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Sept. 17, 2016, Mississippi tight end Evan Engram (17) is tackled by Alabama defensive back Shyheim Carter (5) and linebacker Rashaan Evans (32) in Oxford, Miss. No. 23 Mississippi (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

CFB Preview: Alabama Faces Road Test against Ole Miss

A pair of SEC West foes are ready for a duel in Dixie Saturday night.

The No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide heads on the road for a 7 p.m. showdown in Oxford against the Ole Miss Rebels.

Past Meetings

(AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

The last time these two teams met was on Sept. 30, 2017. Alabama cruised to a 66-3 win over the Rebels in Bryant-Denny Stadium.

The Tide forced two interceptions from now-Michigan quarterback Shea Patterson and sacked him five different times. Nick Saban’s squad steamrolled the Rebels with 613 yards of total offense in the game and didn’t allow them to convert a single third down.

The last time these teams met in Vaught-Hemingway Stadium was in 2016 where a freshman Jalen Hurts led a 21-point comeback to eek out a 48-43 win. Hurts accounted for 304 of Alabama’s 492 total yards on that day.

The Unstoppable Force vs. The Immovable Object

Ole Miss will head into the game boasting one of the nation’s best offenses:

  • 3rd in scoring (61.5)
  • 8th in total offense (596 YPG)
  • 2nd in passing offense (407.5 YPG)

Meanwhile, Alabama comes in as always with a sturdy defense:

  • Allowing just over 10 points per game
  • Allowed only three passing TDs
  • Forty-seven percent completion percentage allowed
  • T-15th with three interceptions

Mississippi Head Coach Matt Luke said in the weekly SEC coaches teleconference this Alabama team has good, sound and well-coached players on defense with a scheme similar to what Crimson Tide teams have shown in the past.

He said the Crimson Tide still has their usual physical offensive line and stable of running backs, but now it has an added element with the inclusion of the run-pass option into the offense.

Saban on RPOs:

But, Saban gave credit to the talent on Ole Miss’s team as well.

“We’re going to face some very good receivers, a good quarterback and a very prolific offensive team that has a lot of weapons,” Saban said.

Potential Quarterback Duel

This game will feature two talented quarterbacks in Ole Miss’s Jordan Ta’amu and Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa.

Both quarterbacks come in with seven touchdowns apiece as Ta’amu earned his through the air while Tagovailoa has six through the air and one on the ground.

Tagovailoa seems to be flourishing already in just two starts for the Tide in the 2018 season with a completion percentage over 71 percent and 455 yards passing.

Matt Luke on what makes Tagovailoa successful:

Ta’amu currently ranks first among all Power 5 quarterbacks in total passing yards and passing yards per game. His 784 yards and 392 YPG are trailed by Heisman front-runner Will Grier in that category.

Where, When and How to Watch

Where: Vaught-Hemingway Stadium, Oxford, Mississippi

When: 7 p.m. EST, 6 p.m. central

How to watch: ESPN

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