Vanderbilt and Ole Miss have been the two most evenly matched South Eastern conference teams over the past few seasons. The games between these two teams seem to always go down to the wire. This Saturday should be another game that goes right down to the wire.
The Rebels feature a very balanced attack averaging 253 yards per game passing and 253 yards per game rushing. The Commodores defense will have another tough running back to try and contain this week in BenJarvus Green-Ellis. Green-Ellis is a work horse that can wear defenses down. Against Missouri last weekend, he carried the ball 33 times for 226 yards. It will be extremely important for the Commodore defense to keep Green-Ellis from getting into a rhythm similar to what he did against Missouri. They will need to make sure they wrap him up when they get the opportunity. Missed tackles against a back as good as Green-Ellis will result in huge chunks of yardage for the Rebels' offense.
Vanderbilt will have to defend against more than just the run on Saturday. Ole Miss features a very potent passing attack led by their senior quarterback Seth Adams. Adams had a huge game against Missouri as well throwing for 305 yards and 2 touchdowns. On the season he has thrown for 506 yards with four touchdowns and only one interception. The Commodores will rely heavily on their front four to pressure Adams to keep him from settling in the pocket and picking the secondary apart. If the Commodores can force Adams to deal with pressure, he will be forced into making bad decisions that could result in big plays for the defense.
The focus around Vanderbilt's offense this week has been who will be the starting quarterback. All indications are that if Chris Nickson is healthy, he will be the starter. If he cannot go the start will go to Mackenzie Adams. In all reality these two quarterbacks have very similar styles so the offensive game plan will be pretty much the same either way.
The Ole Miss pass defense has not been very good thus far giving up 336.5 yards per game. Look for the Commodores to take a shot down the field to Earl Bennett early in the game. Bennett should be able to have a good game against the weak secondary of the Ole Miss Rebels. The Commodores will also need a solid effort from George Smith and the other receivers to keep things open for Bennett.
The Ole Miss rush defense has not been much better than their pass defense. They are giving up 171 yards per game on the ground. The experienced Commodores offensive line should be able to open some big holes for Jeff Jennings and Cassen Jackson-Garrison to run through. If the Commodores can have some early success on the ground it will open up the passing game with play action. This game presents a great opportunity for the Vanderbilt offense to get back on track. This is a crucial SEC game for both of these teams. If the Vanderbilt defense can limit the big plays by the Ole Miss offense and get some big plays from their own offense, they should come away with a record of 1-1 in the conference.