Ole Miss looks to keep momentum rolling vs. South Carolina
Despite their matching records, the host Ole Miss Rebels and visiting South Carolina Gamecocks enter their matchup Saturday night trending in opposite directions.
The Rebels (2-4, 2-4 SEC) are coming off a 54-21 road win at Vanderbilt on Oct. 31, snapping a three-game losing streak.
Ole Miss totaled more than 600 yards for the third time this season and sophomore quarterback Matt Corral earned both Davey O’Brien National Quarterback of the Week and Walter Camp National Offensive Player of the Week honors after completing 31 of 34 passes and throwing six touchdown passes without an interception.
Meanwhile at South Carolina (2-4, 2-4), coach Will Muschamp is on an even hotter seat than he was coming off a 4-8 season. And he’s looking for a starting quarterback after back-to-back losses to LSU and Texas A&M in which his team gave up 100 combined points.
Muschamp announced late Sunday night that grad transfer Collin Hill, former starter Ryan Hilinski and freshman Luke Doty would compete for the job in practice this week.
“We need a spark — that’s the bottom line — and that position is so critical,” Muschamp told reporters. “We need to change some things up and look at what we carry into each game. That’s a position we certainly could change some things up and we’ll see how (our practices) go.”
Hill has thrown for 1,142 yards, five touchdowns and five interceptions on 104 of 177 attempts, but was held to only 66 yards on 8-of-21 passing and threw two interceptions in last week’s 48-3 loss to Texas A&M. The Aggies outgained the Gamecocks 530-150.
Hilinski started 11 games in 2019 and passed for 2,357 yards, 11 touchdowns and five interceptions.
Doty, an Elite 11 prospect, has played in three games this season but attempted only one pass.
“We are just going to have to prepare and whoever plays, plays,” first-year Ole Miss coach Lane Kiffin said this week.
While South Carolina tries to settle its quarterback situation, its running game will be led by sophomore Kevin Harris, who is averaging 112.2 yards from scrimmage per game and has scored eight touchdowns.
“We need to take care of us and what we need to do to be successful, and that’s, No. 1, finding the best guy at that position that can help us — or the best two guys at that position that can help us or, shoot, the best three guys at that position that can help us,” Muschamp said.
Corral ranks 12th in the nation in passer rating (176.7) and has thrown for 1,846 yards, 18 touchdowns and nine interceptions.
His top target is junior wide receiver Elijah Moore, who leads the nation in receptions (61) and is third in receiving yards (829) and fourth in yards per game (138.2).
“This is a first-round slot,” Kiffin said. “I didn’t coach him, but he kind of reminds me of (former NFL receiver) Steve Smith. Just the stop-and-start ability is so explosive and a great route runner.”
Ole Miss is ranked fifth nationally in total offense (541.0 yards per game) and is averaging 38.0 points per game. However, the Rebels are ranked 104th in red-zone scoring percentage and 88th in turnover margin (-3).
The Rebels are allowing 40.7 points per game (ranked 116th out of 123 FBS teams) as well as 533.5 total yards per game (ranked 120th).
–Field Level Media