The Vanderbilt Commodores return this week following a two-week break- one for COVID, one scheduled- as they prepare to host the Ole Miss Rebels and firey head coach Lan Kiffin.
The Rebels are smarting and enter this contest 1-4 overall, having lost three in a row, including last Saturday's loss to Auburn, where the game officials' questionable call contributed to the loss. Afterward, Kiffin took to social media where his comments about the officiating earned him a $25,000 fine from the SEC office on Tuesday.
As for the Commodores, head coach Derek Mason says his squad has enough players available to play the game, though a look at the depth chart this week suggests that some key players -punter Harrison Smith- will be absent.
According to reports on Tuesday, there's also the issue of quarterback Danny Clark, who has left the team. While Clark was not the starter and hasn't seen action this season, it is still another issue for Mason and his team to navigate through.
SO what are we hoping to see on Saturday when the Commodores return to action against the Rebels?
FIVE THINGS WE WANT TO SEE
1) Offense In Action: The Ole Miss defense is not a good one, having given up yards and points by the truckload so far. By contrast, Vanderbilt's offense has been equally bad, struggling to move the football and score points. Something's got to give in this one; either a struggling offense gets healthy and shows some punch or a withering defense finds a way to stop a sputtering offense.
Quarterback Ken Seals and his mates have an opportunity to gain some confidence and experience while making plays that should be available to them in this one. The question is, can they take advantage of what the Rebels porous defense presents them.
2) Passing Game Gets It Going: Yes, this is a continuation of No.1, but Seals and his receivers need to find some rhythm along with some confidence, and this defense is one that can give you both.
This season, the Rebels have allowed a 600-yard output-granted that was Bama- and three 400 yard offense performances against them. No one is expecting Seals to do to them what Mac Jones did, but he should be able to find his first career 300-yard game here, or this offense might not break 2,000 yards in total offense for the season considering the remainder of their schedule.
3) Defense Make A Few Plays: This Ole Miss offense is potent, giving Alabama everything they could handle until late in the game when their defense failed to stop the TIde offense a single time in the second half.
Only Arkansas has managed to slow them down, holding Kiffin's creation to just 21 points in Fayetteville's loss. Auburn held them to 28 last week, though that questionable call might have changed the outcome. Still, that touchdown would have belonged to their special teams.
The Commodores shouldn't expect to shut them out or hold them under any predetermined offensive totals. They must force some turnovers and get a timely stop that could allow their offense a chance to keep pace and perhaps pull one out in the end.