Alabama did everything that was expected as they blew out Arkansas State by 50 points. Now they get to face an explosive Ole Miss offense that is capable of putting up all the points, and a seemingly incapable Rebels defense that gives up a ton.
By Steve Wright
Here are the three keys:
Know what is coming
There is no secret to what Ole Miss will bring to the table against Alabama. This is a team with nothing to lose – they have no bowl eligibility in 2018 – so the Rebels are going to throw everything they have at the best teams in the SEC West as they look for a unset or two that will make their season worthwhile.
The Ole Miss offense is plenty of fun to watch as a neutral, but no fun at all to face as a defensive coordinator. Quarterback Jordan Ta’amu and his corps of receivers are deadly through the air, with the Rebels averaging almost 600 yards of offense and 62 points per game so far in 2018.
Alabama has already faced a Louisville team that knows how to move the ball and shut them down, but Mississippi will be an even sterner match through the air.
Continue the offensive explosion
The Alabama defense has been everything we expected. Through the first two weeks of the season they have allowed just 23 points, but it has still been the offense that has stolen the show.
The Crimson Tide began the season with back-to-back 50 point outings for the first time since 1925. Often a little plodding to start the season, Nick Saban’s side has flown out of the blocks under the masterful play of Tua Tagovailoa. The quarterback has completed over 71-percent of his passes in 2018, throwing for 455, six touchdowns and no interceptions.
The Harris boys have combined to 286 yards and a couple of scores, with Alabama able to move the ball seemingly however it wants. This will be important if Mississippi can find a way to move the ball on ‘Bama.
Don’t let the Ole Miss defense recover
Mississippi was better in the second half last week against Southern Illinois, but better is a relative term.
Ole Miss gave up 41 points and 621 yards of offense to Southern Illinois, the most that an SEC school has given up to an FCS school in the history of the conference. It is a wounded unit, one that should be embarrassed by its performance last time out.
Alabama needs to capitalize on this by keeping the Rebels defensive momentum in a negative direction. If Alabama can score a couple of touchdowns early, then this game could get out of hand in the second half.