1. Missouri defense vs. Mississippi rush attack
The Rebels rushed for 413 yards against Vanderbilt. The Tigers have allowed an average of 37 yards rushing per game over their past four contests. Something’s got to give Saturday. Ole Miss has four legitimate runners who can do damage: running backs Jerrion Ealy, Snoop Conner and Scottie Phillips as well as quarterback John Rhys Plumlee. Missouri’s defense can cover a lot of ground fast and hasn’t looked confused since playing at Wyoming. Do the Rebels try some misdirection and bring back memories of Laramie? Or does the MU defense step up to the challenge against one of the most talented backfields it will face this season?
Edge: Mississippi rush attack
2. Tigers' wide receivers vs. Rebels' pass defense
Missouri has a lot of viable weapons on the outside. Ole Miss is young in the secondary. The Rebels have had success in stopping a few offenses from throwing the ball, however. Outside of Alabama, Missouri is probably the most talented team the Rebels have played this season, especially at the wide receiver position. Keeping track of the Tigers' wideouts — eight of which have 82 yards receiving or more this season — will be difficult. Does Missouri spread the ball around or attack a few Ole Miss players that appear to be outmatched over and over again? Or do the Rebels find a way to keep the Tigers’ air attack grounded?
Edge: Tigers' wide receivers
3. Ole Miss offense vs. Cameron Wilkins
More spotlight will be shined on Missouri's new starting linebacker than ever before. Replacing Cale Garrett is a tall task. Missouri head coach Barry Odom said it’s possible the Rebels will key in on Wilkins, a sophomore, because of his inexperience on Saturdays and exploit the hole left by Garrett. Whether through the run or pass game, the Tigers still have 10 other players for the Rebels to deal with. That unit will know to prepare for short passes or between-the-tackles runs that could expose a linebacker. How does Wilkins fare with so many eyes on him in his first collegiate start?
Edge: Cameron Wilkins
4. Missouri’s ability vs. Ole Miss’ expectations
Ole Miss’ Southeastern Conference schedule is pretty easy to decipher: two wins over arguably the two worst teams in the league, Arkansas and Vanderbilt, and a blowout loss to national title contender Alabama. Missouri has shown several reasons why it’s on a higher level than the Razorbacks or Commodores, but the Tigers aren't on the same level as Alabama. Ole Miss is probably the best team the Tigers have faced so far this season, or possibly the second-best behind South Carolina. The Tigers are favored by more than a touchdown for their second conference game. Does MU take advantage or fall flat?
Edge: Missouri’s ability
5. Tigers' strong starts vs. Rebels' momentum
Over Missouri’s four wins this season, it has outscored opponents 127-14 in the first half, giving up a touchdown each to South Carolina and Troy. The first time the Tigers allowed any points in the first quarter was last week against the Trojans, but MU then kept Troy’s offense out of the end zone the rest of the game. Ole Miss has been competitive in each of its six games in some form or fashion this season, leading one to believe this game might be low-scoring and not a blowout. Will MU get out of the gates strong and never let the Rebels catch up? Or will the Rebels find a way to stick around and head back to Oxford with a win?
Edge: Tigers' strong starts