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Ole Miss Rebels vs. Missouri Tigers
Where and when: Memorial Stadium, Faurot Field, Columbia, Saturday, Missouri, 7:00 pm EST
The 3rd-place team within the Southeastern Conference’s East division in the Missouri Tigers will host the 4th place team in the SEC West in the Ole Miss Rebels in week seven college football action at Memorial Stadium in Columbia, Missouri, at 7 pm EST. This will be the first meeting amongst these two teams in six years, as Missouri won by two touchdowns in Oxford, Mississippi in 2013. In fact, the Tigers have won the last three matchups versus the Rebels, including a 34-7 drubbing in Columbia in 2006.
The Tigers have won four straight games while Ole Miss halted a two-game skid last weekend with a win over the Vanderbilt Commodores. PointsBet has the Tigers as twelve-point favorites while the total is currently at 56.5 points.
Ole Miss is no slouch on the offensive end, despite awaiting the return of their starting QB in Matt Corral (day-to-day, ribs). John Rhys Plumlee has taken over signal-caller duties for three straight starts for the Rebels with the team going 2-1 ATS during this time. The freshman has not put up big passing numbers by any stretch, however, their rushing attack is racking up over 230 yards per game this year as the team has been able to effectively incorporate the duel threat QB frequently into their run packages. Two defensive backs for Missouri may be sidelined due to injury, however, as I will update their status while posting my full article on Wednesday.
As stated, consistency within the Rebels' secondary has truly hindered the success of the team this season. Furthermore, after losing one defensive back for the season just days ago, Ole Miss may enter this contest without yet another defensive back in John Haynes, who is day-to-day with an ankle injury.
Nonetheless, the unit looked much better last weekend in allowing just six points to the Vanderbilt Commodores in Oxford, Mississippi. Important to note that the Rebels’ rush defense have really carried their water in allowing under 100-yards rushing to opponents on the season.
Kelly Bryant continues to lead the offensive charge for the Missouri offense as he has thrown for just under 1300 yards on the season (11 TD’s). In fact, the Missouri offense, as a whole, is ranked as one of the top fifty offenses in the nation in putting up over 450 yards per game (264 passing, 44th ranked). With the Rebels’ inability to defend the pass all year, one can certainly expect the Tigers to try that secondary early and often.
The Tigers’ defense has really impressed me thus far in the year as they are ranked in the top 12 (or better) in all major defensive categories. In fact, their performances are in spite of losing two key defensive players just before the season while being further thinned out within their defensive secondary in early October due to injury.
The result of this is that the unit is allowing just 227 yards per game, including just 138 yards passing to opponents. For more perspective, after the challenge they received in week-one on the road versus the Wyoming Cowboys, Missouri outscored their next four opponents by a 164-31 margin.
All signs point to Bryant being in the lineupBryant has been dealing with a left knee sprain this week, yet is probable to suit up for the Tigers this weekend. The senior has been on fire as of late in completing 65% of his 1,246 passing yards in 2019 while coming off a three touchdown day in a home blowout of theTroy Trojanslast weekend.This is not good news for an Ole Miss defensive secondary that happens to be ranked 119th in the nation in allowing just under 300 yards passing to opponents.
Leading receiver in senior Jonathan Nance was the recipient of a passing score versus the Trojans in their last outing while averaging a tad over twenty yards per catch for the year. In addition to Nance, six-feet five junior tight end Albert Okwuegbunam (15 yards/catch) leads the team with five TD’s as he continues to have a nose for getting open.
However, junior running back Larry Roundtree III, who leads the backfield with 431 yards on eight-two attempts, will look to gain some ground versus a stout defensive front for the Rebels. Roundtree rushed for an average of 6.2 yards on nine carries versus Troy while also scoring in all but one game for Missouri in 2019.
It is unclear if defensive back Christian Holmes (questionable-thigh) will suit up for Missouri on Saturday. However, Richaud Floyd (doubtful-hamstring) is not expected to suit up for a defensive unit that has really shined this year, as pointed out earlier. Look for the Tiger defense to utilize a ‘next-man-up’ mentality at linebacker as senior Cale Garrett suffered a season-ending pectoral injury last weekend.
Ole Miss to rely on rushing attack versus TigersSenior Scottie Phillips along with freshman Jerrion Ealy look to take advantage of key injuries for the Tigers this weekend as they combined for fifteen rushes for 159 yards along with two scores in a blowout home SEC victory over the Vanderbilt Commodores last weekend. Of course, with QB Corral continuing to heal from a rib injury, the offense will certainly need a boost of offensive output from one of the best rushing attacks in the country. And while Plumlee has not aired it out much during two starts this season, having Elijah Moore at receiver is very much a benefit, particularly with the sophomore averaging twelve yards per catch in addition to racking up 460 yards on thirty-six catches (3 TD’s) on the year.
Charles Wiley is READY TO GO at this afternoons team meeting pic.twitter.com/JaepHidQqA— Paul Jackson (@CoachPJackson) October 8, 2019
And while the defense looks for a repeat of their dominant performance versus the Commodores in their last time out, Bryant and company are an entirely different beast. In all, Ole Miss gave up 300-yards passing a month ago to the Lions of Southeastern Louisiana along with another 378 in a home loss versus the California Bears the following week. Alabama Crimson Tide’s Tua Tagovailoa finished with six TD’s along with over 400-yards in the air in a blowout over the Rebels two weeks ago.
In other words, Ole Miss can certainly use a healthy amount of improvement within their defensive secondary. However, with junior Jon Haynes being questionable with a knee injury for Saturday’s matchup, expect the Rebels to be even thinner at defensive back. Again, Ole Miss continues to be solid in stopping the rush in 2019; However, the Tigers are also no slouch either as their rushing attack is currently posting over 190 yards on the ground per game on opponents. This will certainly be a pivotal contest for Ole Miss as they must somehow cause enough confusion in the backfield to take pressure off their injury-riddled defensive secondary while also giving themselves a chance to keep things close and possibly getting a huge win.
- No trends to report
- Rebels are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 games after allowing less than 275 total yards in their previous game.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
Despite Bryant possibly playing in a knee brace, I like the Tigers in this instance. Ole Miss has not been able to stop opponents' passing attacks all season. And while the Rebels will attempt to play to their strength in stuffing the run early, this may indeed play into the hands of Missouri, whose passing attack has continued to shine throughout the past four weeks.
Again, the Rebels are winless in their last four road contests while the Tigers have won six straight at Memorial Stadium. Expect Missouri’s defense to take away the strength of the Rebels’ offense (run) while allowing backup QB Plumlee to show his worth to the team. Of course, this will not pan out great for the visitors in the end as they will certainly go down on Saturday by two or more scores at the hands of the Tigers.
Prediction: Missouri Tigers -12
Full-Game Total Pick
While I see the Tigers’ offense having success versus the Rebels’ defense, particularly in the air, I will back the under for this Saturday showdown. With Bryant continuing to heal, look for the Tigers to provide the protection up front that will allow him to put some points on the board early. Once ahead, look for Missouri to tee off on the Rebels’ rushing attack along with backup QB Plumlee. In all, I see the Tigers putting up just enough points to allow their defense to bring home an all-important conference win. The defense for the home team has been pivotal in the under being the play four of their five games in 2019.
Prediction: Under 56.5