Ole Miss College Football Preview 2021: Keys To The Season
Ole Miss Biggest Key: Offense
Be really, really careful with the turnovers. Of course that’s a big deal for every team, but interceptions were a massive part of the 2020 Ole Miss season.
This is a high-risk, high-reward offense that doesn’t exactly take a slew of chances, but it’s willing to push it a bit to generate big things down the field. That’s fine, but the Rebels lost three games it could’ve and should’ve won because of interceptions.
There weren’t turnover issues against Florida or Alabama – just one pick against the Gators – and at least the Rebels were able to hang with the big boys in loss. However, the two interceptions in the 35-28 loss to Auburn mattered, the six picks and seven giveaways were a killer in the 33-21 loss to Arkansas, and the six turnovers in the 53-48 shootout against LSU were devastating.
Those were the only three games that Ole Miss had a negative turnover margin, and those three games were the difference between an okay season and something big.
Ole Miss Biggest Key: Defense
Just don’t get gashed on the ground. The Rebels need to get a whole lot more out of the defensive front that didn’t come up with enough pressure and didn’t generate the tackles for loss needed to matter. It also didn’t hold up against the better running games.
The Ole Miss overall style means it’ll always be on the wrong side of the time of possession battle by a large margin, but it’s crushing when the other side is battering away on the ground.
Alabama and South Carolina were able to rumble for over 300 yards, and Kentucky pointed away for 401 yards. The Ole Miss offense was able to make up for the problems in wins over the Gamecocks and Wildcats, but it’s going to be tough to get away with being last in the SEC in run defense again.
Ole Miss Key Player To A Successful Season
DE/LB Sam Williams, Sr.
The Rebels desperately need a guy to step up and become a dangerous pass rusher that makes everyone worry. The 6-4, 265-pound former JUCO transfer made 39 tackles with four sacks and eight tackles for loss – he led the team in both categories – and now he needs help. He’s a key piece to the improvement, though.
Ole Miss Key Game To The 2021 Season
Arkansas, Oct. 9
The Rebels lost to the Hogs 33-21 last year because of turnover after turnover after turnover. The loss was part of a 1-4 start that was tough to recover from, and it’ll be an even bigger deal this time around. It comes after starting the SEC season at Alabama and before at Tennessee, LSU, and at Auburn.
2020 Ole Miss Fun Stats
– Points Per Game: Ole Mss 39.2 – Opponents 38.3
– Time of Possession: Opponents 32:09 – Ole Miss 27:51
– 4th Down Conversions: Opponents 13-of-18 (72%) – Ole Miss 22-of-33 (67%)