General Preview: Ole Miss vs. Memphis
The Matchup: No. 10 Ole Miss (3-0, 1-0) vs. Memphis (2-1, 0-0)
The Venue: Vaught-Hemingway Stadium in Oxford, Mississippi
The Kick: 7:30 PM ET
Series record: Ole Miss leads the all-time series 47-10-2
Last meeting: The last time these two regional rivals met was in 2009, when Ole Miss routed Memphis 45-14 at the Liberty Bowl in Memphis. Both teams committed three turnovers in a sloppy game, and Memphis trailed by just 10 points through three quarters before then-Ole Miss quarterback Jevan Snead led the Rebels to 28 fourth quarter points to secure a comfortable victory.
Coaches: Hugh Freeze (18-11), Justin Fuente (9-18)
Last game (Ole Miss): The Rebels were on a bye last week but topped UL Lafayette 56-15 two weeks ago in their home opener in Oxford. Ole Miss quarterback Bo Wallace threw four touchdown passes and the Rebels rushed for more than 200 yards as a team in the victory. The Ole Miss defense looked equally impressive, forcing four turnovers while limiting the Ragin’ Cajuns to just 129 yards through the air.
Last game (Memphis): The Tigers defeated Middle Tennessee 36-17 last week thanks to a pair of 90-yard rushing performances from Brandon Hayes and Doroland Dorceus. The Memphis defense forced three turnovers and registered a safety to help the Tigers’ cause, limiting the Blue Raiders to just 88 yards rushing. Tigers’ quarterback Paxton Lynch completed 60 percent of his passes for 219 yards and two touchdowns.
Ole Miss wins if: They can avoid an epic disaster at home. Ole Miss is a top 10 team in the nation with aspirations of a conference title and a College Football Playoff berth at the end of the year. The Rebels cannot afford to lose this game to Memphis, and unless they come out completely flat or lose 8-10 starters due to injury, they should win with ease.
Memphis wins if: It can force at least three Bo Wallace interceptions. Wallace is prone to polarizing performances, and if he has a tremendously poor game against the Tigers it could allow an inferior team to hang around late into the game. Memphis does not have enough talent alone to win this game, but it could benefit from a mistake-prone quarterback in the right circumstances.
What it means if Ole Miss wins: If Ole Miss wins, it means College Gameday is coming to Oxford when Alabama visits on Oct. 4, setting up one of the biggest showdowns in the recent history of Ole Miss’ program. The Rebels cannot get ahead of themselves, and must make sure they take care of Memphis before looking ahead to Alabama. However, if Ole Miss dismisses the Tigers, it means they’re ready for a huge game against the Crimson Tide.
What it means if Memphis wins: If Memphis wina, it would have to be considered the most undervalued team in the nation from the preseason through the end of September. The Tigers nearly upset a highly ranked UCLA team two weeks ago, and a win over top 10 Ole Miss in Oxford could be a sign this Memphis team is among the best teams in the FBS from outside the power conferences. The Tigers will need to play nearly flawless to contend with the Rebels, but if they do, they deserve all the credit they’ll receive.