September 7, 2006

Ole Miss - Missouri preview

The Match-up: The game will be the fifth
all-time between the Tigers and the Rebels, but the first in the series since
1979. Missouri holds a 3-1 lead in the series, including a 2-0 mark in Columbia.
The Tigers have won two straight over the Rebels, with the last meeting being a
33-7 win for Missouri in 1979. Ole Miss is 1-1 against the Tigers in Jackson,
Miss., having won the first meeting, 10-0, in 1974. The game will be played at
Missouri's Memorial Stadium/Faurot Field that has a capacity of 68,349.

At Stake: Ole Miss played a solid game
against Memphis and showed it could have a winning season and get to the six win
level to return to a bowl game. Missouri is a more experienced team
playing at home and picked by some to be a dark horse team to win their division
in the Big XII. While they carry a dark horse label, Missouri was picked
to finish fifth in its division by one poll. Ole Miss could signal that its
ready for more than a run at a .500 record with a win against the Tigers.
A loss here gives the Rebels less "wiggle room" down the stretch run for a
winning season because while Missouri may be a solid team, it will be an easier
opponent than most teams Ole Miss plays down a stretch run that includes Auburn
and LSU. Missouri has had just four winning seasons since 1983 and two of those
have come over the last three years under head coach Gary Pinkel.

Keys to the Game: 1) Defensive line
play. By the fourth quarter in the opener, the Rebel defensive line was
gassed because players had been in on so many plays without a break.
Orgeron would like to run a two-deep rotation at each of the four positions and
he doesn't have the depth to do that. The line could be a major weakness
that Missouri keys on. 2) Stop missing tackles. The Rebels had more
than 10 missed tackles and those misses sustained several Memphis drives.
3) Build on the offense's success. The offense looked good, but relied on
three players - Brent Schaeffer, Dexter McCluster, and [/db]BenJarvus Green-Ellis[/db].
The Rebels are going to have to get more players involved in the offense
including more receivers and Robert Lane at tight end.

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