The 5-0 Ole Miss Rebels look to continue their strong start to the season on Saturday as they face the 3-2 Vanderbilt Commodores.
By Steve Wright
Here are the three keys to a Rebel victory:
Know Vandy Will Come Out Strong
Ole Miss had to show plenty of fight to hold off Kentucky (twice) late last weekend. It was an emotional win that sometimes can be hard to bounce straight back from in the early minutes of a game you are supposed to win. Vandy was smashed 55-3 by Alabama last time out, but they will be fresh as they are coming off of a bye. Their running attack has been working well, and this is a better Vandy team than Ole Miss is used to seeing. Knowing that Vandy will try to take over this game early is essential.
Keep The Tempo High
Ole Miss is running through teams with Lane Kiffin’s tempo attack. The defense has been immense – and is powering the team – but that ability to get off the field is helping fuel an offense that is fifth in the country in total yards. The Rebels did to Kentucky what the Wildcats wanted to do to them in grinding out a win on the ground, using Jaxson Dart in spurts to complement that rushing attack. Kiffin needs to go tempo early and often run the ‘Dores off their own field.
Continue To Be Aggressive
Ole Miss has been so tough to beat in 2022 is because Kiffin is playing aggressive football. The Rebels have gone for it eight times on fourth down so far this season, which ties them for No. 19 in the country. Five of those eight tries (62.5%) have resulted in successful conversions, good for No. 37 nationally. Vandy has been great defensively on fourth down – they are 12th in the country, allowing just 23% of attempts against them to be converted – but this isn’t time for Kiffin to stop being aggressive if a fourth down opportunity presents itself.