Ole Miss football vs. Vanderbilt: Our scouting report, score prediction

Nick Suss
Mississippi Clarion Ledger
View Comments

OXFORD — Ole Miss football can pull off a feat it hasn't achieved in 29 years.

The No. 10 Rebels (8-2, 4-2 SEC) host Vanderbilt (2-8, 0-6) on Saturday (6:30 p.m., SEC Network) and with a win they'll improve to 7-0 this season at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium, It would be Ole Miss' first undefeated season at home since 1992 and its first seven-win season at home in school history.

Vanderbilt hasn't beaten Ole Miss in Oxford since 2012. The Rebels have outscored the Commodores 85-27 in the last two years, including a 54-21 victory in Nashville last season. 

Here are the Clarion Ledger's scouting report and prediction for Saturday's game.

THE OLD HEADS:Why is Ole Miss football relevant again? It starts with mindset, talents of the 'old heads'

Ole Miss offense vs. Vanderbilt defense

Ole Miss' offense isn't what it was two months ago. Injuries have slowed down quarterback Matt Corral and all three of his top receivers. The running game scored 18 touchdowns in the first five games and 10 in the last five. The Rebels are having a harder time scoring long touchdowns and a brutal time turning red zone trips into touchdowns.

That said, it's hard to see how Vanderbilt slows the Rebels down. The Commodores allow the most yards per game, most passing yards per game and second most points per game in the SEC. In six SEC games, Vanderbilt is allowing 40.2 points per game.

In a lot of ways, this matchup should be a lot like Ole Miss' 27-14 victory against Liberty on Nov. 6. Expect the Rebels to jump out to a big lead early, hit a lot of deep passes over the middle of the field then try to salt the second half away with the run game.

Ole Miss has the advantage. If the Commodores have any success, it'll have to be by taking the running backs out of the game and hoping Corral and his receivers aren't on the same page.

DON'T OVERLOOK THE 'DORES:Ole Miss football is trying not to overlook Vanderbilt. That's easier said than done.

Ole Miss defense vs. Vanderbilt offense

Vanderbilt's offense isn't good. In SEC play, the Commodores rank last in points per game, yards per game and passing yards per game. The only reason they don't also rank last in rushing yards per game is Mississippi State almost never runs the ball.

Ole Miss' defense is peaking at the right time. Over its last five games, Ole Miss is allowing 21.4 points per game. The Rebels only allowed fewer than 21 points in two of their first 15 games under coach Lane Kiffin.

It's hard to get overconfident about the Ole Miss defense. Most of the early season struggles came when senior safety Jake Springer was injured, and Springer won't be allowed to play in the first half against Vanderbilt because of a targeting penalty last week against Texas A&M. Add Springer's absence to the questionable return statuses of defensive backs Tysheem Johnson and Tylan Knight and the Rebels might be thin in the back end.

Still, this is Ole Miss' battle to lose. The Commodores have weapons, but if the Rebels play the way they have for the last month, this shouldn't be too tough of a matchup.


Ole Miss 35, Vanderbilt 10: It doesn't seem reasonable to expect Ole Miss to cover a 36.5-point spread. But it also feels silly to think this game will be particularly close. Ole Miss finishes off its home slate undefeated and heads into the Egg Bowl against Mississippi State on a winning streak.

Contact Nick Suss at 601-408-2674 or nsuss@gannett.com. Follow @nicksuss on Twitter.

View Comments