Wednesday, November 30, 2022

No. 9 Ole Miss Takes on Vanderbilt in Music City

By Adam Brown
Sports Editor
adam.brown@hottytoddy.com

No. 9 Ole Miss hits the road for the second time this season, traveling to Nashville to take on the Vanderbilt Commodores on Saturday. The kick is set for 3 p.m. on SEC Network.

Ole Miss (5-0, 1-0 SEC) is coming off a 22-19 victory over then-No. 7 Kentucky last weekend inside the Vaught.

The Rebels defense have forced a turnover in 25 of the last 28 games. Ole Miss is second in the SEC and No. 13 in FBS with 3.2 sacks per game.

Head coach Lane Kiffin picked up his 20th career victory at the helm of the Rebels on Saturday.

During his tenure in Oxford, Kiffin is 20-8 in almost three seasons. He has guided the team to a 13-straight game home winning streak dating back to Nov. 2020.

Coming into this week, Kiffin and his staff are determined not to overlook the Commodores after their team’s win over the Wildcats.

“Just like last week, we said you’ve got to prepare the same way regardless,” Kiffin said.

Freshman running back Quinshon Judkins has run for 535 yards through five games with six touchdowns, the most rushing touchdowns by any SEC freshman since 2019.

“The stage isn’t too big,” Kiffin said. “He has ultra-unique vision and great body and balance control.”

Vanderbilt comes into the matchup 3-2 on the season and a 0-1 mark in the SEC. The Commodores are returning to action after a bye last week. The Commodores fell to No. 1 Alabama 55-3 on Sept. 24.

The Commodore offense is led by true freshman quarterback AJ Swann, who has now started the last two games for Vanderbilt after coming in for Mike Wright, who started the team’s first three games of the season at QB.

Swann will look to his favorite target in the pass game, junior wide receiver Will Sheppard, as Sheppard has been a difference maker this year for the Commodores, logging team-highs in receptions (26), receiving yards (365) and touchdowns (7) on the year. Sheppard currently ranks second in the nation with his seven receiving touchdowns this season. 

Vanderbilt’s defense is headlined by senior linebacker Anfernee Orji, who not only leads his team with 52 total tackles on the year so far, but also ranks alongside some of the nation’s leading tacklers with the preseason All-SEC selection averaging 10.4 tackles a game this season. Orji comes off of seasons in 2021 and in 2022 in which he finished as the Commodores’ leading tackler, tallying 93 in 2021 and 66 in 2020.

Saturday will be the 97th all-time meeting between the two programs. Ole Miss leads the series at 52-40-2 overall. The Rebels have won the last nine contests on the gridiron against the Commodores.


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