|NEXT OPPONENT||SAN DIEGO STATE|
|GAME TIME||6:30 PM CST|
|LINE||OLE MISS -23.5|
Shea Patterson is the key to Ole Miss on Saturday. Patterson will be starting just his fourth game of his career; however, expectations surrounding the wonderkid quarterback are sky-high. He started the final three games of the season for Ole Miss last season, going 1-2 with an upset of then top-10 ranked Texas A&M. Patterson will look to replace Chad Kelly as the unequivocal leader of the Ole Miss offense. Shea’s skillset has brought on many Johnny Manziel comparisons and the Ole Miss offense will go as Shea Patterson goes.
Cole Garvin was recently named the starting quarterback for South Alabama, beating out last year’s starter, Dallas Davis. Garvin saw limited action during the 2015/16 season. He completed 35 of 64 passes for 463 yards and 4 touchdowns. His best game came against the then ranked San Diego State Aztecs. Against the Aztecs, Garvin completed 16 of 21 passes for 242 yards and three touchdowns. If Garvin brings his A game, he could cause trouble for the suspect Ole Miss secondary.
GAME PREVIEW AND ANALYSIS
Ole Miss has experienced a horrific off-season. The rebels have been hit with an amended Notice of Allegations and saw their Head Coach resign over personal misconduct. They will be eager to get on the field and hit someone else as they have spent weeks in camp smacking each other around. Expect Ole Miss to come out focused, at least until adversity strikes. South Alabama is a dangerous opponent. Ole Miss arch-rival, Mississippi State, found this out the hard way to open the 2016 season. If you recall, South Alabama upset Mississippi State in Starkville.
Ole Miss will lean on an explosive offense led by an equally explosive quarterback. Shea Patterson will look to take the keys of the machine that is the Ole Miss offense. Ole Miss’ receiving core, which is downright nasty, is led by A.J. Brown, D.K. Metcalf, and Van Jefferson. Also, Ole Miss boasts an offensive line they feel is at least 8 deep. The O-Line features former number-1 ranked left tackle Greg Little. However, the offense will go wherever Shea Patterson leads it.
Despite having an explosive offense, the defense is weak, outside of the defensive line. The back seven is a sore spot that has been the topic of vast discussion. Only a few of the 7 slots are reliably anchored. The linebacker core consists of Demarquis Gates and young, potential starters down the line. The secondary, likewise, is Zedrick Woods, Jalen Julius and several maybe’s. Myles Hartfield may be a starting corner, Jalen Jones was one of the top true-freshman corners in the nation last season but has been moved to safety.
Ole Miss should win the game easily, but their defensive weaknesses could see this game be interesting for far longer than Ole Miss fans will like. Most Ole Miss fans want this game to be decided quickly so they can flip over to Alabama/FSU, which is understandable.
Prediction – Ole Miss 48- USA 28.
Also, if you’re a betting person, I’d advise you bet on this game eclipsing the over/under of 57 points.