By Russell Lorentz, Vandy Insider
Vanderbilt Game Preview:
Vanderbilt (3-3), (0-3 SEC) vs. Ole Miss (2-3), (0-2 SEC)
Line: Ole Miss -3.5
When: Saturday, Oct. 14th, 2017, 2:30 p.m., SEC Network
Site: Vaught-Hemingway Stadium – Oxford, Miss.
Vanderbilt is entering the second half of the 2017 season after dropping its last three contests. The ‘Dores are looking to bounce back against Ole Miss on Saturday in Oxford. Vanderbilt looks to pick up their second victory against the Rebels in as many seasons, after a resounding 38-17 victory in Nashville.
Shea Patterson and a pass-first Ole Miss offense might be playing into Vanderbilt’s one current strength defensively. Patterson and the potent Rebel pass attack (358.4 yards per game) prove to be one of the top passing attacks in the SEC.
However, the Vandy defense surrenders just 140.3 yards per contest through the air. Head Coach Derek Mason hinted that Ole Miss will scratch “where it itches,” as he expects the Rebels to emphasize the ground game.
Vanderbilt currently struggles mightily against the run giving up 241 yards per game. By the same token, the Rebels surrender 248 rush yards defensively per game, defensively while rushing for a league-worst 76.7 yards per game offensively. Vanderbilt’s Defensive line anchored by Nifae Laelao and Jay Woods and Linebackers Charles Wright and Emmanuel Smith must be big on Saturday.
Vanderbilt looks to find balance on offense, as the duo of Khari Blasingame and Commodore All-Time Rushing Leader Ralph Webb account for just three scores, after 23 a year ago. The offensive line is key, as Vanderbilt looks to provide breakout star Kyle Shurmur a ground game.
Players to Watch:
Sophomore QB Shea Patterson: 66.3%, 1,792 pass yds., 13 TD, 6 INT
Sophomore WR A.J. Brown: 27 rec., 504 yds., 4 TD
Sophomore WR Van Jefferson: 26 rec., 254 yds.
Senior DE Marquis Haynes: 19 tackles, 3 TFL, 1 sack
Junior CB Ken Webster: 10 tackles, 1 TFL, 1 PBU
Junior QB Kyle Shumur: 56.8%, 1,157 pass yds., 14 TD (2 rushing), 1 INT
Senior RB Ralph Webb: 87 car., 245 yds., 3 TD
Sophomore WR Kalija Lipscomb: 12 rec., 211 yds., 4 TD
Junior LB Charles Wright: 25 tackles, 6.5 Sacks (SEC Sack Leader)
Sophomore CB JoeJuan Williams: 22 tackles, 5 PBU, 1 FF