quickly they can get their starters out of the game to rest them in preparation for a short week, and what might end up being the most important game of the season.

Ole Miss had a dreadful October from a health standpoint. It lost a starting offensive lineman for the season in Ben Brown and another for 4 weeks in Caleb Warren. And all 3 of the team’s starting receivers missed time. Jonathan Mingo has yet to return, Chase Rogers has missed the last 5 games and Jerrion Ealy has missed a game. Not to mention, quarterback Matt Corral hasn’t been healthy since the team left Knoxville on Oct. 16.

The point is that the Ole Miss offense limped through the back half of October and, in some respects, the first weeks of November. It is finally starting to get healthy as the final 2 games of the regular season arrive. Dontario Drummond returned in last week’s win over Texas A&M. Mingo dressed, though he didn’t take a snap, and Braylon Sanders looked better. Warren is fully healthy now, and Eli Acker slid in at the other guard spot and performed well.

This offense is finally starting to get healthy with a historic season on the line, and getting out of Saturday’s game fully intact should be Ole Miss’ utmost priority. This coaching staff has already taken measures to try to preserve the team’s health, mostly as it pertains to the length and physicality of practice.

“We probably practiced less last week than we ever have for a game, and I thought it showed,”  head coach Lane Kiffin said. “I thought our players had good juice and good energy; it obviously showed defensively. I think making sure they were fresh helped us in that game (against the Aggies), so we’ll do that again this week.”

Corral mentioned after last Saturday’s win that he finally feels like he is getting closer to 100 percent after battling an ankle injury he suffered against Tennessee and re-aggravated in the Oct. 30 loss at Auburn. Corral hasn’t factored into the running game much over the last month, which has hurt the Rebels in read option concepts and in the red zone when the field shrinks.

“As far as taking care of my ankle, there was one play where I slid, and Coach Kiffin was mad that I slid, and I kind of looked at him sideways,” Corral joked. “But I am trying to stay away from re-aggravating it, and nothing happened there. I was just trying to stay away from that. One more week and I should be at 100 percent.”

A healthy Corral means a more functional Ole Miss running game and a better offense as a whole. This has been proven time after time this year. When the Rebels run the ball well, they usually win. When they don’t, they lose.  It’s a precarious spot to be discussing in-game rest and health with an SEC opponent coming to Oxford in November, but it is the reality given the state of Vanderbilt’s program. If Ole Miss can put the game to bed early and get some guys some much-needed rest, it will be better suited for the season finale as the Rebels aim for something that has not been accomplished in program history.