Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Keys To The Game: #11 Ole Miss @ #4 FSU

Picabo Street once wrote,“To uncover your true potential, you must first find your own limits and then you have to have the courage to blow past them.”

The moment of truth has arrived for Coach Freeze and his ball club.

No doubt, the Rebels off-season has had its share of distractions. But the Rebels can’t afford to second-guess themselves and must move onward and upward come Monday night.

Mistakes are sure to be made. That’s the nature of sports. But great teams seem to find a way to change the game — even when it seems the odds are stacked against them.

When it comes to any game, especially one like the matchup between Ole Miss and FSU, each coach is hoping he has the formula to victory. But these teams will not be able to rely on hard work. They will have to play smarter for four full quarters of football.

There’s no question that this is one of the most highly anticipated matchups of the opening week of college football. The Rebels are 4-0 in season openers under Coach Hugh Freeze. Jimbo Fisher’s Seminoles are 6-0 in season openers. Tonight’s game is going to be four quarters of intense football, and it will most likely come down to the wire.

Here Are The Keys For The Rebels In This Matchup

The Quarterback Club

The Rebels look to have the advantage in the QB department with veteran Chad Kelly. Kelly is undoubtedly one of the best QB’s in the SEC, and last season he was credited with more than 4,500 total yards and 41 touchdowns. The Rebels also go into the game with an entirely new offensive line.

For Kelly to take the Rebels ahead against FSU, the O-Line will need to protect Kelly from the Seminoles’ threatening defensive line that includes DeMarcus Walker, Josh Sweat at the ends with Derrick Nnadi on the interior.

Getting to the Francois

The pass rush is going to be a make or break situation for the Rebels for sure. The Seminoles are anchored by redshirt freshman quarterback, Deondre Francois, who makes his career debut. The Rebels best not be fooled by this kid’s age. He has very few limitations, with a powerful arm, quick feet and pretty smart reads on the field. The Landsharks defense lost two key starters in the interior, but they will be looking to one of the best pass-rushers in the SEC, DE Marquis Haynes, to make sure Francois doesn’t know what hit him.

Lock Down Cook

This one is pretty straightforward and to the point. The Rebel Defense is going to have to put Dalvin Cook on lock down early if they don’t want him to get loose in that backfield. If he does, it will be over for the Rebels sooner than later. Dalvin Cook is probably the most explosive running back in the game. The FSU junior is coming off one the best seasons an FSU rusher has had and is credited with 1,691 yards on the ground and 20 total touchdowns. Cook not only has his eye on setting FSU’s all-time rushing record but on the Heisman.

If the Rebels can manage to quickly and efficiently get these things in motion early and stay with it, they just might prove the critics and the predictions wrong. It will be a close one on this gridiron. In games like these, it’s the team that can be a game changer for four full quarters that usually comes out on top.

It’s Game Day Rebels. Hotty Toddy!


Lee Ann Herring-jpgs-0601

Lee Ann Herring-Olvedo is a contributor, veteran SEC sports journalist and Brown University graduate. She can be reached at

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