Ole Miss football 2024 opponent preview: Furman football

The first game of the 2024 season should be a win for Ole Miss, taking on Furman in Oxford. Their opponents were one of the top sides from the FCS last season.
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We are edging closer to the 2024 college football season, which has the potential to be one of the greatest in its history. Ole Miss hopes that's the case for its program as it embarks on a potential journey to the College Football Playoffs.

Before they get to their demanding SEC schedule, the Rebels have four out-of-conference games that they should be able to mark in the win column, with no disrespect to the opposition. First up in week 1 on August 31 is Furman from the FCS.

Who are the Furman Paladins?

The University of Furman in South Carolina played its first football game in 1889 as an Independent school. The university briefly went without a football team, but since 1936, it has been part of the Southern Conference in the Football Championship Subdivision.

Furman's only National Championship came in 1988 under the late Jimmy Satterfield. The Paladins have been champions of the Southern Conference 15 times, the latest coming last season. Seven were shared, with eight outright wins.

The offense

Starting quarterback from the 2023 season, Tyler Huff, has departed, with the likelihood that redshirt sophomore Carson Jones could start against Ole Miss. When Huff was injured, Jones came in against Chattanooga, starting the next two games. Jones did not make plays with his legs, something that Huff did, which caused problems for the defenses they faced. It will be interesting to see if there is a quarterback behind Jones who could offer a dual-threat option.

If Jones were to be the starter, they would have a couple of running backs who caused problems in their limited snaps last season. Junior Myion Hicks averaged 6.4 yards from 36 carries. Huff and starting running back Dominic Roberto had 287 carries between them in 2023. Roberto has no eligibility left, so expect Hicks, Jayquan Smith, and Grant Robinson to be potential guys in the backfield against Ole Miss. Their top three productive wide receivers return from the 2023 season

The defense

Furman had a strong defense last season, allowing under 300 yards per game if you take away the 595 yards South Carolina had in their week 2 game. The secondary has taken some hits, losing a high amount of production. Cornerback Ivan Yates transferred to Colorado, while Micah Robinson transferred to Tulane. The safety position also lost players who burned their eligibility.

The team's defensive front has kept most of its starting production despite losing Jack Barton, who transferred out Furman return their top two returning sack leaders, Evan DiMaggio and Luke Clark. Defensive end Jeremiah Jackson and defensive lineman Xavier Stephens also return. This will give the new-look Ole Miss offensive line something to think about in week 1.

The verdict

This should be a nice runout for Ole Miss if they don't take Furman lightly. The offensive line will look a little different for the Rebels, and the Furman defensive line can test them to some extent. I can't see anything but an Ole Miss win, with the chance to get some backups some game time.