(3) Ole Miss-(25) Florida
Time: 7 PM ET, Oct 3 2015 (ESPN)
Spread: MIS -7.5
Betting odds c/o Bovada
This week will feature two of the better SEC teams squaring off when No. 3 Ole Miss visits No. 25 Florida in a game that will be televised on ESPN. Both squads are 4-0 and 2-0 in the SEC, but it is Ole Miss who will be favored by 7.5 points in the game. The point total is set at 51 by college football oddsmakers.
All eyes in this matchup will be turned to Ole Miss’ receiving corp and Florida’s secondary. “That should be a fun matchup,” Gators coach Jim McElwain said of it. Most highlighted of it will be Ole Miss WR Laquon Treadwell and Gators CB Vernon Hargreaves III, as both were blue chip prospects in the 2013 class. Both still are, this time with their eyes set on the NFL.
Treadwell stands a full three inches taller than Hargreaves but both are pretty evenly pitted, even according to the memory of Treadwell, who commented of their matchup in the All-American game three years ago, “He made a couple plays on me, and I made a couple on him.”
Treadwell has made a lot of plays this season though, leading Ole Miss in both receptions (22) and total receiving yards (332). He has scored just one TD, but Ole Miss has 13 total reception TDs, led by Quincy Adeboyejo’s five.
The 6’3” WR Adeboyejo is having a breakout season after recording just 313 receiving yards last year as a true sophomore. This year, he’s posting an incredible 22.4 yards per catch, and half his receptions have gone to the end zone. Cody Core is yet another major weapon by the Rebels, as he has the second most yards (320) and second most catches (14) while also having accounted for three TDs on the year.
The backfield, too, has experienced its success for Ole Miss. Jaylen Walton, Jordan Wilkins and Eugene Bradley all have over 100 yards and have combined as a trio for six of Ole Miss’ 13 rushing TDs. Walton is the highest usage back with 42 carries for 269 yards, and he also leads the team in rushing TDs with three. Wilkins is the No. 2 back with 27 carries for 146 yards.
QB Chad Kelly has been the key to the engine though. He’s thrown 71 of 115 (61.7 percent) for 1,219 yards with a 10.6 yard per attempt average. Kelly has 10 TDs on the year and just three INTs while posting an absurd passer rating of 174.3.
In addition, Kelly has rushed for another 57 yards on 19 tries while scoring three TDs, one of which was a 20-yard jaunt. The 6’2” junior did not play last season after sitting out as a transfer (from Clemson), and was scarcely a factor as a freshman, but he has made the absolute most of his time thus far this season.
Florida is ranked No. 25 but it has nearly fallen in each of the past three weeks, with no margins of victory being greater than a TD. It escaped with a 28-27 win over Tennessee last week, which marked its 11th straight over the Volunteers. Freshman Antonio Callaway caught a 63-yard pass with 1:26 left in the game to clinch it for the Gators.
Gators QB Will Grier threw 23 of 42 in the game for 283 yards with two TDs and one INT, posting a QBR of 51.3. He got a lot of help from his backfield, or at least Kelvin Taylor, who rushed 19 times for 102 yards and a pair of TDs. Callaway led all receivers with 112 yards, though Florida had four guys who caught at least five passes (Brandon Powell, Jake McGee and DeMarcus Robinson being the other three).
The Gators trailed at the half 17-7 but were able to put the clamps on the Vols in the second half defensively.
The Gators have yet to allow more than 27 points in a game and are allowing just 18.2 points per contest, but Ole Miss is strong on that end of the football too, allowing 19.2 points per game. It is the Rebels though who have the more high powered offense, averaging 54.8 points per game and 543.5 total yards. Comparatively, Florida is a much more humble 33.5 points and 404 yards.
The Gators do also allow less total yards per game (202.2 vs. 193.2 for Florida). Who will lose its first game of the season and first SEC contest? Most likely Florida. Oddsmakers favor Ole Miss by 7.5 points but it is easy to see the Rebels covering the spread with its high powered offense.
While the Gators have the secondary to matchup with it, Ole Miss is a dominant offensive team that will be difficult to stop this season. It is also well worth mentioning that nine Gators players battled flu like symptoms this week, amongst which was Grier who should be able to go but likely will not be at 100 percent.