NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Vanderbilt hosts Mississippi on Saturday. Kickoff is scheduled for 3 p.m. and the contest will be televised live by the SEC Network.
Vandy has not played since Oct. 10, when it fell at home to South Carolina. The Commodores had their game with Missouri (Oct. 17) postponed before a scheduled bye week Oct. 24.
Ole Miss (1-4, 1-4 SEC) has dropped three in a row after a 35-28 defeat to Auburn at home last week.
Vanderbilt and Ole Miss have faced each other 94 previous times with the Rebels holding a 52-40-2 advantage in the series.
Saturday’s contest is also the second “Set The Expectation” game for the Vanderbilt program.
Here is more on how to watch, listen and follow Saturday’s contest as well as five key matchups at Vanderbilt Stadium when the Commodores (0-3, 0-3 SEC) face the Rebels:
When: 3 p.m. Saturday
Location: Vanderbilt Stadium
Television: SEC Network
Dave Neal (play-by-play), DJ Shockley (analyst), Dawn Davenport (sideline)
Hosted by Kevin Ingram, the Commodore Tailgate Show will stream live on Vanderbilt Athletics’ Twitter account, Facebook account, YouTube channel, VUCommodores.com and the Vanderbilt Commodores app. In addition to pregame commentary, the show will include exclusive segments with coaches and guests.
Vanderbilt IMG Sports Network
Announcers: Joe Fisher (play-by-play), Norman Jordan (analyst), Kevin Ingram (sideline)
On-Air Time: 3 p.m.
Pregame Show: 2 p.m.
Affiliates: WQZQ 830 AM, 93.3 FM, 101.9 Nashville; WNSR 560 AM, 59.9 FM Nashville; WALV 105.1 FM Chattanooga; WEKR 1240 AM Fayetteville; WJJM 1490 AM, 94.3 FM Lewisburg; WMPS 1210 AM, 103.1 FM Memphis; KASR 92.7 FM Conway, Arkansas
SiriusXM: 192 and 190
SiriusXM online: 963 and 961
Facebook: Vanderbilt Athletics
Game day hashtag: #RTI | #ANCHORDOWN
65 degrees at kickoff, 10 percent chance of rain
1. OFFENSE VS. DEFENSE, SIMPLY
Vanderbilt has struggled to get its new offense in gear under the direction of offensive coordinator Todd Fitch and freshman quarterback Ken Seals. The Commodores are averaging just 8.7 points per game and have totaled 14 second-half points in three games.
But the opportunity appears to be there to find the end zone against the Ole Miss defense. The Rebels have surrendered 44.6 points per game and at least 33 points in each of their first five games.
Vandy’s offense has also had extra time to put together an offensive gameplan, which could bode well in Saturday’s matchup.
2. (NOT OLE MISS) RED ZONE
Part of Vanderbilt’s offensive struggles have included the inability to put points on the board after crossing over the opponents’ 20-yard line.
Vandy is 3 of 8 in such trips this season – two of those three scores have been touchdowns. None of those scores have come via a rushing attempt. Vanderbilt head coach Derek Mason said this week his team put added focus on executing in the red zone.
Ole Miss comes into Saturday’s affair having allowed 25 scores out of 28 chances to stop their opponents inside the red zone.
3. EYES ON THE QB(S)
The Rebels will bring two dangerous weapons to town in quarterbacks Matt Corral and John Rhys Plumlee.
Plumlee, a sophomore, ran for 165 yards and threw for another 99 in Ole Miss’ win over Vanderbilt in 2019. Corral has already thrown for 1,434 yards and 12 touchdowns this season.
Vandy’s defense will have to play its best defensive game of the season as it guards against the dual-threat capabilities of both Plumlee and Corral. Containing not one, but both, of the Ole Miss signal callers will be imperative if the Commodores have any hope of coming away with a victory.
4. GET TO EARY, EARLY
Jerrion Ealy is averaging 5.1 yards per carry and 85.8 yards per game on the ground. A sophomore, Ealy had 97 yards on just four attempts in 2019 during the Rebels’ win over Vanderbilt.
Vandy’s defense has surrendered 211 yards per game on the ground, which ranks 84th nationally – although the inflation of that number came after South Carolina piled up 289 yards on the ground Oct. 17.
So not only will the Commodores need to track Corral and Plumlee behind center, they’ll have to account for Early at all times. If they don’t do that from the start, it could get late early.
5. CONTINUE TAKING IT AWAY
Vanderbilt’s defense has secured at least one takeaway in all three games this season. That trend needs to continue against an Ole Miss unit which has given it away 10 times already – and seven of those came in one game.
Rebel quarterbacks have thrown a whopping nine interceptions so the Commodores in the secondary should be excited about the opportunity to take some throws the other way.
Chad Bishop covers Vanderbilt for VUCommodores.com. Follow him @MrChadBishop.