As Week 5 begins, we only have five teams left undefeated in the SEC, and two of those teams will go head-to-head on Saturday when No. 7 Kentucky takes on No. 14 Ole Miss. The Rebels are the favorites this game after Lane Kiffin’s squad moved up to 4-0 with a 35-27 win over Tulsa last week. Dominant on the ground, Ole Miss rushed for more than 1,100 yards through three games behind a scary three-man running back attack from Quinshon Judkins, Zach Evans and Ulysses Bentley IV.
Kentucky also got off to a strong start. The Wildcats beat Florida 26-16 away in Week 2 and shot up the rankings. Quarterback Will Levis was very efficient, completing 67.5% of his passes for 1,185 yards and 10 touchdowns in four games. The defense didn’t retreat early either.
Ole Miss has won its last two games against Kentucky — the only two matchups in the last decade thanks to the SEC’s divisional planning model. However, the victories in 2020 and 2017 totaled four points. Kentucky running back Chris Rodriguez rushed for 133 yards and two touchdowns against the Rebels in the final matchup. Ole Miss holds an all-time advantage of 28-14-1.
Kentucky vs. Ole Miss: Must know
Rodriguez’ return: The Wildcats rank 121th nationally in terms of win rate, but those numbers are set to change quickly this week. Rodriguez, perhaps the top returnee in the SEC, is returning this week. While Kavosiey Smoke has played well, Rodriguez rushed for 1,379 yards and nine touchdowns in 2021 to lead Kentucky to a 10-win season. Mixing Rodriguez with the cast of offensive characters who starred in the first four games should give Kentucky another gear.
Strength over strength: Kentucky coach Mark Stoops came to Kentucky as a defensive head, and the Wildcats were deadly against the run. Great Britain only allows 3.7 yards per carry and kept Florida quarterback Anthony Richardson to just four yards rushing. However, the Rebels are the top rushing team in the SEC by nearly 40 yards. Either Evans or Judkins have rushed for 100 yards in every game this season. Something must give.
Quarterback Fight: Two of the offseason’s most talked-about quarterbacks face off when Will Levis, the likely first-round NFL draft pick, plays blue-chip USC transfer Jaxson Dart. Kentucky’s passing game was the most prolific it had been for Levis’ 10 yards per pass attempt in a while. His only problem was four-to-four game interceptions. Dart was efficient but a little wobbly. He completes 62.2% of his passes but has rushed more than 200 yards. The better performance on Saturday will probably win the game.
How to watch Kentucky vs. Ole Miss live
date: Saturday 1 Oct | time: 12 p.m. ET
location: Vaught-Hemingway Stadium – Oxford, Mississippi
TV: ESPN | Live broadcast: fuboTV (Try it for free)
Kentucky vs. Ole Miss prediction, tips
Featured Game | Ole Miss Rebels vs. Kentucky Wildcats
The Rebels go into the matchup as heavy favorites despite a lower placement. Don’t count out the wildcats, though. Kentucky has a great defensive advantage along with more experience at the quarterback position. Ole Miss’ offensive reputation under Kiffin is well established, but Dart has not been tested against quality defense. That will change this week. Prediction: Kentucky +7
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