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Daniels: Key to Beating Vandy is Winning the Battle in the Trenches

Ole Miss Rebels vs. Vanderbilt Commodores in 2014. (HottyToddy.com file photo)
Ole Miss Rebels vs. Vanderbilt Commodores in 2014. (HottyToddy.com file photo)

The Ole Miss Rebels are coming off of one of their biggest wins in program history over the Alabama Crimson Tide 43-37. This week, the Rebels come back to Vaught-Hemingway Stadium where the fans will pour into the Grove making their way to the stadium to watch the Rebels face the Vanderbilt Commodores in the first home SEC match of 2015 which will honor former SEC commissioner Mike Slive and Prostate Cancer Awareness.

Watching two of the Commodores games this year, this is a much improved football team. I think improvements start with the head coach Derek Mason making the change to be the defensive play caller. This Vanderbilt defense is a stronghold for the team as they are giving up just 17.3 points per game. They gave up only 14 points to a Western Kentucky offense that has one of the best offenses in the country. The Rebels will be facing an improvement defense this Saturday.

There were a few questions about how Chad Kelly would respond to playing his first conference game in Bryant-Denny Stadium. Kelly went 18/33 for 341 yards and 3 touchdowns against the tough Alabama defense. He also had a rushing touchdown on eight carries for 21 yards. We could see the other two quarterbacks if we can jump out to a big enough lead by the 3rd quarter.

The Ole Miss running game is building steam as this is yet another game that they can continue to develop the rushing attack. Last week the duo of Jordan Wilkins and Jaylen Walton had 19 carries for 72 yards and a touchdown. Those are not eye-popping numbers but I think we can tell that there are more positive gains compared to last year.

Ole Miss has one of the best receiving corps in the conference, if not the country. Laquon Treadwell caught his first touchdown on the season last weekend as he had five catches for 80 yards. Cody Core is tied for 21st in the country in receiving yards with 299 on just 12 receptions and three receiving touchdowns. Quincy Adeboyejo has been a key in the explosive plays for Kelly and company. Adeboyejo has five touchdown receptions on just 10 catches.

Despite giving up 37 points last weekend, this Rebels defense was great, forcing three interceptions by Trae Elston, Tony Bridges, and C.J. Johnson. The special teams forced two turnovers on Nathan Noble kickoffs. The Rebels forced a total of five turnovers while the Ole Miss offense did not give away any. This week, they will have contain a quarterback with a great arm in Johnny McCrary and a very underrated running back in Ralph Webb. Which ever corner has the assignment of covering Trent Sherfield will have to keep him from getting his hands on the ball. Last week, Sherfield had 16 receptions for 240 yards and a touchdown.

The key to Ole Miss winning this football game is winning the battle in the trenches on offense and defense. Hopefully our offensive line can handle the Commodores front and open up some positive running plays and big pass plays. Winning at the defensive line of scrimmage will keep the the Ralph Webb running game in check.

My Pick: Ole Miss over Vanderbilt 48-10

Grant DanielsGrant Daniels, a student at Oxford High School, is a sports correspondent for HottyToddy.com. Email him at hottytoddynews@gmail.com

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