In case you didn’t know, the Alabama Crimson Tide will be trying to snap a two-game losing streak to Ole Miss today. The nation’s top-ranked team travels to Oxford for a Saturday afternoon kickoff for both team’s SEC opener. As the countdown to kickoff winds down, I make a few final predictions before the game.
Ole Miss rushes for more than Alabama.
This prediction is the one I feel least confident in but it’s about the same confidence I have in Alabama’s offensive line. Rebel running back Akeem Judd has shown big play ability and has the speed to get around the edge against the Tide’s defensive front. It may not be consistent but I think Judd can go for 75-plus yards. Add that to Chad Kelly’s ability to scramble and Ole Miss may put up decent rushing numbers. Damien Harris and Bo Scarbrough are good backs but the Ole Miss defense has allowed less than four yards per carry and they played Dalvin Cook, arguably the best back in the country.
Chad Kelly has more turnovers than touchdowns.
Kelly’s confidence is sky high going into this game, and it should be with how he performed in Tuscaloosa last season. However, the Tide’s secondary may be even stronger this year. Minkah Fitzpatrick, Marlon Humphrey and Eddie Jackson are takeaway machines and they’ll get plenty of opportunities today with how often Ole Miss is expected to throw. Add in a strip-sack by Jonathan Allen or Tim Williams and I think the turnovers become too much for Chad Kelly.
ArDarius Stewart finishes the day with the most all-purpose yards for both teams.
The Ole Miss secondary has allowed opposing quarterbacks to complete 62.3 percent of their passes. Top cornerback Tony Bridges will likely be on Calvin Ridley most of the day but that should free up ArDarius Stewart to face a guy like Tony Conner. Conner is very talented but has seen some struggles this year. He will also have to help out with many other receivers throughout the game with the lack of experience in the back of the Rebels secondary. I expect Stewart to get 8 to 10 touches and be a major factor for Alabama today.
Defenses step up and the game falls below the 52.5 O/U line.
That is a high over/under line but that’s probably for good reason. Both teams have shown high powered offense but the difference today will be the defenses. Each team has a major strength with their front-seven and there is plenty of talent in both teams’ secondaries. You might be sweating until the end if you bet on the under but I expect the defenses to make plays and probably a few offensive drives stall with field goals.
Ole Miss covers the spread but Alabama stops the streak.
Alabama has the edge in most areas but Ole Miss is at home and may continue to have luck on their side. I don’t think it matters though. I expect Jalen Hurts to have another strong performance. Alabama has not lost since the 2015 meeting with the Rebels and they should make it 15 straight wins on Saturday. I’ve got the Crimson Tide winning the conference opener on the road, defeating Ole Miss 27-16.
Caleb Turrentine is a columnist and contributor at Touchdown Alabama Magazine. He also does work for Alabama’s team page at Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter, @CalebTurrentine.