Week 4 - Ole Miss at Tulane

Posted Sep 20, 2012

Week 4 CFN Fearless Prediction – Ole Miss at Tulane

Ole Miss (2-1) at Tulane (0-2) Sept. 22, 12:00, Fox Sports Networks

Here's The Deal: For the 71st time, Ole Miss meets Tulane, a fellow member of the SEC until 1965. The Rebels are a game over .500, but got humbled at home by Texas a week ago, 66-31, in a reality check game. With a wicked eight-game stretch to finish the season, this trip to the Mercedez-Benz Superdome could be first-year head coach Hugh Freeze's last realistic shot to taste victory in 2012. The Green Wave has had a rocky start to the year for its own rookie coach, Curtis Johnson. The program wasn't particularly competitive in two losses prior to going on a bye week, losing to Rutgers and Tulsa. However, the results on the scoreboard seemed to matter little after S Devon Walker suffered a spinal injury against the Golden Hurricane. The Green Wave will play with heavy hearts as their teammate begins his long and painful recovery.

Why Ole Miss Might Win: The offense has shown signs of life in Freeze's first season, which ought to continue against a bad Tulane D. The Rebels rank second in the SEC in both rushing and total offense, guided by eclectic QB Bo Wallace. The junior-college transfer has already rushed for 143 yards, thrown for 616 more and accounted for eight scores. In RB Jeff Scott and WR Donte Moncrief, he's supported by a couple of big-play skill guys who can provide Ole Miss with the field-stretching plays that it covets. Since returning from injury, Scott is averaging more than 10 yards a carry.

Why Tulane Might Win: Tulane is not Texas on offense, but it'll hope to do a fair impersonation Saturday afternoon. The Ole Miss defense was made to look silly by the ‘Horns, yielding eight touchdowns and almost 700 total yards. The Green Wave will rely on exciting rookie QB Devin Powell and either Rob Kelley or Dante Butler, who is replacing injured RB Orleans Darkwa. Kelley is a bruiser, who can soften the weak interior of the Rebels D-line, and help open up play-action chances for Powell.

What To Watch Out For: Ole Miss needs to return to generating pressure on opposing quarterbacks, which didn't happen versus Texas' David Ash last week. The Rebels had nine sacks in the first two games, both wins, yet none a week ago. Freeze and his assistants will use a variety of different looks and schemes to free up their best defenders. DE C.J. Johnson, LB Mike Marry, Stinger Denzel Nkemdiche and Rover Charles Sawyer are all eager to get up close and personal with Griffin this weekend.

What Will Happen: Tulane probably wasn't beating an SEC team even if Darkwa and injured starting QB Ryan Griffin were available. With the backfield in tatters, points will be tough to come by, even against a leaky defense. Ole Miss will look for its lead from Wallace, who'll keep drives alive by getting the ball in the hands of Scott and Moncrief as much as possible. The Rebels know what lurks ahead on the schedule, and will not squander an opportunity to hammer that rare inferior opponent.

CFN Prediction: Ole Miss 35 … Tulane 16
ATS Consultants Line (Click for more lines and picks) Ole Miss -17.5 O/U: 57.5
Must Watch Rating (5 – Ray Lewis: A Football Life, 1 – Frankenweenie): 1.5