Sideline View by Dale McKee

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The nation will be focused on the state of Mississippi this week in the areas of sports and politics. President Donald Trump will be in Jackson on Friday while on Saturday top ranked Alabama will visit Ole Miss in the SEC opener for both teams.

I am sure everything will be ready for the President’s visit, but will Ole Miss be ready for the Crimson Tide led by their lead Nick Saban?

The Rebels had several anxious moments before putting the SIU Salukis in their place this past Saturday. SEC teams are not supposed to lose to lower division teams at home. The last time Ole Miss lost to one of those teams was in 2010 when Jacksonville State surprised the Rebels in Oxford. That was the game that became the undoing of former Ole Miss coach Houston Nutt. That Rebel team could never shake the loss.

The 2018 edition of Ole Miss football is one of the most prolific offensive teams in the history of the school. They have five topnotch linemen, two powerful tight ends, a super running back, a gifted quarterback and a stable full of elite wide receivers. The Ole Miss defense may be the least cohesive unit in college football. They have problems stopping both the run and the pass. The Rebels defense, however, did step up in the final period of last week’s game to create three turnovers and score twice. The defensive play was porous in the first half as they allowed six touchdowns, with five of those coming in the air to a visiting team that lives on the ground. The Rebels defense has an even more challenging opponent this week.

MSU dominates

Mississippi State recorded their first road win against a Power 5 school since 1995 as they physically manhandled Kansas State. The Bulldogs used power running by quarterback Nick Fitzgerald and running back Kylin Hill. Hill rushed for 211 yards on 17 tries while Fitzgerald racked up 159 on 19 carries. The defense is one of the top in the SEC with Jeffery Simmons, Montez Sweat, Mark McLaurin and Jonathan Abraham leading the charge. The Bulldogs host Louisiana this week.

Warhawks surprise Golden Eagles

USM fell to Louisiana-Monroe 21-20 last Saturday night. The Eagles had three key turnovers by quarterback Jack Abraham. Abraham was also sacked five times in the game. USM goes to Appalachian State this week.

Odd & Ends

USM honored former Laurel native Bobby Collins this past weekend. Collins was head coach of the Golden Eagles from 1975-81 and posted a 48-30 mark during his tenure. USM also hosted Super Bowl champion head coach Doug Pederson of the Philadelphia Eagles as he and USM legend Brett Favre were honorary captains. Pederson’s son Josh is a tight end on the Warhawks.

Chocs and Majors remain perfect

Mississippi College, Alcorn and Millsaps all won over the weekend. Mississippi Valley and Delta State both lost while Jackson State’s game was cancelled. Belhaven had the week off.

JUCO play

East Mississippi CC coach Buddy Stephens won his 100thgame as head coach of the Lions as they whipped PRC, 59-10. Holmes shocked # 8 Jones on a 34-yard TD pass with seven seconds to play, 25-23. East Central upset #14 Itawamba, 34-28; Gulf Coast rolled over Coahoma, 46-21; Co-Lin won over Northeast, 21-7; Hinds downed Mississippi Delta, 31-21; and Northwest demolished Southwest, 51-6.

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