Get ready for Southern Illinois

You can also listen to my expectations for the Southern Illinois game in the podcast

Appalachian State beat Michigan that time. Ole Miss lost to Jacksonville State that other time.

There. I said it. The goal here is to win big and decisively, but nothing is guaranteed and anything can happen (and all that jazz).

Now that all the cliche’s are out of the way, here’s a Top 5 list of things I want to see when Ole Miss hosts Southern Illinois on Saturday:

  1. The Ole Miss defense completely smother the Southern Illinois offense. This may seem like a given to you, since the Salukis are a directional Illinois FCS opponent, but the Salukis rushed for 295 yards last weekend. They will try to run right at the Rebels, and while I have a good feeling that Ole Miss will stop them, 200 yards rushing by Southern Illinois would not be a good sign for what’s to come later this season against SEC competition. I want to see a complete shutdown of the Saluki running game.
  2. Scottie Phillips find a rhythm. We know Phillips is a playmaker after watching him run for 204 yards last week, but I’d like to see him get five or six yards a carry on a consistent basis instead of relying on the big play. I think Matt Luke wants to see the same thing. Then, after a good quarter or two of work, I want him to Phillips sit and get rested and healthy for Alabama.
  3. Isaiah Woullard, Tylan Knight and Armani Litton get carries. Phillips needs a reliable backup. As of right now we don’t know who that is. These inexperienced backs need some work. Running back is a dangerous position, and I don’t feel comfortable having just one.
  4. Jordan Ta’amu lead a few touchdown drives, and by that I mean DRIVES wherein the Rebels don’t score in 2 plays and sit. Ole Miss needs a little work with just staying on the field and getting first downs and scoring in the red zone. After that, I just want Ta’amu to stay healthy and sit. It would be fun to see what Matt Corral can do, too.
  5. NWO stay healthy. These guys have nothing to prove. Just please don’t get hurt. I want a big lead and a lot of Braylon Sanders, Elijah Moore, Miles Battle, etc. It would also be good to see the tight ends get a little more involved.
  6. Okay, I know this was supposed to be a Top 5 list, but it just occurred to me that the Rebels need to find a replacement for Jaylon Jones on kick returns and at corner, and to feel good about that situation really fast in light of, you know, Alabama coming to town next weekend.

Some Southern Illinois facts:

  • The Salukis are 1-0 after trashing Murray State 49-10 last week.
  • S. Illinois is 0-4 all-time against SEC opponents, including losses to Ole Miss in 1994 and 2011.
  • The starting QB does have experience, which makes me wonder if the Salukis will toss the ball around a little more than their 295 yards rushing against Murray State lets on. Sam Straub has five 300-yard passing games and has been a starter since 2016. Maybe Murray State was just a decoy.
  • D.J. Davis had 19 carries for 127 yards in the win over Murray State.