No. 15 Mississippi faces familiar foe Vanderbilt
A look at things to watch in Week 2 of the Southeastern Conference football season:
GAME OF THE WEEK: No. 15 Mississippi vs. Vanderbilt at LP Field in Nashville, Tennessee: It's slim pickings in the SEC this week, with several teams stepping outside of conference to face lower-level opponents. This matchup is one of the few exceptions. Though the Rebels will be favored at the NFL Titans' home field on Saturday, Vanderbilt has won five of the last seven in the series. Ole Miss struggled early before pulling away in a season-opening 35-13 win over Boise State. A convincing win over Vanderbilt would help justify the program's highest ranking since 2009.
BEST MATCHUP: East Carolina QB Shane Carden vs. South Carolina's defense. Carden is in his third season as the starter and has put up big numbers during his time with the Pirates. Now he gets to go against a South Carolina secondary that was torched by Texas A&M quarterback Kenny Hill last week.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS: Tennessee played 21 true freshmen Sunday in a season-opening 38-7 victory over Utah State. That represented a school record for a season opener and the highest total of true freshmen to play for any Football Bowl Subdivision program in the first week of the 2014 campaign. In total, 32 players from that game - 45 percent of the Vols who saw action - were making their Tennessee debuts.
LONG SHOT: Toledo opened its 2013 season by losing back-to-back road games against SEC teams - 24-6 to Florida and 38-23 to Missouri. Now the Rockets get to host an SEC school this week when Missouri comes to town. Missouri coach Gary Pinkel coached Toledo from 1991-2000. Pinkel isn't Toledo's only SEC connection. The Rockets are quarterbacked by Alabama transfer Phillip Ely, who threw for 337 yards and four touchdowns to lead Toledo to a 54-20 victory over New Hampshire in his first game with his new team. ''He has a lot of poise,'' Pinkel said. ''He knows what he's doing. He doesn't sit in the pocket too long and he gets rid of the ball. He's got a very experienced offensive line in front of him, and a lot of other players around him that can play.''
IMPACT PLAYER: Lightning prevented Florida from playing its scheduled season opener with Idaho on Saturday, so this week's game with Eastern Michigan represents QB Jeff Driskel's first game since he broke his right leg against Tennessee last September. Florida's chances of rebounding from a 4-8 season are largely dependent on Driskel's ability to make a successful comeback and thrive in new offensive coordinator Kurt Roper's scheme.
AP Sports Writers Steve Megargee in Knoxville, Tennessee, and David Brandt in Oxford, Mississippi, contributed to this story.