Predictions Anyone?

The long and rambling game analysis during an FCS week doesn’t leave for much drama before I finally get to the pick at the bottom.

I get the David and Goliath stuff, I really do. And being a proud graduate of an FCS team myself – Northeast Louisiana, national champions 1987 – I’m a fan of small-college football. They play good football at that level. Sometimes they don’t play it with as many good players.

It’s not terribly uncommon to see organized, well-coached programs β€œget them one” against a Division I school, and there were several examples of that last week.

The best NLU could claim when I was working with student media was a Stan Humphries-led 34-24 win at Southern Miss in 1987. The Indians, while 1-0 against Brett Favre, ran out of gas in College Station a couple of years prior. They played well at Texas A&M in 1985, but Jackie Sherrill punched one in late and ran up the score to win 31-17.

So good FCS teams can really shake things up as Jacksonville State demonstrated in Oxford not that long ago.

I just don’t think Southeast Missouri State represents a good FCS team right now. The Redhawks — 6-17 in their last 23 games — lost 45-7 at Southeastern Louisiana last week. I know Strawberry Stadium, once the home venue of Lions coach Billy Brewer, can be a difficult place to play, but c’mon.

It’s OK for me to write these things, but it’s not OK for Ole Miss coaches and players to voice the same opinions.

I suspect the Rebels won’t be caught completely off guard. If they come out focused and execute on offense the game should be well in hand at halftime. That’s the best case scenario, allowing rest for the ailing and experience for the young.

If SEMO is to have success on offense it will need Ole Miss defenders to do something they’ve done a bit through last week and last season and that’s play undisciplined football in terms of eye placement. Looking in the wrong place leads to assignment busts, and those busts can be a big problem against an option football team.

If the Ole Miss front seven plays assignment sound it should be able to slow down the Redhawks.

SEMO averaged 4.6 yards a carry against Southeastern, rushing for 206 yards on 46 carries.

In response, Southeastern also had success on the ground, rushing for 309 yards on 50 carries.

While falling behind early the Redhawks never did get into passing mode, throwing the ball just 19 times.

While the Rebels work different people at corner in an effort improve a pass defense taken to the woodshed by Jordan Matthews, there won’t be much that a guy like Mike Hilton can take from this game other than lining up and getting a little taste of playing corner with the lights on.

Hilton worked a good deal with the first team during the week. We’ll see what that means for him in terms of a starting role. Senquez Golson should play more too, and that’s a good thing.

The Rebels should be able to run the ball and control the clock. Look for more than Jeff Scott and Bo Wallace to get into the act, though Freeze may choose to rest I’Tavius Mathers another weeks. Mathers, Freeze says, makes the Rebels better in short-yardage offense.

Borrowing a line from Ole Miss writer Neal McCready here. If we’re talking about Southeast Missouri when Saturday night turns to Sunday morning something has gone horribly wrong.

The Rebels need to answer the bell quickly and take control early. Rest people if you can, but don’t have a half-hearted performance that leaves you wondering just how ready you are to take on Texas the following week.

Prediction: Ole Miss 42, Southeast Missouri State 13

Denham Springs, La., native, Mississippian since 1989 with a stop in Meridian before arriving in Tupelo. Daily Journal beat writer since 1996, covering Ole Miss since 2002. Proud Northeast Louisiana alum. Follow me on Twitter @parrishalford and listen to John Davis and myself daily with The Ole Miss Beat on Rebel Sports Radio.

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  • UMBBFan

    Ole Miss 49. SEMO 7. However it may not be until the second half that this game becomes a blowout.

  • JB

    #9 ranked Gators over Miami Hurricanes at Coral Gables. Gator got starting line up back, with an outstanding Running back in Matt Jones.

    MIssissippi 35 SEMO 21. Mississippi defense leaky

    • Killer_Beeze

      JB…where’d you come up with 21 points for SEMO and 14 pt. Rebel victory?
      The pros in Vegas have Ole Miss a 49 point favorite. They had Ole Miss beating Vandy by 3 pts. and were pretty much right on the money$.
      I would be surprised if SEMO scores a touchdown. Maybe in the final minutes of the 4th quarter when the 3rd string is in. Based on talent…the Rebels are light years ahead of this Saturday’s opponent and it could be ugly. πŸ™‚

      • JB

        A bit of sympathy for the underdog πŸ™‚

        • Killer_Beeze

          My motto: take no prisoners. Ooh Rah!

  • JB

    Accoding to Yahoo Sports The payout is $375,000 for that one.

    • Parrish Alford

      As buyout games go that’s a bargain.

  • papatoLC

    Rebels 52 SEMO 7 I don’t really think SEMO will score. Ole Miss plays lots of people even in close games. It was Ward listed as third team that hit the Vandy QB just after he released the 4 and 18 pass. If Ole Miss is ready they could be close to our final scores at half time.

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