#2 Alabama hosts #15 Ole Miss for SEC West Showdown

Nick Saban and Alabama had one regular season loss last season, and that was on October 4th against Mississippi and Hugh Freeze’s bunch. This Saturday, the Crimson Tide (2-0) are home and will host the Rebels (2-0) in a match up of two top 15 teams.

This revenge-style game sets up mainly because of Ole Miss’ 13 unanswered points in the fourth quarter of last year’s game with a game-sealing interception by the Rebels in the end zone with 37 seconds left in the game to ice the upset win.

“It’s one we wish we had back, and I’m sure Blake [Sims] wishes he had it back, and when you call plays and they don’t work you wish you would’ve done something else,” Coach Nick Saban said,  “That’s always the case, but we had a chance on the play; we just didn’t execute it like we needed to, and they made a great play on it.”

Ole Miss has scored 76 and 73 points in their two games this season, but against Tennessee-Martin and Fresno State. Alabama has scored 35 and 37 against Wisconsin and Middle Tennessee respectively. Although neither team is allowing more than 14 points per game, Vegas thinks this one will be pretty high scoring, with an over/under of 53.5 points.

Heading into the third week of the college football season, not many teams really know their identity, playing against non-conference opponents in the first two weeks. Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze is going to use this weekend’s game to truly see what his team is made of.

“I think we are a confident football team that probably doesn’t know exactly what we are yet, and I think we will find out Saturday night in Tuscaloosa as you go and play one of the nations’ elite programs.”

The Rebels have been led by junior quarterback Chad Kelly, who has thrown for 557 yards and six touchdowns in his first season starting. The rushing attack for Ole Miss after two games has been spread out almost perfectly even, with six running backs having six or more carries, and none with more than 15. Five running backs have touchdowns, and six have rushed for over 70 yards.

Both teams are trying to start from scratch at the quarterback position, with Kelly replacing Bo Wallace, and senior Jake Coker replacing Blake Sims. Coker has thrown for 427 yards and two touchdowns, but the real reason Alabama is 2-0 so far is Derrick Henry. The 6-3, 240 junior running back from Yulee, Florida has run for 243 yards on 31 carries with six TDs. Averaging over seven and a half yards a carry is enough to get some praise from your head coach.

“He’s done really, really well for us, but he had an outstanding spring, he had an outstanding camp and I think his confidence has grown in terms of what his expectations are.” Saban boasted.

This SEC West showdown takes place in Tuscaloosa on Saturday night at 9:15, airing on ESPN.

Click below to listen to audio from Saban and Freeze:

Saban on 2014 INT

Freeze on Identity

Saban on Henry

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