No. 1 Alabama faces troublesome foe of late in Ole Miss
Mississippi (2-1, 0-0 SEC) at No. 1 Alabama (4-0, 1-0), Saturday, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
Line: Alabama by 27 ½.
Series record: Alabama leads 52-10-1.
WHAT’S AT STAKE
The Crimson Tide is coming off its best performance of the season, shutting out and overwhelming Vanderbilt. The goal is to keep the dominance going against a team that has been bothersome of late. The Rebels have won two of the last three against the Tide and jumped out to a big lead against Alabama last season. Ole Miss had a week off after losing at Cal. With an interim coach and a postseason ban in place, there is not much hope this season for the Rebels. Beating Alabama would change everything.
All those Alabama runners vs. Ole Miss linebackers. The Tide has four players, including QB Jalen Hurts, who have run for at least 150 yards. The tailback trio of Bo Scarbrough, Damien Harris and freshman Najee Harris fuel an offense that averages 303 yards per game and 6.52 yards per carry. The Ole Miss run defense ranks toward the bottom of the SEC and its linebackers, led by leading tackler DeMarquis Gates, are creating few negative plays.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Mississippi: QB Shea Patterson. The Rebels have a good one in Patterson, who is averaging 427 yards per game. This will be the talented sophomore’s first start against Alabama. Former Ole Miss QB Chad Kelly passed for 421 yards against the Tide last season.
Alabama: OLB Rashaan Evans. The linebacker, along with fellow LBs Anfernee Jennings and Dylan Moses, returned from injury last week against the Commodores. The Alabama pass rush has been less than fierce so far, but a healthy Evans, along with Jennings, could give that a boost against the best quarterback the Tide has faced so far.
FACTS & FIGURES
Alabama has won 68 straight games against unranked teams … The Tide has won 28 of 29 at Bryant-Denny Stadium, the only loss coming to Ole Miss in 2015. … Ole Miss WR A.J. Brown (knee), the SEC’s leader in yards receiving, is a game-time decision, according to coach Matt Luke … The Rebels have scored 109 points in the last three games against Alabama.
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