Memphis Tigers (3-0 SU, 2-1 ATS) vs. No. 16 Ole Miss Rebels (2-2 SU, 2-2 ATS)
College Football Week 5
Date/Time: Saturday, October 1st, 7:00PM (EST)
Where: Vaught-Hemingway Stadium Oxford, M.S.
by Jay, NCAA Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: MEM +14/MISS -14
Over/Under Total: TBA
This Saturday the Memphis Tigers and the no. 16 Ole Miss Rebels will rekindle the Mid-South Rivalry when both schools meet at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium in Oxford. This rivalry gained some national attention last year when Memphis upset the Rebels behind the arm of Paxton Lynch. The win gave Memphis their first victory over Ole Miss since 2004 and officially put the Tigers on the map. This Saturdays game has promising potential yet again with the Rebels ranked inside the top 20 and coming off the heels of a blowout victory over Georgia. Meanwhile, Memphis is 3-0 SU and has an offense that is once again capable of an upset.
Through the first 3 games, the Tigers have outscored their opponents 155-27 combined. Obviously the competition has not been too difficult with the likes of SE Missouri St, Kansas, and Bowling Green. Nevertheless, the Tigers have been able to rack up a ton of offense while standing strong on the defensive side of the football. This weeks meeting with Ole Miss will be a true measuring stick to how good this Memphis team is playing. The Rebels have the talent advantage, sprouted by their SEC recruiting seeds, but they have already shown vulnerability with two losses through their first 4 games at the hands of Florida State and Alabama.
While the Rebels star power may have taken a hit with those two losses, they proved they are going to be a difficult out for the rest of the season with last weeks demolishing of no. 12 Georgia by a score of 45-14. Despite Georgias success running the football, Ole Miss got big stops from their defense and was able to force some turnovers to keep the Bulldogs off the scoreboard. Additionally, the offense racked up over 500 total yards. Quarterback Chad Kelly played great hitting 18 of 24 passes for 282 yards and 2 touchdowns. Kelly made the Bulldogs pay with his arm strength consistently hitting receivers down the field. Kellys arm strength was on full display early in the 2nd quarter when he scrambled and then threw a 55 yard bomb to hit DaMarkus Lodge in the end zone.
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Kellys playmaking ability is the heart of this Ole Miss offense and when he is hitting his throws; the Rebels are tough to beat. The question this Saturday for Ole Miss is can the defense step up to the challenge against Memphis. Last year the Rebels did not have any answer for the Tigers passing attack and quick striking offense. The Rebels defense has also been exposed at times already this season. In both losses to Florida State and Alabama, Ole Miss gave up over 40 points and over 500 total yards in each of those games. Therefore Ole Miss has to prove that they can be consistent on the defensive side of the ball. Even though they held Georgia to 14 points last week, there was still some defensive breakdowns which cannot continue to happen.
If you are not familiar with this years Memphis team, they no longer have QB Paxton Lynch that made his name know in this game one year ago. However, Riley Ferguson has proved to be an effective passer thus far hitting 67% of his passes for 843 yards with 11 scores and just 2 picks on the season. Ferguson is a high percentage passer which is good because Memphis needs to protect the football this Saturday to have a chance. The offense cannot afford to give the Rebels dangerous offense any free changes or allow the momentum to stay with the home team.
Memphis needs to get off to a fast start and keep the pressure on the Rebels defense. I believe Patrick Taylor and Doroland Dorceus will be key players towards that effort. Both tailbacks have big play potential and the Rebels have had troubles stopping the run this season. Last week, Doreceus rushed for 117 yards on just 9 carries in the win over Bowling Green. If Memphis can get some big runs going early, I believe Ferguson could settle in at the quarterback position and make this an entertaining game as both offenses go back and forth.
Jay’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Memphis +14
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