Ole Miss looks for three-peat over Alabama

Injury-plagued Ole Miss looks to ride senior quarterback Chad Kelly to the Rebels’ first ever three-game win streak over Alabama.

Pregame view of Vaught-Hemingway stadium in Oxford, Mississippi on Oct. 18, 2014, before the game between the Ole Miss Rebels and the Tennessee Volunteers. Photo courtesy of creativecommons.org. No changes made.

The third week of the college football season will prove to be an uphill battle for Hugh Freeze and his Ole Miss Rebels when they suit up against No.1 Alabama on Saturday.

Still reeling from the week one disappointment against Florida State, Ole Miss has yet to provide any evidence as to why it should keep its top 25 spot in the polls.

Ole Miss is going to have to make some serious adjustments if the Rebels are going to earn their third consecutive win against the Tide, who is the 11-point favorite coming into the game Saturday. The Rebels will have to beat Alabama without some key pieces. Running back Eric Swinney and defensive back Ken Webster were injured week one against Florida State, and defensive end Victor Evans is questionable for the game while undergoing concussion tests. The absences of Swinney and Webster create depth problems for Ole Miss, something that doesn’t normally bode well against Alabama.

However, the Crimson Tide are not completely untouchable after the offensive line looked questionable against Western Kentucky last week. Not only that, but Oxford presents Tide freshman quarterback Jalen Hurts’s first test on the road.

The Rebels’ strongest weapon is its passing game. Senior Chad Kelly, who threw for 3,740 yards last season — good enough for tenth in the nation — went 20-for-27 passing for 219 yards and three touchdowns against Wofford last week. Despite his strong stats from last week, Kelly did throw three interceptions against Florida State and will need to be much more consistent against Alabama’s relentless defense, which is second in the country in yards allowed.

It’s no question who the overwhelming favorite is this week, but the Rebels have made surprising wins over Alabama somewhat of a tradition over the past two years and should not be underestimated. The game will be a formidable task for the bruised-and-battered Ole Miss offense against a hungry Alabama defense, but the matchup could prove to be the ultimate measuring tape of whether or not Ole Miss is an SEC title contender this year.

Edited by Nathan Odom

Featured image by Tate Nations

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