No. 9 Ole Miss will make the trip to Sanford Stadium for the first time since 2012 to take on No. 2 Georgia in a game with heavy implications for the both the SEC championship and College Football Playoff. The cross-division battle is the first in series history with both teams ranked in the top 10, and it marks the first time since 1968 that they’ve played in Athens, Georgia, while both are ranked.
Georgia’s 45-14 loss to Ole Miss in 2016 still stands as Georgia coach Kirby Smart’s largest margin of defeat. The Rebels are also the lone SEC foe that Smart has yet to defeat in his eight seasons, due largely to the fact that the 2016 meeting was the last between the teams.
Back then, the Bulldogs were in their first season under Smart and the Rebels were coached by Hugh Freeze. They were later forced to vacate the victory amid the fallout from a scandalous ending to Freeze’s tenure. This time around, Smart will have plenty of familiarity with the opposing coach considering that he and Lane Kiffin of Ole Miss worked together under Nick Saban at Alabama in 2014 and 2015.
Georgia vs. Ole Miss: Need to know
Running on Georgia: Attempts to run the football against Georgia were fruitless over the past two seasons. Loaded with eventual NFL Draft picks up front, the Bulldogs ranked No. 2 nationally in yards allowed per carry each of the past two years, allowing 2.88 yards a pop in 2022 and just 2.56 in 2021. This season, UGA is ceding 3.73 yards per carry, which creates an opening for the Ole Miss offense to thrive. Star sophomore back Quinshon Judkins has rattled off three straight 100-yard rushing games and has found the end zone 12 times this season. Georgia, meanwhile, just gave up 212 yards rushing in a win over Missouri.
Waiting for the fade: Ole Miss also started 8-1 last season before losing its final four games and finishing 8-5. Fear of a similar collapse seems to be weighing the Rebels’ stock down considering they enter this game as a double-digit underdog. With a 4-0 record in one-possession games, Ole Miss has been opportunistic in 2023 and fortunate to survive in thrilling finishes against LSU and Texas A&M. If the luck runs out against the Bulldogs and Kiffin gets too aggressive, things could get ugly.
Carson Beck for Heisman: Yes, it’s time to have the conversation. Georgia’s junior quarterback is blossoming into one of the nation’s best during his first season as the starter after patiently waiting behind Stetson Bennett IV. With star tight end Brock Bowers out with an ankle injury, Beck calmly guided UGA to huge SEC East wins over rival Florida and a well-regarded Missouri team. He’ll have excellent opportunities this week and next to create Heisman moments as the Bulldogs take on the Rebels and Tennessee in consecutive weeks while navigating the toughest portion of their schedule.
How to watch Georgia vs. Ole Miss live
Date: Saturday, Nov. 11 | Time: 7 p.m. ET
Location: Sanford Stadium — Athens, Georgia
TV: ESPN | Live stream: fubo (Try for free)
Georgia vs. Ole Miss prediction, picks
Odds via SportsLine consensus
Ole Miss’ path to victory on the road against the two-time reigning national champions is narrow, and Kiffin knows it. Thus, you can expect the Rebels to get aggressive, eschewing punts and field goals to keep his offense on the field in risky situations for the sake of pursuing every possible point. It’s the mindset required to pull a monumental upset, but it can also backfire. Once things start snowballing against a team like Georgia, it can be hard to get back on track. Look for the Bulldogs to pull away in the second half after Kiffin’s creativity runs dry. Pick: Georgia -11
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