Central Arkansas is 2-6 against FBS opponents since 2016, with wins over Arkansas State and Western Kentucky. Ole Miss is neither of those teams and will be looking to improve on a 28-10 Week 1 win over Troy.
By Steve Wright
Here are the three keys to an Ole Miss victory:
More From Jaxson Dart
USC transfer Jaxson Dart did enough against Troy. SEC play, however, comes around fast, and the former Trojan will need to be in much more of a groove in the insanely competitive SEC West.
Dart finished with a QBR of 79.7, and the best aspect of his game was that he wasn’t forcing passes. He was 18-of-27 with a touchdown and a pick, while his 40 yards on the ground showed he can do enough with his legs when needed. His 154 yards through the air was an excellent place to start, but Ole Miss fans will want to see him getting 225+ here.
Stay Efficient on Third Down
Where the offense really clicked against the Trojans was on third down. Ole Miss was a highly impressive 9-of-14 on those plays, continually moving the chains and allowing for the tempo offense that was so successful last season with Matt Corral pulling the strings.
The running game was on fire. Zach Evans went for 120 yards, while Quinshon Judkins added 87 more and a touchdown. Their consistent ability to break tackles and gain yards after contact gives this team a chance to be in third and short range more often than most.
Get in the Backfield
While the offense is working on finding its explosion, the defense is already there. The Rebels finished with four sacks and 10 tackles for a loss against Troy, swarming to the ball carrier and taking the pressure off the offense by forcing the Trojans to give up the ball. Troy was held to 6-of-17 on third down and 2-of-5 on fourth down by a defense that doesn’t always get the recognition that it deserves.
This should be another contest where the defense – especially Khari Coleman, who had two sacks and five TFLs last week – can shine.
Saturday‘s game kicks off at 5:00 PM CT (7:00 PM ET). You can watch this SEC football game on the SECN+/ESPN+ Network.