Kentucky Wildcats Football: An early look at the Ole Miss game


Ole Miss – November 5, 2011 – Lexington, KY

The wildcats dropped what should have probably been a win last year against the Rebels in Oxford, and should be looking for revenge. Ole Miss was one of the worst teams in the SEC in 2010 and their victory over Kentucky represented their only SEC win and one of only four total wins on the season. The Rebels lost one of there best players in Jeremiah Masoli, but return stud running back Brandon Bolden. The receiving corps will be one of the biggest in the country, with their top eight players measuring in at 6’0 or taller. The offensive line will be the biggest in the SEC with every player expected to contribute weighing in above 300 pounds. The defensive line should be the strength of the defense, but that’s not saying a lot. The unit will be reshuffling some players, but the linebackers and defensive backs will be going through a complete overhaul. The schedule definitely will not help Ole Miss in their contest against the wildcats either. The Rebels will see the toughest stretch of their schedule star in late September when they bring in Georgia to Oxford. They’ll follow that up with a cross-country trip to play Fresno State before their bye. After a week off, they’ll be taking on Alabama and then Arkansas in Vaught-Hemingway stadium. If that’s not enough, they’ll follow all of that up with consecutive road trips to Auburn and then Kentucky.

Why Kentucky will win…
The Mississippi offense was centered around the rushing abilities of Jeremiah Masoli last season and he’s used up his eligibility (finally). The Bulldogs have a bruiser of a running back in Brandon Bolden, but that’s about it for their offense. It is realistic to think that Ole Miss just might top their 82nd ranked passing offense from 2010, but it won’t be by much. The Kentucky defense should have little trouble with any type of passing game the Rebels can muster up. The Ole Miss ground game should still be strong, but most one-dimensional offenses are easy to figure out. The Rebel defense is in a state of disarray right now and there are question marks at almost every position group, namely at linebacker and defensive back. Kentucky will be replacing a lot of offensive firepower, but this could very well be a career game for Morgan Newton through the air. The replacement parts for the Wildcats are far more experienced than those on the ole miss defense. Expect the bigger, slower offensive linemen to struggle to stop Kentucky’s blitzes on passing downs, which likely will lead to mistakes, which likely will lead to turnovers. Kentucky was really too talented to lose to the Rebels last season and should look to overpower a hapless Ole Miss team this year in Commonwealth Stadium.

Kentucky will lose if…
They turn the ball over like they did last season. In their 2010 contest, Kentucky finished with 123 total yards of offense ahead of Ole Miss (including a 300 yard passing performance from Mike Hartline), but still lost. The turnover margin made the difference as the Wildcats gave the ball away three times and Ole Miss didn’t throw a pick or lose a fumble all game. The Rebels will probably look to give the Wildcats a heavy dose of Brandon Bolden and Kentucky must stop the run if they want to beat the Rebels. When the Wildcats inevitably stack the box, look for Ole Miss to try to take some deep shots and see if they can catch Kentucky by surprise. The Rebels really should be overmatched in this game, but it’s not like the Wildcats have never let an overmatched team beat them before.

What I think happens…
The Rebels come out of the gate strong with a special teams touchdown and a heavy dose of Bolden. Kentucky airs it out and utilizes screens and draws to take advantage of Ole Miss’ inexperienced linebackers. Kentucky gets ahead on a defensive touchdown and Ole Miss doesn’t have the firepower to catch up. UK wins by grinding it out and eating up the clock for most of the fourth quarter and the Wildcat offensive line leads Kentucky on multiple long drives in what might be the most boring quarter of football ever watched.

Final Score: UK 24 – MISS 16

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