3 Things You Should Know about Ole Miss
A huge early season road trip awaits the top ranked Alabama Crimson Tide Saturday against another ranked team in the No. 17 Ole Miss Rebels.
Ole Miss looks to make history Saturday as a win would give them their first three-game winning streak over Alabama in school history.
As the Rebels and Crimson Tide take to the gridiron for the 64th time in series history, here are three things you should know about the Ole Miss Rebels.
Chad Kelly the Prolific Passer
While a majority of the SEC had questions to answer about their starting signal caller, the Rebels enjoy the return of one of the best quarterbacks in the league. Since his arrival in Oxford, quarterback Chad Kelly has led the Rebels to an 11-4 record including the program’s second 10-win season since 1971. Kelly has averaged 304.9 yards passing per game while completing nearly 65 percent of his passes and tossing 38 TDs compared to 16 interceptions. The senior signal caller has posted nine games with 300 or more yards in his Ole Miss career.
Turnover Margin Key for Ole Miss
While plenty of attention this week has gone to the numerous Alabama turnovers in the prior two meetings, winning the turnover battle has been critical to success under Hugh Freeze. Since 2012, Ole Miss is 17-4 in games where their turnover margin is in the plus column. Conversely, the Rebels are 10-11 where their turnover margin is in the minus territory.
The issue of turnovers has plagued Coach Freeze’s squad on both sides of the ball in their most recent losses dating back to 2015. In losses to Florida, Memphis, Arkansas and Florida State, Ole Miss has a turnover margin of -9 while the defense recorded just one interception.
Vaught-Hemingway Stadium Expansion/Renovation
During the off-season, Ole Miss made significant upgrades to Vaught-Hemingway Stadium including a seating expansion to over 64,000 and a replacement of the playing surface. Approximately 3,500 seats were added to the north end with a portion allocated for Ole Miss students. The expansion also resulted in the bowling of the north end zone and the inclusion of a brand new plaza and bell tower to the north end zone entrance. Other improvements include a new video board and sound system, enhanced stadium lighting and a green space ranging from The Grove to the new north end zone plaza.
The most notable change to Vaught-Hemingway that viewers will see on television is the playing surface. Ole Miss played on either AstroPlay or FieldTurf from 2003-2015. This season, they will return to playing on natural grass. The stadium had a natural grass surface from its opening until 1969 and from 1984-2002.