The Next Three

Ole Miss evened its record at 1-1 with a 27-13 win at Tulane Saturday night. The Rebels now play three straight games at home before an open date.

It's obviously a key stretch, though early, for the 2010 season. The open date on Oct. 9 comes before consecutive road trips to Alabama and Arkansas.

So what have the Rebels' next three opponents – Vanderbilt, Fresno State, and Kentucky – been up to so far this season?

The Commodores, coming to Oxford for an 11:21 a.m. kickoff Saturday, are winless and have lost both their games at home. The Big Ten's Northwestern claimed a win in Nashville on opening weekend 23-21, while the SEC's LSU got out of Music City with a 27-3 victory Saturday night.

Fresno State had an open date this past weekend and plays at Utah State Saturday. The Bulldogs are in Oxford for a game on Sept. 25. They opened the season Sept. 4 with an impressive 28-14 win against Cincinnati in Fresno, Calif., snapping the Bearcats' 18-game regular season winning streak.

FSU QB Ryan Colburn

Kentucky has been impressive in its first two games, winning at Louisville 23-16 and at home vs. Western Kentucky 63-28. This weekend the Wildcats host Akron and play at Ole Miss Oct. 2.

Here's a little more from each of the three upcoming Rebel foes:

*** Northwestern quarterback Dan Persa was 19 for 21 passing for 222 yards and three touchdowns as the Vandy defenders had obvious trouble corralling him. Vanderbilt moved the football as well, outgaining Northwestern 432-365. Leading 23-21, the Wildcats faced third-and-6 from their own 33 when Persa was stopped a yard short of the first down marker by Commodore safety Jay Fullam. But officials flagged him for a high hit and a personal foul, allowing Northwestern to run out the clock.

Against LSU, Vandy trailed only 10-3 at the end of three quarters. But the LSU depth began to show late. The Tigers scored 17 fourth-quarter points and in the contest rolled up 280 of its 392 total yards of offense on the ground, holding the ball for nearly 34 of the game's 60 minutes. Vandy totaled just 135 yards on offense.

"We got out-physical-led up front, offensively, and I was very disappointed," said Commodore first-year head coach Robbie Caldwell. "I know we've got some inexperienced guys up there, but I didn't think we'd get out-physical-led quite that much. They kicked us. They outmanned us. That's where we stand right now."

*** Fresno State was most impressive in its season opener against Cincy and then had two weeks to enjoy it. The Bearcats, Big East champs the past two seasons, went up 14-0 early, but Fresno came back with 28 unanswered points as Coach Pat Hill's Bulldogs pulled off the upset.

"I was real proud of the way our team played, especially our defense," said Hill. "I was really happy for them, because that is an explosive offensive football team (in Cincinnati). We have something to build on there. Good win. Our special teams played well, but I have to give a lot of praise to our defense. They played well."

FSU quarterback Ryan Colburn tied his career high with four TD passes against UC. After the opening win, said Colburn, "We had confidence in them (the Bulldog defense) and they kept us in the game, until we could kind of get kick started on offense. That's a great team we just beat.".....Colburn, a senior, finished 18 for 24 for 247 yards, four touchdowns, one interception.

*** Senior tailback Derrick Locke ran for two touchdowns and Kentucky held off rival Louisville 23-16 in its season opener a week ago, keeping the Governor's Cup for the fourth straight season and making Joker Phillips victorious in a matchup of longtime friends debuting as head coaches.

UK's versatile Randall Cobb

Charlie Strong, a former Ole Miss assistant who once coached with Phillips at South Carolina and more recently guided Florida's defense to two national titles, is now head coach of the Cardinals. UK scored all but three of its points in the first half, leading 20-6 at halftime.

In game two, Randall Cobb accounted for three Kentucky touchdowns in the lopsided victory over Western Kentucky Saturday night.

The junior wide receiver caught a TD pass, threw for another, and returned a punt 50 yards for a touchdown as UK won its 17th straight regular season non-conference contest. Wildcat senior quarterback Mike Hartline completed 16 of 20 passes for 213 yards and tied a career-high with three touchdowns. Locke ran for 102 yards and a touchdown.

Said new coach Phillips after the WKU game, "One of the things we talked about was showing the maturity of this football team. We wanted to come out, play fast, play smart, play physical, and play inspired football. I thought we did that."

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