Adams: QB Barry Brunetti winning the starting QB job by default when Randall Mackey was arrested for fighting. There was a chance that Brunetti may have won the position anyway, but fans were upset to see it play out how it did.
There is a lot of buzz around the infusion of talent from this years highly rated recruiting class. Fans are excited to see what type of impact freshman receiver Donte Moncrief can have against the smaller BYU secondary.
What is the Ole Miss team’s biggest strength coming into the game?
Miller: The massive offensive, especially the tackles. Look for Ole Miss to run early and often behind these guys.
Adams: Size of the offensive line. Reports are Ole Miss would have the fifth biggest offensive line in the NFL. They are two deep and all have experience after being forced into duty last year.
Senior running back Brandon Bolden was nearly a 1,000-yard rusher last year and is a proven commodity and team leader.
What is the Ole Miss team’s biggest perceived weakness?
Miller: The secondary is the biggest weakness. There are a lot of new guys, and the secondary gave up the most passing yards in the league. They also gave up 51 points to Auburn.
Adams: Defense, Ole Miss gave up the most points and yards in the SEC last year. In short, they were a train wreck, giving up 49 to Jackson State in the opener.
What is the current weather report for kick-off?
Miller: 94 degrees and humid last I checked, which should be good for Ole Miss.
Adams: It keeps changing, but I saw 88 degrees and sunny, which will be pretty nice considering the past few days we have been in the 100-degree range with high humidity.
Do visiting teams ever mention the weather as a factor and is it a perceived benefit for Ole Miss players and fans? Miller: It never really has been an issue. Ole Miss usually plays other teams from the South, within a 100-mile radius. In the case of BYU, it can be a factor. It certainly was for Fresno State last year.
Adams: Ole Miss rarely plays outside of the SEC or the South. BYU fans should know that the heat can be oppressive. It can also affect the home fans, especially if Ole Miss gets down early. Bring some sunscreen.
Who are the Ole Miss team’s playmakers and team leaders?
Miller: On defense it would have been junior linebacker D.T. Shackelford, who was lost to an ACL injury. Now it will be sixth-year senior defensive end Kentrell Lockett.
Offensively, the Rebels will look to running back Brandon Bolden and his enormous offensive tackles, Sowell and Massie.
Adams: It remains to be seen on defense, and fans will have a better idea after the BYU game. My guess would have to be Shackelford, who was supposed to be All-SEC before he was injured last year.
Offensively, I think it has to fall on Bolden, Sowell and maybe Brunetti.
What are the keys to the game for Ole Miss to be successful? Miller: Ole Miss has to run the ball and control the clock. If they can keep it close or protect a lead late in the game, Ole Miss has a good chance. Defense will also have to put pressure on Jake Heaps, something the coaches have really emphasized.
Adams: No turnovers on offense, this is huge with a new quarterback. If Ole Miss gets down early, Brunetti may feel like he has to do too much. Lack of confidence could snowball for the Rebels.
Bolden and running game will be the key to Ole Miss winning, they just need to wear down the BYU defensive line, and I think they will be fine.
Who do you think will win, and give us a score. Miller: Ole Miss 38-31, with the offensive line wearing down the BYU front seven for a victory.
Adams: I will have to be a homer and say Rebels 28-24. Although Ole Miss is a SEC team, a win for BYU shouldn’t be seen as a program maker. But if they lose, they should be worried about how they will be perceived by the SEC and other BCS programs. Who do you think will be the game MVP?
Miller: Bolden or fellow running back Enrique Davis. I could also see Jeff Scott the kick returner being an MVP, as he has legitimate SEC speed.
Adams: Hands down, Brandon Bolden.
Charles Kano is a senior writer for truebluecougars.com, a Deseret News partner. He is an avid sports fan with a particular interest in high school and college athletics.
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