Across the (By)Line: The Daily Mississippian


Ole Miss wide receiver D.K. Metcalf catches the game-winning touchdown pass during the game against Ole Miss on Saturday, November 4, 2017 in Lexington, Ky.

Braden Ramsey

As we near dawn on another week of SEC football, the Kernel wanted to provide Kentucky fans an in-depth look at this week’s opponent: Ole Miss.

In addition to the Kernel’s scouting report, Braden Ramsey turned to James Minzesheimer, assistant sports editor of the Daily Mississippian, for a first-hand account on some of the more pressing questions regarding the game, and season, for the Rebels.

What were the big takeaways from the team’s performance against Florida?

There was nothing too shocking in my opinion. As expected, the Rebel defense is not where it needs to be to hold its own against top SEC offenses. The offensive line performed really well despite its inexperience and age. Unless changes are made, this will remain a pass heavy offense, which Lane Kiffin-led offenses have always been for the most part. 

How do you think Matt Corral will follow up his big week one against Kentucky’s secondary?

It’s hard to say. Corral was very efficient last week, and I think that was what I took away from his game more so than his big numbers. Even against a strong Wildcat backend, I think he will suit up with a lot of confidence and swagger, and carry his momentum into this week’s performance. 

What’s the key to a better defensive showing from the Rebels? How do you think they match up with Kentucky’s offense? 

There are just a lot of personnel problems. It’s the first year in Oxford for Kiffin and his staff, so they don’t have their own recruiting class to work with and didn’t really have time to recruit for that matter. The defense would be leaps and bounds better if defensive back Otis Resse was allowed to play, but he is currently fighting for a transfer waiver from the NCAA.

Because of the Rebel secondary not having Reese and essentially being in shambles, I see the Kentucky passing attack having some success.

Who are the X-Factors for Ole Miss this week?

Offensively, it’s Elijah Moore. The junior wideout was the biggest benefactor of Corral’s sharpness versus Florida, and I think he will be again on Saturday. According to Kiffin, Moore’s goal is to break the school receptions record – even with the shortened season – and he’ll have to be targeted often to do so.

On the defensive side, the entirety of the secondary got torched by Florida last week as Kyle Trask threw for 416 yards and 6 touchdown. If it can put up a better resistance to Terry Wilson, that’d be huge for the Rebels chances to walk out of Lexington with a win. 

Who wins the game? Why? Score?

I’m predicting a shootout, with Ole Miss winning 35-28. After week one, the offense’s momentum and positive takeaways should lead them to victory against a Kentucky team that played good but not great in its first game.