Game Preview: Keys to Ole Miss vs. Alabama

It is not every week you get a chance to play the No. 1 ranked team in the nation, when given that chance you must play a perfect game.  The Ole Miss Rebels travel to Alabama to play the Crimson Tide.  No one outside of Oxford is giving the Rebels a chance of winning this game.  However, the Rebels believe that they can compete with any team in the country.  This attitude comes from the teachings of the coaching staff.  Ole Miss is 0-8 against the No. 1 ranked teams in their history.  The Tide enters the game as the clear favorite to be playing in the National Championship game in January. Alabama is led by TJ Yeldon and TJ Lacy on the ground and A J McCarron is the quarterback.  The Tide has a balanced running and passing attack.  The reigning National champs are averaging 204 yards on the ground and 221 passing yards per game.  The Tide has only allowed 249 total rushing yards this season.  The Rebels lead the SEC in rushing yards per game with 259 yards.

Bo Wallace will lead Ole Miss against No. 1 Ranked Alabama. Photo by Justin Ford

1) Stay mistake free.  The Rebels one again faces a team that they don’t match the depth and size with in Alabama.  To counter this disadvantage, Ole Miss must play mistake free football.  The Rebels must avoid turnover and execute each play the way they were taught or this game can get out of hand quickly.

2) Disguise defensive coverage.  The Rebels do not have depth or size on defense and will have to keep the Tide off balance by trying to confuse them keep plays in front of them.  They can’t allow the Tide receivers to get behind them or allow runners to get into the open field because of their speed.

3) The best defense is offense.  The Rebels will have to control the ball and keep their defense off of the field.  Bo Wallace will have to make good decisions on when to throw and when to run.  Jeff Scott has been playing well this season and needs to have his best game.

4) Size does matter.  The Rebels will be outsized on the offensive and defensive lines, and will have to use their quickness to contend with the Tide.  Donte Moncrief will have to have another great game and catch all balls that are targeted for him.

5) Keeping a cool head.  In only their 2nd road game of the season, this will be the most hostile crowd that the Rebels have faced this year.  The first road game was at Tulane, but the Rebel fans outnumber the Green Wave fans.  Alabama fans will be loud and will make it hard for the Rebels to operate on offense.  If the Rebs do get behind early they must maintain their composer and not panic.

Terry Davis covers Ole Miss football for MemphiSport. Follow him @Terryd515.

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