Alabama Crimson Tide vs Ole Miss Rebels: Keys to the Game


Welcome to the craziness that is ESPN College Game Day! The buildup to this game is bigger than any game that has ever been played in the state of Mississippi. The premier national college game day program is hosting their show live from the Grove.

As a part of all this national attention, Ole Miss will have to face the best team in the SEC in Alabama.

The Tide is in a dead heat with Texas A&M offensively with 594 yards per game on offense. Bama QB Blake Sims has almost identical passing totals with Bo Wallace (1343 yds compared to 1342 yds). Nick Saban’s squad has the edge running the ball over Ole Miss, 1034 yds compared to 643 yds for OM.

Fans know what to expect with Alabama, a strong offense that wants to impart their will and a defense that is suffocating.

So far after 4 weeks, Alabama is giving up only 250 yards per game on offense but 75% of those yards are coming through the air. The Alabama secondary is a little weaker than you normally see from a Nick Saban team.

Can Ole Miss and their SEC leading defense take advantage of any Alabama weaknesses? Let’s take a look at the “Keys to the Game.”


After only allowing 103 yards total against Memphis last week, Ole Miss has shown they can stop the run and we already knew they had one of the best defensive back fields in the nation.

Bo Wallace got into a bit of trouble again last week trying to press too hard and blow Memphis out. He went into the halftime break with 2 interceptions and only 1 touchdown.

This week against such a dominant Alabama defense, any mistake by Wallace will be devastating. He has to play within himself, run ball control offense and rely on his top flight defense to keep the score close until some opportunities materialize.

Keeping Amari Cooper covered is a key by itself, as he has 43 receptions, 655 yards and 5 TD’s in 4 games.


How do you play ball control without having a strong run game? This Ole Miss team does not have a Todd Gurley, the offensive line is big but not highly productive in run blocking.

Ole Miss’ best opportunity is to stick with the hurry up offense. You just can’t change your identity and be very successful running the ball against a team like Alabama when you really haven’t done it against non-SEC schools.

Bo Wallace can move the chains by executing the short passing game to spread out the defense and make it easier to run. Passing to set up the run is not that unusual these days and Coach Freeze is a specialist.

If Wallace can’t get some first downs and give his defense a break, Alabama will break through and score quickly.


Alabama is the road team, this is QB Blake Sims’ first SEC road game and it may be the best defense he will face all year.

Ole Miss will have the crowd behind them, the emotional edge will be firmly in Ole Miss’ corner, so if you are Ole Miss or Bo Wallace you have to keep the pressure on Alabama.

It’s a bit easier to say this than to do it, but as a player you have to play loose and not put too much of the performance of the team on yourself. Bo is actually the poster child for this and he would tell you that himself.

Ole Miss is in a great position to win this game as long as they don’t give Alabama advantages by making mistakes in turnovers or miscommunication on plays.

In college football, the emotional/mental edge can be the difference in the game. Ole Miss will never have a better opportunity that right now to step to the front of college football again. It’s time!