Head-to-head: Vanderbilt vs. Ole Miss

Vanderbilt hosts Ole Miss on Saturday morning at Vanderbilt stadium in the SEC opener for both teams. VandyMania.com compares different critical team areas of Vanderbilt and Ole Miss and indicates which team has the edge.

Ole Miss
Vanderbilt rushing offense
Ole Miss rushing defense
Vanderbilt is averaging 125 yards per game on the ground with junior Zac Stacy the team's leading rusher with 93 yards in 18 carries. True freshman Jerron Seymour has 85 yards in 12 carries. Last year in a 28-14 victory in Oxford,Vanderbilt rushed for 227 yards and 3 touchdowns. However, Vanderbilt has yet to see running back Warren Norman who rushed for over 100 yards last season against the Rebs on the field this season. Ole Miss is giving up an average of 157 yards per game on the ground. Last week Southern Illinois gained 223 rushing yards against the Rebs. Middle linebacker Mike Marry has 21 tackles of far in 2011.  
Vanderbilt passing offense
Ole Miss passing defense
The Commodores are averaging just 159 yards per game through the air while the Rebels are allowing 211 yards per game. Vanderbilt is led by redshirt senior quarterback Larry Smith (25-of-51, 265 yds, 3 TDs/2INTs). Smith's top target is Chris Boyd who has four catches for 87 yards and three touchdowns. VU leads the SEC in sacks allowed. Safety Damien Jackson has 1 interception for Ole Miss. Aaron Garbutt has four quarterback hurries.  
Ole Miss rushing offense
Vanderbilt rushing defense
Ole Miss averages 121 rushing yards per game while the Commodore defense is allowing 86 yards rushing per game. Jeff Scott, who is about the size of Vandy's Jerron Seymour, ran for 118 yards and three touchdowns last week against Southern Illinois. He has 135 yards rushing on the season. The Rebs lost starter Brandon Bolden in the opener against BYU. Bolden practiced in full pads on Tuesday and his status for the VU game is uncertain. The Vanderbilt defense has held each of its first two opponents to less than 100 yards rushing and is led by Chris Marve who has 19 tackles on the season. Fellow linebacker Chase Garnham has 11 tackles.  
Ole Miss passing offense
Vanderbilt passing defense
Ole Miss is averaging 140 yards passing per game while Vanderbilt is allowing 172 yards per game. Ole Miss is led by quarterback Zack Stoudt (24-of-43, 258 yds, 1 TD, 0 INT). Last week against SIU Stoudt completed 11-of-18 passes for 118 yards and 1 TD. His top target is Ja-Mes Logan who has caught eight passes for 106 yards. Donte Moncrief has five catches. Vanderbilt's secondary is led by senior Casey Hayward. Vanderbilt leads the SEC in sacks.  
Special Teams
Richard Kent averages 41.5 yards per punt with a long of 67 yards. Kent had a punt blocked for a touchdown last week against UConn. Ole Miss' Tyler Campbell averages almost 49 yards per punt with a long of 73. Vandy's Carey Spear is 2-of-2 on field goals so far this season with a long of 33. Spear kicked a 31-yard field goal to beat with 2:33 remaining to lead his team past Connecticut last week. Ole Miss' junior Bryson Rose is also 2-of-2 on field goals with a long of 29 yards. At one point Rose made 12 straight field goals during the 2010 season. Jeff Scott also returns punts and kick offs for Ole Miss. He averages 35 yards per punt return (long of 67) and and 14 yards per kick off return (long of 17). John Cole average 7.0 yards per punt return for VU. Eric Samuels Ole Miss opponents average 7.2 yards per punt return and 26 yards per kick off return. Vandy's opponents average 7.0 yards per punt return and 17.6 yards per kick off return.  
Houston Nutt is a veteran head coach with a 134-87 record. He's led Ole Miss to two Cotton Bowl berths and before Ole Miss he led Arkansas to .500 record every year but one. Vanderbilt's James Franklin is the first first-year Commodore head coach since Fred Pancoast to lead a VU team to a 2-0 start.  
Although far from full, Vanderbilt Stadium had a certain buzz about it on Saturday night that we haven't seen since the Auburn game in 2008. Franklin ball isn't perfect but it's exciting and gives the Commodores a chance snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.  

PREDICTION: Vanderbilt 31, Ole Miss 21

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