This game would not immediately stand out to a casual viewing base when scanning the college football slate. But as the total of 76 implies, get ready for some severe offensive fireworks. This rivalry dates back to 1893, and Tulane represents Ole Miss’s most frequent non-SEC matchup. NFL hopeful QB Matt Corral leads the Rebels and averages 48.5 ppg, good for fifth-best in the nation. Tulane takes it one step further; at 52 ppg, they rank third nationally.
A back and forth battle should ensue, but time to evaluate the best betting value play.
Odds courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook
Tulane comes in led by second-year QB Michael Pratt. Pratt’s numbers do not leap off the stat sheet at 210 ypg and 2.5 touchdowns, though that is primarily due to a runaway game against Morgan St. last week. This Tulane team caught everyone’s attention nationally with Oklahoma’s close 40-35 opening week loss. Tulane features a diverse array of offensive production (on the season, 20 players have registered a touch) though JR TE Tyrick James has accumulated the most yards on the attack.
Tulane’s defense has been surprisingly mediocre, ranking 61st in yards allowed. In the second half against Oklahoma, they showed up and surrendered only three points, preventing them from putting the game away and letting the offense the opportunity to come back. They were able to force two interceptions on ballyhooed Oklahoma QB Spencer Rattler. The defensive leaders are excellent linebackers Nick Anderson and Dorian Williams and have proven stout against the run.
Now shift attention to Lane Kiffin’s Rebels and the explosive offense led by QB Matt Corral. Corral has averaged 376 yards of total offense per game, scoring seven touchdowns without a turnover. Senior Dontario Drummond has emerged as Corral’s primary target while totaling 284 yards through the first two games. However, Ole Miss has shown balance on offense, with passing offense and rushing offense both ranking top 14 nationally.
Defensively Ole Miss has improved from the second-worst defense in the NCAA in 2020 at 519 yards per game. Sam Williams has led the defensive line with three sacks while experienced transfer Chance Campbell has helped anchor from the linebacker position. Ole Miss will need to continue to show this defensive improvement if they hope to put Tulane away to cover the 14 point spread.
Ole Miss’s currently improved defense faces their stiffest test of the young season. The Rebels have the potential to pull away, and Lane Kiffin has never been shy about piling on points. Still, Tulane comes in tested with the close loss to Oklahoma. Look for Tulane’s offense to keep up enough to make the two-touchdown spread too much to cover.
Pick: Tulane +14
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