Three keys to victory for Ole Miss against Cal
Ole Miss and Cal are set to kick off on the gridiron tonight inside California Memorial Stadium. Both programs are 2-0 to start the season, and each team has scored 30 points or more in the opening wins.
The Rebels are looking to head into their bye week 3-0 before back-to-back Southeastern Conference road games against Alabama and Auburn.
Here are three keys to victory for Ole Miss against the Golden Bears:
1. Get off to a fast start
Ole Miss got off to slow starts in its first two games against South Alabama and UT-Martin, before roaring back and outscoring both programs by a combined 48-3 in the third quarter. The Rebels were able to hold off the Jaguars and Skyhawks, but getting off to a slow start or playing from behind is never a good idea–and in a true road game against Cal, it’s best for Ole Miss to get out of the gates quickly.
2. Force Cal into passing the ball
Ole Miss has given up an average of 159.5 yards per game through the air this season, which ranks 40th in the nation amongst FBS schools. Cal is averaging 281.5 passing yards per game. The Rebels will be tested with Cal QB Ross Bowers and his receivers, but the Rebels’ young secondary appears ready for the challenge.
3. More productivity from the RBs
There is no question that Shea Patterson, who broke a single-game school passing record last Saturday against UT-Martin with 489 yards, can do tremendous damage in the air as he hits receivers A.J. Brown, DaMarkus Lodge, Van Jefferson, D.K. Metcalf and Markell Pack. But depending on Cal’s defensive schemes, the Ole Miss running backs may need to rush for more yardage than they have the past two weekends in order to take some of the attention off of Patterson and his talented receiving corps.
Ole Miss and Cal kick off at 9:30 p.m. (CT) in Berkeley, California. The game will be televised on ESPN.
(Feature image credit: Dan Anderson, The Rebel Walk)