Vanderbilt Commodores (1-2 SU, 1-1-1 ATS) vs. No. 3 Ole Miss Rebels (3-0 SU, 3-0 ATS)
College Football Week 4
Date/Time: Saturday September 26th, 7:00PM EST
Where: Vaught-Hemingway Stadium Oxford, M.S.
by Jay, NCAA Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: VAN +25.5/MISS -25.5
Over/Under Total: TBA
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Last week the Ole Miss Rebels seemingly shocked the world for the 2nd straight year with another upset victory over Alabama. The Rebels entered the game as 9 point underdogs but took advantage of 5 Alabama turnovers to score a 43-37 victory on the road in Tuscaloosa. The win vaulted Ole Miss to the number 3 spot in the polls in their SEC opener and Huge Freezes team has quickly become the favorite in the strong SEC West. This week Ole Miss returns home for a meeting with Vanderbilt as 26.5 point favorites in Oxford.
After two straight losses to Western Kentucky and Georgia, Vanderbilt finally got into the win column last week with a 47-7 victory over Austin Peay. Now with a little confidence on their side, the Commodores return to action this week in a really tough road matchup. However Vanderbilt has a defense that could frustrate the Rebels offense and keep them in this ballgame if things go their way. The Commodores currently rank 15th in total defense giving up just 270 yards per game. Vanderbilts defense has had some really solid showings this year that have been overshadowed by the woes on the offensive side of the ball.
Vanderbilt quarterback Johnny McCrary has really had a tough start to the season. The true sophomore has thrown 5 picks in his first 3 games while completing just 59% passing. The offense has been able to move the ball and sustain drives. However, they have just given the ball away too frequently and not capitalized on scoring opportunities. In fact, Vanderbilt has the 2nd worse turnover ratio in the entire country with -2.33 turnovers per game.
Obviously Vanderbilt is going to be forced to continue to throw the football as they do not have the greatest rushing threats in the backfield nor do they have the size to win the battle in the trenches against some of the SEC elite teams. Additionally the Commodores have a big threat on the outside in WR Trent Sherfield who has already caught 21 passes for 347 yards and 2 touchdowns this season. I think Vanderbilt can find ways to get Sherfield the ball this week but they will need a solid effort from McCrary minus the turnovers.
For the Rebels, any pressure they can get on McCrary on the defensive front is going to make their afternoon that much easier. Ole Miss has a ton of talent and big time playmakers on the defensive side of the ball. As long as they come out with intensity and avoid any letdown situations, their defense should keep the Rebels offense in strong situations. In regards to the offense, the Rebels are still basking in the sunlight of transfer quarterback Chad Kelly. The former Clemson Tigers backup has been sensational for the Rebels hitting 64.4% of his passes for 898 yards with 9 touchdowns and just 1 pick through the first 3 games.
Ole Miss has one of the most solid receiving corps in the SEC so as long as Kelly continues to play well, they are going to give defenses a tough matchup on the outside. Vanderbilts defense has not really been challenged through the air this season and they currently sit 23rd against the pass. This week we will see if that number is inflated by opposing rushing offenses or if Vanderbilt truly has a solid defense because they will undoubtedly be tested by this Rebels passing attack.
Jay’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: If Vanderbilt can minimize the Rebels big play potential, I think they are in a position to keep this game relatively close as it relates to the point spread. The Rebels are a tough team at home where they have covered 7 of their last 9 games. However, Vanderbilt has also be a solid road team covering 4 of their last 5 games. One of those trends will break this week and I think the Rebels have somewhat of a letdown performance in this position against a pesky Commodores group. Take Vanderbilt +25.5
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