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Ole Miss Preview

Alec Smith

The Georgia Bulldogs (-10.5) vs. The Mississippi Rebels

Saturday, November 11th, 2023

Kickoff: 7:00 PM (EST) on ESPN




Head Coach

Kirby Smart

Lane Kiffin

Current Record



Record at School



Career Record




This is the first time a top ten opponent will be traveling to Athens since #1 Tennessee came down in November of 2022. Saturday will be Kirby Smart’s second matchup against the Rebels as UGA’s commander in chief after the fiasco in Oxford in 2016. The Dawgs lost that matchup by a score of 14-45. I had a high school football game across the state on Friday night, stayed up all night, made the seven-hour drive to Ole Miss, and proceeded to watch Chad Kelly and company slice us apart. It is safe to say that it was an unpleasant ride back to Georgia, but the circumstances are whole lot different in 2023. Here are some other notes about the series history between the Dawgs and the Rebs.

·         UGA leads the all-time series 32-13-1

·         UGA is 18-4-1 against OM in Athens

·         UGA is 9-1 in their last 10 against OM

The Dawgs stand alone atop the SEC East standings as of now, but a loss to Mississippi would create a SEC East Championship of sorts next week in Knoxville. Let us dive into a little game preview to see how this one could play out.

Ole Miss Offense

If there is one thing that Lane Kiffin is known for as a HC (ON THE FIELD), it is dynamic offenses. They have the #14 scoring offense in the league, averaging 38.8 PPG. The Rebels have yet to finish outside of the top thirty in PPG during Kiffin’s tenure. It is a relatively balanced attack that relies a little more on the run, with the Rebels averaging 29.7 pass attempts a game compared to 39.7 rushing attempts. The rushing attack is led by the young phenom Quinshon Judkins who has 793 yards and 12 TD’s on the ground this year. Jaxson Dart has been more than solid at the QB position, and he also contributes a lot to the ground game with 88 attempts (2nd on team) for 334 yards and 7 TD’s. Ole Miss has three WR’s with at least 38 catches, 600 yards, and 3 TD’s, those guys being Tre Harris, Jordan Watkins, and Dayton Wade. Per the usual, this Kiffin led offense employs a lot of creativity with sets, motions, and play design, and I believe that UGA will get the entire playbook thrown at them. There is a heavy dose of RPO’s and designed QB runs, which Bulldog defenses have struggled with in the past. You can expect to see the Rebs attack the perimeter in the run game along with a steady flow of read option and play action passing. Their best offensive game of the year so far came against LSU where the Rebels put up 55 points and 706 yards of offense. Of those 706 yards, 317 came on the ground while Dart threw for 389 yards.

As good as this offense is… here is a MASSIVE kicker… OM is currently averaging 45.7 PPG at home this season, but they are averaging 25 PPG on the road. There is also nearly a 200-yard differential between the offense’s performance at home vs. away. The Rebels have only played three away games so far against Tulane (W 37-20), Alabama (L 10-24), and Auburn (W 28-20). Obviously, the numbers will be a little skewed from the 10-point showing in Tuscaloosa, but a strong correlation remains between their offense struggling while playing on the road. The 12th man of Sanford Stadium MUST be a factor for the Bulldogs on Saturday if the Dawgs are looking to cruise past OM. I will actually be in Athens for my first in person game of the season, and I am looking forward to single-handedly causing a false start. The environment should be absolutely electric with College Gameday being in town on top of having the first night game vs. a top ten opponent since #7 Auburn visited Athens in 2020. Since Kirby Smart began at the University of Georgia in 2016, the Dawgs are 11-0 in night games at home, including two victories over top ten opponents (#7 AU in 2020, #7 ND in 2019). In that same timespan, Ole Miss is 8-12 in road night games.

Ole Miss Defense

On the flip side of having daunting offenses, the Rebels have not been known for their defensive prowess, but they have shown some improvement from years past. They are currently giving up 22.9 PPG which is 46th out of 133 FBS teams. That number is down from 25.5 PPGa in 2022. The Rebels have yet to have a top 40 defense under Lane Kiffin, whether that be due to talent, scheme, or offensive T.O.P. issues. Ole Miss has kept their opponents under 20 points only two times this season, with those two being 7 points allowed against Vanderbilt and FCS Mercer. One of the better performances from the Rebel defense this year was keeping Alabama to just 24, but they followed that up by surrendering 49 points and over 600 yards against LSU the week after. Pete Golding is the new Defensive Coordinator in Oxford after serving five years at Alabama in the same capacity. Keeping pace with most modern defenses, the Rebels mostly use a 4-2-5 scheme with 5 DB’s and sometimes 3 LB’s on the field.


A couple of other stats of note for the Rebel defense:



National Rank

Total Defense

365.7 YPGa


Passing Yards Allowed



Rushing Yards Allowed



Team Sacks

31.0 (3.44 PG)


3rd Down Conversion Against

39.8 %


Turnover Margin




According to the numbers, Ole Miss’s defense is a boom or bust unit, with great sack and turnover stats, but middling to below average marks in yardages allowed. They have 21 players with a TFL and 13 players with at least 0.5 sacks, so the pressure can come from a lot of different directions. Of the eleven defensive starters for OM, nine of them are transfers, and ten of them are seniors, meaning there is a lot of experience on that side of the ball for the Rebels. The names that Dawgs fans should be familiar with are FS Trey Washington (leading tackler), DE Jared Ivey (sack leader), CB Zamari Walton (#1 corner), and OLB Suntarine Perkins who has 32 tackles, 5 TFL, and 3.5 sacks. Perkins is one of the only underclassmen who plays significant snaps and for good reason. He was a unanimous 4* and the #2 LB in the 2023 recruiting cycle. With or without Brock Bowers, I believe this Ole Miss defense will have more than they can handle against the Georgia offense. As long as UGA protects Carson Beck and Beck protects the football, the “LandShark” defense will be simply overmatched, especially in the trenches.

Overview and Prediction

This Ole Miss offense is going to score some points, plain and simple. I believe that how many points they score will be determined by how well the OLB’s and safeties contain Jaxson Dart’s legs. Judkins is one of the better RB’s in the conference and is a point of concern, but we all saw how much Auburn hurt us with the QB run. They have big, athletic WR’s that will push Lassiter, Everette, Humphrey, Green, etc. to the limit in man to man. I feel very confident about winning with interior runs against their defensive line, but I also feel as if Carson Beck will have to use his legs more than normal against their pass rush. This will be a great game with a lot of postseason implications, and Kirby Smart does not take those lightly. Trust King Kirby. Trust the Bulldog Faithful making a lot of noise. I like a score in the 43-27 range in the Dawgs favor. That would in fact cover the 10.5 point spread and would go over the game total of 59 points, but the Dawgs have not been a cover team this year, along with the fact that I am not a master gambler, so take that with a grain of salt.

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