Four Keys to an Ole Miss win over Alabama
OXFORD, Miss. — Ole Miss (8-1, 4-1 SEC) hosts Alabama (7-2, 4-2 SEC) Saturday at Vaught-Hemingway in another key SEC West contest.
Here’s what the No. 11-ranked Rebels need to do to defeat the 10th-ranked Crimson Tide.
Ground and Pound
In both of Alabama’s losses, the Tide has given up a combined 367 yards on 73 carries, giving up five yards per rush.
This season, Ole Miss ranks third nationally in rushing yards per game at 267.4 yards, averaging 5.6 yards a carry. A heavy dose of running backs Quinshon Judkins and Zach Evans with a dash of Jaxson Dart on the ground will be needed in order to have the best chance to beat the Crimson Tide.
To beat good teams, you have to do what you do best and execute at a high level. For this year’s Rebel football team, that means running the football.
Alabama running back Jahmyr Gibbs is an elite playmaker for the Tide. The transfer from Georgia Tech has made quite the name for himself this season. He is Alabama’s leading rusher with 771 yards on 113 attempts (6.8 yard per carry) and also has a team-high of 39 receptions this year.
Gibbs has found the end zone six times on the ground and three times through the air. The Ole Miss defense has to know where Gibbs is at all times as Alabama offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien lines him up all over the field.
Bama dials up runs inside and outside, and although Gibbs is not the typical bruiser that we have grown accustomed to seeing on a Nick Saban team, he is capable of breaking a game wide open.
Outside of the Crimson TIde’s 29-yard-rushing effort against Mississippi State, the next two worse rushing games have resulted in losses.
Taking away Alabama’s rushing attack will be a big step in the right direction as its quarterback, Bryce Young, doesn’t have the same talent around him that Alabama normally has. The fins have to be up and out for blood!
The Bridge Between Goals and Accomplishment
Saturday against Alabama, the Rebels will have to play disciplined. Committing penalties that put the team in unfavorable situations will not be the recipe to beating Alabama.
Third-and-longs on offense and extending drives for Alabama is something that can be controlled. It could very well be the difference in the game, where the team that wins is the one who plays a cleaner game.
Alabama has committed 75 penalties in its four road games this season.
Lock The Vaught
Vaught-Hemingway Stadium has to be rocking. We have seen the difference a raucous crowd can make in a game. Players feed off of the crowd, just as much as the crowd feeds off big plays the players make.
Alabama is coming off a tough overtime loss to LSU and is looking to get back in the win column. As aforementioned, Alabama is prone to getting flagged on the road. The fans play a big role in the game.
Rebel Nation, it’s time. Lock the gates and put the ball down. Show up and show out!
Nick Filipich was born and raised in Biloxi, MS. He is an Ole Miss alum with a degree in Sports and Recreation Administration. A sports junkie with a great passion for all things Ole Miss, Nick played baseball and football in high school — which is where he discovered his love for sports. He is an avid Braves and Saints fan, and in his free time enjoys spending time with family, friends and his black lab, Dixie.