We are within 24 hours of kickoff, so there is no time to tarry. Having already posted two previous installments, I now bring you the conclusion of my breakdown of the Rebels, providing, as always . . . Too Much Information.
The only statistic I don't have handy is how many Mississippi quarterbacks Quentin Moses will kill and eat. (Photograph from Football's Future.)
Odds and Ends
Only one team in the S.E.C. has registered fewer sacks than the five tallied by Ole Miss. The 17 yards lost by Rebel opponents on sacks are the least in the league.
I will confess to being somewhat worried about the second quarter. The 31 points put up on the scoreboard by the Rebels in the second quarter this season exceed the 21 points Mississippi has managed in the other three quarters combined, while the 14 points permitted by the Georgia D in the second period are more than the 11 points allowed by the 'Dawgs in the other 45 minutes of play this autumn.
No team in the conference has gone for it on fourth down more than Ole Miss. No S.E.C. squad has allowed fewer fourth-down conversions than Georgia.
Ole Miss has attained equal numbers of rushing and passing first downs, tallying 31 apiece.
Of the 13 series meetings played in Oxford, six have been decided by margins of eight or fewer points, including three of Georgia's last four trips to Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. The Bulldogs' all-time record against Ole Miss in contests settled by a touchdown or less is 11-3-1.
The Georgia D allows the league's lowest third-down conversion percentage (25.5%). The Mississippi D allows the conference's highest third-down conversion percentage (50.9%). The Rebels' opponents are picking up a fresh set of downs twice as frequently as are the Bulldogs' opponents.
In their game against Missouri, the Rebels allowed three different Tigers to score rushing touchdowns. In their game against Wake Forest, the Rebels allowed three different Demon Deacons to score rushing touchdowns. In Georgia's game against Western Kentucky, three different 'Dawgs scored rushing touchdowns. In the Red and Black's game against U.A.B., three different Bulldogs scored rushing touchdowns.
Georgia has scored 114 points in four games this season. Mississippi has allowed 117 points in four games this season.
Three of the Rebels' four games this fall have been three hours long or shorter, whereas all four of the Bulldogs' outings have lasted longer than three hours. The fact that tomorrow evening's game is being televised nationally virtually ensures a lengthier contest, so it will be interesting to see how Mississippi's players hold up in the fourth quarter.
The 'Dawgs are at +1 in turnover margin, thanks largely to the Red and Black's recovery of a half-dozen fumbles. The Rebs stand at -5 in giveaway/takeaway, and it could be even worse, as Mississippi has fumbled the ball 11 times and fallen on seven of those loose pigskins.
Shown here are the Ole Miss ball carrier (left) and the ball (right). The fact that I have had to distinguish between the two does not bode well for the Rebs.
The Bottom Line
The seven touchdowns scored by Ole Miss are the second-fewest in the conference and the 14 touchdowns allowed by the Rebels are the second-most in the league. The Bulldogs have permitted two T.D.s all year, the least in the S.E.C. The 'Dawgs rank third in the Southeast in scoring defense and the Rebs stand at 11th in scoring offense.
The last six times the Rebels have faced the Red and Black, Georgia has limited Ole Miss to 17 or fewer points. Since last year's loss to Vanderbilt, Mississippi has not scored more than 17 points in any of its last 10 games against B.C.S. conference opponents. Meanwhile, the 'Dawgs have yet to concede more than 13 points to any opponent this season.
Georgia has won six straight series meetings with Ole Miss and scored 20 or more points in seven consecutive contests against the Rebels. The Mississippi defense has spotted the opposition at least 25 points in each of its last eight outings, dating back to the 2005 campaign.
In four games thus far this year, the Rebs have surrendered 31 first-quarter points, 31 second-quarter points, 27 third-quarter points, and 28 fourth-quarter points. The Red and Black, by way of comparison, have given up 25 total points this season in all four quarters of all four games combined.
The Ole Miss defense has allowed its opponents 20 trips inside its 20 yard line, giving up 17 scores in the red zone, 11 of which went for touchdowns. All of those are the most given up by any S.E.C. team.
Historically, this series has been competitive; between 1994 and 1999, six straight games between Georgia and Mississippi were decided by margins of eight or fewer points. However, the last three times these two teams faced one another on the gridiron, the Bulldogs won by final scores of 32-14 in 2000, 35-15 in 2001, and 31-17 in 2002. The gap separating these programs has not narrowed in the interim.
An Ole Miss offense averaging 13.0 points per game is going up against a Georgia defense allowing just 6.2 points per game, while the Rebel D, which already allows 29.2 points to be scored against it in the average outing, must contend with a Bulldog O which, while erratic, nevertheless manages to score 28.5 points per contest.
Actually, the gap may be worse than that, as more than half of Mississippi's 52 points this season came in a 28-point outburst against Memphis in the season opener. Against major conference competition, the Rebels are scoring just 8.0 points per game and surrendering 30.7 points per game.
In other words, we have a shot at a slightly less exciting game this week. (Photograph from Seattle Post-Intelligencer.)
After last week's scare against an 0-3 squad that had lost to a Division I-AA team, the Bulldogs should be focused for a night game on the road against a conference opponent, even if that team is 1-3. I agree with Paul Westerdawg that, when the Red and Black are mentally prepared and executing the game plan, they're good enough to manhandle most of their opponents, the Rebels included.
My prediction: Georgia 34, Ole Miss 14.