Grab the Momentum early
Ole Miss needs to take charge and get a lead early. The Rebels can't let the crowd die down and erase their home-field advantage. Also, Ole Miss' offense isn't built for large comebacks and track meets. The Red and Blue's best chance is to get ahead and then proceed to run the clock and keep Missouri off the field.
Key player: Marshay Green
The second-year wide receiver will have the opportunity to seize momentum with both returning and receiving. Whether it is coming up with a big kick return or taking a Seth Adams' pass for a long gain, Green will dictate how powerful the Rebel offense will be. Without Dexter McCluster available, both Green and Mike Wallace have to avoid drops on catchable throws and eliminate turnovers.
Make Mizzou one-dimensional
Tiger quarterback Chase Daniel will get his fair share of yards, but Ole Miss can't let the Missouri running backs do the same. The Tigers were the epitome of balance last season against the Rebels with 218 yards running and 253 yards passing. It will be imperative that Ole Miss outrushes Missouri Saturday. The Tigers struggled last week with the run against Illinois and will resort to throwing early if the Rebels stiffen on the ground. Certain dangers are present with Daniel heaving it 40 times, but that would allow Greg Hardy and Marcus Tillman to pin their ears back and pick up the pressure.
Key player: Peria Jerry
The defensive tackle gives Ole Miss its best chance of clogging up the middle and freeing up the linebackers to make plays. Jerry played well against Memphis, and it was evident when the South Panola product was on the sidelines during some of the second half. Keeping Jerry fresh will be a main reason to limit Missouri's offensive plays.
Win the field position battle
Missouri can score points, so Ole Miss can't do the Tigers any favors with multiple short fields. Justin Sparks has to do a better job with punts, and the Rebels can't turn the ball over. Net punting and ball control will make Missouri work for every score.
Key player: Justin Sparks
The punter averaged 47.7 yards last Saturday, but lucky rolls deserve as much credit as his leg. Now that his first game action is out the way, consistency from Sparks will be paramount. Pinning a few punts inside the 20 and the ability to boom the ball out of his own end zone should be Sparks' priorities.
No wasted opportunities
This seems simple enough, but turnovers inside Tiger territory and missed kicks will bury Ole Miss against its Big XII foe. This aspect of the game was sloppy against Memphis and must be cured. The Rebels lost three fumbles in the opener including one by Green inside the five early on in the contest. Also, kicker Josh Shene missed an extra point and had a field goal blocked.
Key player: Shene
Last Saturday wasn't expected after a Freshman All-American first season, and Shene can't repeat it this weekend. Ole Miss will need to pick up points each time inside Missouri territory, even if it is three from Shene occasionally. Every scoring opportunity will most likely matter.
Run the ball, and then run some more
Memphis ran 96 plays last week, and that is partly the fault of the Rebel offense not running the clock. Ole Miss has touted a physical running attack during fall camp, but the unit didn't produce last week. Offensive line Coach Art Kehoe said things were close to being fixed, so 150 yards should be expected out of the group. Moving the ball will keep it out of Daniel's hands and tire out the susceptible Tiger defense.
Key player: BenJarvus Green-Ellis
Memphis isn't a potent defense, yet Green-Ellis was limited to 79 yards on 23 carries. The Tigers run blitzed to stop the Rebels, but even so, Green-Ellis has to get his yards. The senior is a load inside and needs to pound the interior of the Mizzou defense. Quarterback Seth Adams did an admirable job without much help rushing, but that may not be the case this week. It will take Green-Ellis and the other backs establishing a pace so that Adams can work off playaction and stretch the field.
Keys to Victory: Missouri Game
OM Spirit Top Stories
Kam White Opens His RecruitmentKam White out of Clinton, Miss., has been committed to Iowa State last summer but decided to reopen the process.
OM Spirit9:28 AM
Podcast: More Stories With Kentrell LockettIn this edition of the Ole Miss Spirit Podcast, Ben Garrett is joined by former Rebel defensive end Kentrell Lockett to discuss life at The Links, Greg Hardy, the role of a player…
OM Spirit8:00 AM
The 2017 Postseason Alabama 100The state of Alabama will again feature more than 100 FBS signees in 2017. This is John Garcia, Jr.’s postseason list of the best.
Scout Football7:39 AM
Thursday Ole Miss Recruiting RoundupWhere does Ole Miss stand with former Iowa State commitment Kam White? The latest on the three-star defensive back and much more in today's Ole Miss recruiting roundup.
OM Spirit7:01 AM