Alabama’s second conference game is scheduled for Saturday, September 30 against Ole Miss in Bryant-Denny Stadium.
Ole Miss (2-1) vs. Alabama (4-0)
When: 8 p.m. (CT)
Where: Bryant-Denny Stadium
Radio: 102.9 FM
Line: Alabama by 27.5
Honorary captains Johnny Davis and Mike Tucker will be available for autographs at the Bryant Museum from 2:30-3:30 p.m.
Davis was a wishbone fullback for Alabama from 1974-77, rushing for 2,519 yards and 19 touchdowns during his career. He was All-SEC and second-team All-American in 1977.
Tucker was named a permanent captain after the 1977 season. He led the team in interceptions in 1976 and 1977 while playing cornerback, receiving All-SEC honors as a senior.
Need To Know
Gates will open two hours prior to kickoff. Alabama will be following its clear bag policy. Each fan is allowed one large clear bag – either a one-gallon Ziploc style bag or the 12″ by 6″ by 12″ clear bag – plus a small “clutch” purse, no larger than 4½” by 6½”. The larger clear bag must be a standard 12″ by 6″ by 12″ made of clear PVC vinyl. The one-gallon Ziploc bag is readily available, inexpensive and easy to search. The small “clutch” allows privacy for small personal items and also is easily searched.
Players To Watch
Key Stat: Averett had three tackles last week at Vanderbilt.
After giving up a spectacular touchdown catch in the game against Colorado State, Averett bounced back with a solid performance against the Commodores tallying three tackles, including one for a loss, and one pass defense. If Averett is making plays in the secondary the Crimson Tide defense reaches another level. It’s easy to recognize the abilities of playmakers Ronnie Harrison and Minkah Fitzpatrick, but Averett has performed well in a role that intensifies when opposing offenses try to avoid the other stars in the secondary.
Key Stat: Pierschbacher was named SEC Offensive Lineman of the Week after the win against Vanderbilt.
Pierschbacher hasn’t been graded out below 87 percent in the three games this season, and his 90 percent grade against the Commodores is a big reason the Crimson Tide rushed for 496 yards. Pierschbacher was expected to be an anchor on the offensive line this season and he has lived up to the hype. Ole Miss’ defense has been terrible against the run this season, ranking 95th in the country, while Alabama is averaging over 300 rushing yards per game.
Key Stat: Wilson had three solo tackles against Vanderbilt
Wilson recorded three tackles against Vanderbilt, but he also chipped in a pass defense and a quarterback hurry. The speedy Wilson hasn’t recorded a sack for the Crimson Tide this season, but has a knack for getting in the backfield and forcing quarterbacks into quick decisions. The sophomore could play a big role in making it uncomfortable for efficient Ole Miss quarterback Shea Patterson, who has completed 70 percent of his passes this season.
Key Stat: Patterson has thrown for 1281 yards and 11 touchdowns this season.
Patterson is the engine that makes this Ole Miss offense run, but he likes to share the wealth. Five different Ole Miss receivers have caught at least 10 passes so far this season, and Patterson’s ability to scan the entire field is a big reason why. The sophomore will be under a lot of pressure to perform should his running game fail, because the Rebel’s offense is already pass-heavy.
Key Stat: Wilkins leads Ole Miss with 28 carries for 103 yards.
Wilkins’ statistics don’t jump off the page, but his role will be crucial against Alabama. The Rebels can’t let the Crimson Tide defensive line get constant pressure quarterback Shea Patterson, and avoiding that type of scenario begins with any sort of running game. Wilkins should be the lead back for Ole Miss, but his team will need a better effort than the 3.7 yards per carry he is averaging this season. Look for the senior to catch some passes out of the backfield as well.
Key Stat: Gates currently leads Ole Miss in tackles with 25.
Gates was the Rebels’ leading tackler in 2015 and 2016, and should take home that honor for a third-straight year. His first priority against the Crimson Tide will be to stop the run. The Ole Miss defense gave up 170 rushing yards to South Alabama, 219 yards on the ground to UT-Martin, and another 163 yards at California. That’s a mouthwatering statistic to Alabama’s running backs who ran for 496 yards against Vanderbilt last week. Gates will need to lead the way in preventing big plays on the ground.
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