Sep 28, 2013 10:55 AM EDT
Alabama vs. Ole Miss LIVE STREAM 6:30 PM ESPN: Can the Rebels Upset the Crimson Tide in Tuscaloosa?
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Both teams are 3-0 on the season so far and both have won one home game and two on the road. Ole Miss has scored an average of 38 points per game and allowed 23.7. Alabama has scored an average of 38.3 points per game and allowed 19.3.
The two teams average nearly the same yardage per game through the air, but Ole Miss has actually out-gained Alabama on the ground and in total.
Alabama is coming off of a marathon win two weeks ago against Johnny Manziel and Texas A&M. After the game-planning nightmare the reigning Heisman winner posed, all other quarterbacks will feel like a cakewalk for Crimson head coach Nick Saban.
Alabama's defense is about as good as they come in college football and it took a historic performance by Manziel just to help the Aggies keep up offensively. With A.J. McCarron fully developed as a quarterback, the Tide now posses a high-powered offense in the air and on the ground, stopping them offensively will just as important as unlocking their elite defense.
Unlike A&M, Ole Miss has a running game to match their passing game. Ole Miss' leading rusher, Jeff Scott, has outrushed Alabama's T.J. Yeldon with 330 yards and an average of 9.4 yards per carry. Scott and Yeldon have both found the end zone twice, but Scott has done so on 14 less carries. While he does not have the same track record, Ole Miss quarterback Bo Wallace can also cause trouble with his feet. He has rushed 32 times for 120 yards and three scores.
Wallace, a dual threat QB, has also thrown for 648 yards, completing 64 percent of his passes and connected for four touchdowns and no interceptions. McCarron has only thrown for about 50 more yards, two more touchdowns, but has thrown two interceptions this year.
What this game will come down to is defense. It will be hard enough for Ole Miss to run their offense amidst a raucous Tuscaloosa crowd in a SEC rivalry matchup, so the defense will really need to step up and McCarron knows it.
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"Unbelievable," McCarron told ESPN of the Rebel's defense. "I mean, they've got ballplayers all the way around. They're really good, so it's going to be a challenge for us, it really is. We're going to have to step up, meet that challenge and get ready to play."