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“5 at 5” Football Edition Installment #21, Original Analysis, Vanderbilt Preview

Photo by Josh Bonner / Libertine Images
Photo by Josh Bonner / Libertine Images

EDITOR’S NOTE: Counting down to the first week of Ole Miss football practice the week of August 7, HottyToddy.com’s own Collin Brister, former sports editor of the Daily Mississippian, will bring you exclusive “5 at 5” analyses of either A) the opponents Ole Miss will be facing this season or B) some background on Ole Miss’ players at each position. It’s being called “5 at 5” because each original piece will give you 5 key things to know, and we will post these stories at 5 p.m. every Monday-Friday.

NUMBER 1:

Recent History

Ole Miss has won the three previous contests over Vanderbilt, after losing three straight from 2010 to 2012. The only blowout in the past six years was 2014 when Vanderbilt was one of the worst teams in FBS.

Last year, Vanderbilt took Ole Miss down to the wire the week after Ole Miss knocked off Alabama. The Rebels were able to put away Vanderbilt late on the back of Jaylen Walton. That last year’s game was early in the season while this year the Rebels will face Vanderbilt on the next to last week of the season before the Egg Bowl.

NUMBER 2:

Derek Mason

This will be Mason’s third year at Vanderbilt after being the Stanford defensive coordinator.

Mason struggled during his first year, posting a 0-8 in the SEC in 2014. In 2015, the Commodores were able to win two SEC games over Missouri and Kentucky. Vanderbilt has one of the better defenses in the league, but their offense will continually put them in bad spots. Mason plays a ton of fronts and his defense is confusing for offenses that prepare for them in a one-week setting.

NUMBER 3:

Quarterback

The Commodores are going to start the season with sophomore Kyle Shurmur as the quarterback.

However, Vanderbilt has started five different quarterbacks over the past two seasons, so the likelihood that Shurmur takes every snap this season isn’t high. Shurmur is a former four-star recruit. The other option for Vanderbilt would be Wade Freebeck. Freebeck is a junior at Vanderbilt and has seen action.

NUMBER 4:

Ralph Webb

Webb is a senior running back that has been extremely good for the Commodores even when the team isn’t. Webb rushed for 1152 yards during the 2015 season without much quarterback help. Webb will be relied on heavily throughout the season, especially with Vanderbilt breaking in Shurmur throughout the season.

NUMBER 5:

Analysis and Pick

Ole Miss is much more talented than Vanderbilt, but Vanderbilt’s defense can be enough of a nuisance to keep Ole Miss close in the contest.

The Rebels will be coming off a road trip to Texas A&M, and the fate of their season could either be decided or Ole Miss could be competing for a SEC West Title. The last time the Rebels played at Vanderbilt’s stadium, Jeff Scott took a read option 75 yards to the house with under two minutes left to give Ole Miss the opening season victory. For the most part, sans 2014, this game is extremely competitive, maybe even when it shouldn’t be.

Ole Miss-28
Vanderbilt-13


Collin Brister is a staff writer for HottyToddy.com. He can be reached at collin.brister@hottytoddy.com.

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