Previewing Alabama vs. Ole Miss

Caleb Suggs

Hartselle Enquirer

Possibly the biggest matchup will involve the Alabama Crimson Tide and the Ole Miss Rebels. For the past two years, the Rebels have been Nick Saban’s foil as they are just the second team to knock off Alabama two years in a row since Saban arrived at Alabama. Becoming the first team to knock off the Tide three years in a row will not be easy.

Despite being the underdog, Ole Miss comes into the game with the advantage. The Rebels get the contest at home and are a more battle-tested unit than the Tide so far thanks to their game against Florida State, who are built just like the Tide. Ole Miss also has the best quarterback in the SEC at their disposal. The Rebel’s keys to victory will come from how well they can take advantage of Alabama’s young offense. While talented, Alabama’s youth on offense showed in their win over Western Kentucky. Even though they pulled away 38-10, the Tide only went into halftime with one offensive touchdown. The offensive line looked lost at times and the running game was virtually nonexistant. Saban was very critical of the team, saying it was the most disappointing win ever. Jalen Hurts, a true freshmen quarterback, can’t be expected to carry the load in his first road game ever. Ole Miss’s defensive line showed the ability to cause problems against Florida State and they will need to do the same against Alabama. If they can slow the run game and force the Hurts to have to make plays on his own that will bode well for Ole Miss. Controlling turnovers will also be critical as Chad Kelly threw three picks vs. the Seminoles and it cost them dearly.

On the other side, Alabama desperately needs to get their running game going. The Rebels are weak in the secondary and being able to use play action will be a key weapon. They must also control the turnovers. Five turnovers last year doomed the Tide.

Ole Miss’ best chance comes at the beginning of the game. Forcing Hurts into mistakes early will be key in winning the game. Alabama gets better as the game goes along so if it’s close at the end, they’re likely to pull it out.

Overall, Alabama is too strong on defense and the chances of Saban losing to a team three years in a row are highly unlikely.

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