After a sleep-walkish performance at home Saturday against Northern Illinois, the Kentucky Wildcats heads to Oxford, Mississippi for the first time since 2011 to take on the Ole Miss Rebels and Lane Kiffin.
This will be the third meeting between the teams in five years, with Ole Miss winning both games in Lexington (2017, 2020) and both coming down to the wire. DK Metcalf caught a game-winning touchdown in 2017 and Kentucky missed a crucial PAT in 2020 that propelled the Rebels and gave first year head coach Lane Kiffin his first win at Ole Miss.
Both teams come into the game 4-0 after a sluggish win in their prior game.
The early odds from DraftKings Sportsbook have Ole Miss nearly favored by a touchdown as 5.5-point favorites. There’s currently no over/under.
ESPN’s predictor gives the Rebels a 78.5% chance to win on Saturday.
Let’s break down the head-to-head stats.
Will Levis comes into the game having thrown 1,185 yards, 10 touchdowns, and only four interceptions. Levis’ 10 TD’s through four games are the most since Andre Woodson’s 11 touchdowns in the 2007 according to UK Statistician Corey Price.
Ole Miss’ Jaxson Dart comes into the game with just 697 yards, five touchdowns and two interceptions. A change in script from Matt Corral last season. Dart’s highest outing was 207 yards against Georgia Tech, where he threw zero touchdowns and one pick in a 42-0 win.
On the flip side, Kentucky’s offensive line has allowed 16 sacks through four games, an average of 4 per game. Ole Miss’ defense is allowing just 312 yards per game, 193 through the air and 119 on the ground.
The Rebels’ defense has gotten to the quarterback 13 times so far in 2022 and forced seven takeaways.
The Kentucky defense has only managed to get six sacks this season and has forced just 4 takeaways. However, Kentucky’s defense isn’t turnover heavy, as the Kentucky secondary has only allowed on touchdown through the air this year and that came at the hands of the Huskies’s on Saturday night (and it wasn’t even the quarterback that threw it.)
The big story heading into Oxford is the return of Chris Rodriguez, who looks to spark a struggling Kentucky running game. Leading rushing Kavosiey Smoke (263 yards) will revert back to his change-up role with Rodriguez back in the starting lineup.
Will a struggling Wildcats offensive line be able to create enough space for Rodriguez to run through?
If Kentucky wants to win the game, they need Levis to play well and mistake-free, Rodriguez to re-establish himself as the best running back in the Southeastern Conference, and for the defense to shut down Jaxson Dart and the Rebels pass game.
Game: Kentucky Wildcats at Ole Miss Rebels
When: 12:00 pm EST on October 1
Where: Kroger Field in Lexington, KY
TV Channel: ESPN
Online Stream: WatchESPN
Odds: Ole Miss -5.5 via DraftKings.
Early Prediction: TeamRankings has Ole Miss winning 30-25.