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Ole Miss Opens the Month of November Against South Carolina Gamecocks

By Adam Brown
Sports Editor

Coach Matt Luke and his team “Locking the Vaught.” Photo by Paul Keelaghan

The Ole Miss Rebels return to action on Saturday as they open up the final month of the season against the South Carolina Gamecocks inside the Vaught. Kickoff for this matchup is slated for 11 a.m. on the SEC Network.

Ole Miss (5-3, 1-3) is coming off of a bye week. The last time the Rebels were on the field they lost 31-16 to the Auburn Tigers. Against the Tigers, Ole Miss had trouble reaching the end zone while they were in the red zone.

“There’s a bunch of different things you can do down [in the red zone], but the bottom line is execution and being able to make plays,” Ole Miss head coach Matt Luke said. “There’s a lot of focus on it and making sure we’ve got the right play called.”

This season, junior wide receiver A.J. Brown ranks 10th nationally in the NCAA in receiving yards (805). He has acquired 2,469 career receiving yards during his time playing for the red and blue which ranks him third in program history.

“[He’s] just a big, physical guy, a tough matchup on a smaller corner because he’s so big and strong,” Luke said.

Luke said Elijah Moore and Braylon Sanders are plenty capable of being plugged into Brown’s spot, which allows the Rebels to have some options in the red zone against the Gamecocks. 

Senior quarterback Jordan Ta’amu has averaged 327.8 passing yards per game for a total of 2, 622 yards this season.

South Carolina is 4-3 overall and 3-3 in conference play entering this week’s game with Ole Miss. The Gamecocks are averaging 400 yards of total offense per game, with 236 coming through the air and 163 yards per game on the ground.

Junior signal-caller Jake Bentley is completing 61.2 percent of his passes for 1,303 yards on the season, with 11 TDs and eight interceptions. Bentley has spread the ball around nicely with receivers Deebo Samuel and Bryan Edwards both hauling in 36 and 31 receptions respectively on the season. The duo has 10 of the Gamecocks’ 16 TD receptions this season. Junior Rico Dowdle leads South Carolina on the ground, averaging 70.1 yards rushing per game.

“[South Carolina] is a little bit more up-tempo this year,” Luke said. “They are best at being able to run the football and play action, so I think that’s the key to them. We’re going to have to do a good job of stopping the run.”

Defensively, the Gamecocks are allowing just under 375 yards per game, giving up just 200 passing yards per game. Cornerback Rashad Fenton is tied for second in the SEC with three interceptions on the season. Linebacker T.J. Brunson leads the Gamecocks and is 13th in the SEC with seven tackles per game.

These two teams have met 15 times prior to this weekend’s game; however, this will be the seventh time the two teams will face off since the Gamecocks joined the SEC conference in 1992. Ole Miss leads the series 8-7 and have won five of the last seven meetings.

Fans can watch all the action on the SEC Network or listen to the call on the Ole Miss Radio Network.

Adam Brown
Adam Brown
Sports Editor

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