VANDERBILT (0-2) at OLE MISS (1-0)
11:20 a.m., Saturday
Vaught-Hemmingway Stadium, Oxford, MS
About the Commodores:
• Expect to see more of Vanderbilt’s freshmen receivers.
Coach Robbie Caldwell put out a call this week for playmakers to step up at the position. Jonathan Krause has been the most productive newcomer at wide receiver with an average of better than 15 yards per catch (five for 77 yards).
• Speaking of freshmen, two offensive linemen, James Kitterage and Logan Stewart, are expected to play more against Ole Miss. Vanderbilt has allowed seven sacks for a loss of 54 yards in two games.
• Punter Richard Kent leads the SEC with seven punts downed inside the 20. Against LSU, he and the coverage team held LSU’s prolific return man Patrick Peterson to 59 total return yards.
• Safety Sean Richardson and linebacker Chris Marve are tied for third in the conference with 18 total tackles. Marve is on pace for his third straight 100 tackle season.
• Cornerback Jamie Graham will return to limited action. Caldwell said the junior wouldn’t start but would be on the field. Graham missed the first two games with a groin injury.
About the Rebels:
• The Rebels were stunned in a 49-48 Week 1 overtime loss against Jacksonville State. In Week 2 they bounced back and topped Tulane 27-13.
“It was a very difficult loss, the first one, and I thought they came back and were very focused,” said Miss coach Houston Nutt. “They approached everything the right way. If you don’t get focused in a hurry and you dwell on that first game, the first game can beat you twice.”
• Jeremiah Masoli is the third straight run-savvy quarterback VU will face this season. Masoli has carried the ball 14 times for 56 yards and a touchdown over two games. In his last two seasons at the University of Oregon, he had 1,386 yards rushing and 23 rushing touchdowns.
• The Ole Miss rush defense has been solid through two weeks. It allowed 103 yards rushing in the overtime loss to Jacksonville State and only gave up 94 rushing yards to Tulane. VU is averaging 129 yards per game.
• Defensive tackle Jarrell Powe leads an Ole Miss pass rush that is second in the SEC with seven sacks for 53 total yards. The 6-foot-2, 320 pound senior generally attracts a double-team from the opposing line.
“He’s a very powerful man,” Caldwell said. “He caused us problems last year.”
• Senior wideout Markeith Summers had a breakout game against Tulane. He caught five passes for 165 yards including a 70-yard touchdown strike. Running back Brandon Bolden is second on the team in receiving.
Something to consider:
• Vanderbilt has won two of the last three meetings with Ole Miss. The Commodores’ last win was in 2008, 23-17 in Oxford.
• Turnovers have been important to VU in recent history when facing Ole Miss. In 2009, Vanderbilt intercepted Mississippi quarterback Jevan Snead three times. Starting cornerbacks Jamie Graham and Casey Hayward each had one. In 2008, VU picked off Ole Miss four times. Masoli has thrown an interception in each game for Ole Miss this season.
Vanderbilt’s offensive line will get a strong test from the powerful Ole Miss defensive line. Vanderbilt’s running attack will keep it close through three quarters, but the Rebels eventually will get to quarterback Larry Smith. Masoli will make mistakes against VU’s talented secondary. But he will string enough big plays together to lead Ole Miss to their third straight game with over 400 yards and the win.
Mississippi 24, Vanderbilt 13.