On Friday, Ole Miss announced that linebacker Denzel Nkemdiche will participate in Saturday’s game against Alabama. According to CBSportsline.com, Hugh Freeze said Nkemdiche will not start. This SEC contest is a sleeper for one of the best games of the season. That’s why it’s so important for the Rebels to be at full strength to pull off the road victory. Alabama is a 14 point home favorite.
The battle between Ole Miss and Alabama is a very intriguing match up on the surface. The Rebels come in as an underdog, but they have enough talent to wreck the Alabama season. Check that. Based upon recent history, an SEC loss would only enhance Alabama’s profile. It hasn’t hurt them in the past two years, but Alabama would like to cap off a three year run with an undefeated season.
So far, A.J McCarron has had an up and down season with the Tide. His first game against Virginia Tech was subpar, and his third game against North Texas wasn’t much better. Yet, they still won those games easily. McCarron put on a dominating performance in Alabama’s win over Texas A&M. There’s no doubt his antenna will be raised for Mississippi’s visit.
Bo Wallace leads the potent spread attack that may give Alabama fits on Saturday. With all their skill talent, Wallace and company must spread the ball around literally. He must also limit turnovers, and make the right reads. It still might not be enough, but the Rebels need to play mistake free football.
This game can change the tide in the SEC West. An Ole Miss Rebel win would give Mississippi and inside track to the title game. However, they must be tough enough defensively to get the job done. If they are able to get the Crimson Tide in third and long situations, they’ll hang around for a long time.
When Alabama’s offense isn’t going well, defense and special teams have certainly picked up the slack. They’ll need that type of performance and more to defeat Ole Miss. The game can turn on a blocked kick or punt return touchdown, and Alabama seems to make these plays in the clutch.
The Verdict: There’s no way Alabama is going to let the Rebels come in and beat them. That means Ole Miss has to take it. This game is eerily similar to last season’s Texas A&M game. Can Bo Wallace pull of a Johnny Manziel?
Ole Miss 27