Mark Robinson

Ole Miss senior linebacker Mark Robinson sizes up the Arkansas backfield in a 52-51 Rebel win over the Razorbacks on Oct. 9, 2021.

Quarterbacks

Ole Miss quarterback Matt Corral wasn’t at his sharpest against Texas A&M — he threw for 247 yards and a touchdown but missed a few throws he normally makes — but was still enough of an overall threat to help the offense rack up 504 yards against a stout Aggies defense. Corral told reporters his ankle is feeling better, which could lead to him being a threat in the run game once again. He’s as important a player as there is in college football.

Edge: Ole Miss

Running backs

Jerrion Ealy had the most productive day of his Ole Miss career against Texas A&M, rushing for a career-best 152 yards. The Rebels ran for 257 yards, the highest total the Aggies have surrendered all season. Henry Parrish Jr. and Snoop Conner had moments throughout the game as well. Vanderbilt’s top-two running backs, Rocko Griffin and Patrick Smith, have a combined 621 rushing yards; three different Ole Miss backs have at least 500 rushing yards.

Edge: Ole Miss

Wide receivers and tight ends

The Rebels are getting healthy. Dontario Drummond played last week, as did Braylon Sanders. Jonathan Mingo was dressed as well, though he did not see any action. When each part of the trio is available, it’s as dangerous a receiving corps as there is in college football. Vanderbilt’s Chris Pierce and Will Sheppard are having nice years (496 yard and 466 yards, respectively), but they don’t impact a game the way the Rebels’ receivers do.

Edge: Ole Miss

Offensive line

Ole Miss’ productive running game against Texas A&M was built up front. The Rebels’ offensive line dominated a fierce A&M front-seven in a way that not many teams had been able to do in 2021. The Commodores rush for just 114.9 yards per game, which ranks 109th nationally. The offensive line simply has not gotten it done for Vanderbilt.

Edge: Ole Miss

Defensive line

Sam Williams is, quite simply, one of the best pass rushers in America. He already has a program-record 10.5 this season with two games left to play. Vanderbilt’s leading sack producer, Jaylen Mahoney (two sacks), is a cornerback.

Edge: Ole Miss

Linebackers

Vanderbilt’s Anfernee Orji is having a solid sophomore season, leading the team with 72 tackles 9.5 for loss). Chance Campbell and Mark Robinson have been, in a word, spectacular for Ole Miss in recent weeks. It was Ashanti Cistrunk, however, who made the play of the game for the Rebels against Texas A&M. His interception deep in Aggies territory set up a decisive touchdown run from Conner that put Ole Miss up two scores.

Edge: Ole Miss

Secondary

Vanderbilt is second in the SEC in interceptions this season (12) and is the only team in the conference with four players having at least two picks. That being said, the Rebels’ secondary has been stellar for the most part recently. Safety A.J. Finley’s pick-six late against Texas A&M essentially sealed the Ole Miss win.

Edge: Ole Miss

Special teams

For better or worse, Vanderbilt punter Harrison Smith has plenty of experience this season, having punted the ball 63 times (tied for third most nationally). Kicker Joseph Bulovas is just 11 of 16 on field goal tries. Ole Miss punter Mac Brown averages 44.2 yards per punt and kicker Caden Costa, the reigning SEC Freshman of the Week, is 13 of 16 on field goals this year.

Edge: Ole Miss

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