OXFORD, Miss. — On Saturday, Ole Miss hosts FCS opponent Southeastern Louisiana (1-0) at 3:00pm CT.
The Lions are ranked No. 23 and No. 24, respectively, in the STATS FCS Top 25 and AFCA FCS Coaches Poll after beating No. 6 ranked Jacksonville State in Week 1.
Southeastern acquired several players who left power five programs to go play for the Lions. Starting quarterback Chason Virgil (Fresno State) and backup quarterback Cole Kelley (Arkanasas) each moved to the FCS program down in Hammond, Louisiana.
Regardless, Ole Miss (1-1, 1-0 SEC) should easily handle its business Saturday. The Rebels have the advantage against the Lions at every single position group. This weekend is more about the improvement this team will make from Week 2 to Week 3.
Things to watch vs. Southeastern:
- Who else will step up at wide receiver outside of Elijah Moore?
- Will Nick Broeker and Michael Howard continue to split reps equally at left tackle throughout the day, or will the coaches give Broeker more reps to prepare him for California the next weekend?
- Do running backs Snoop Conner, Jerrion Ealy, and Isaiah Woullard get more carries this weekend to prevent any injury occurring to starting running back Scottie Phillips?
- Will we see our first glimpse of true freshmen quarterbacks John Rhys Plumlee or Grant Tisdale this weekend? This would be a good opportunity for both of them to get their feet wet in some live action just in case Corral ever did go down at some point this season.
- Will the linebackers continue to be vocal and get lined up properly this weekend despite MoMo Sanogo being out due to injury. Jacquez Jones did a great job last weekend, leading the Rebels with nine tackles.
- Will the defense continue to play with intensity against a team that doesn’t have quite the same flair as Memphis, Arkansas, and next week’s opponent Cal? How the unit performs this weekend will be an indication of just how seriously they’ve prepared this week. I would be shocked if they didn’t come out on fire. This defense is hungry to be elite, and it’s off to a good start so far.
- Can the Rebels walk out of this game without accumulating any more injuries? The biggest key to this game might be to not lose anyone else to significant injury—especially with a stretch coming up consisting of California, Alabama, Vanderbilt, and Missouri. Three of those four games are very winnable, and that stretch run could very well determine if this team gets to the post-season or not.
All in all, this will be a victory — and a really convincing one — this weekend for the Rebels over the Lions.