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Four Downs: Georgia

In this week’s edition of Four Downs, The Daily Mississippian football beat writers Bennett Hipp and Matt Sigler, sports editor David Collier and managing editor Austin Miller answer four questions regarding the week’s matchup.

 
1. Does Ole Miss continue to slow down the pace of the offense, or does Hugh Freeze plan to put things in full gear and keep Georgia off balance?
 
Bennett Hipp (@bennetthipp): It depends on how the game goes, but I could see it being similar to last week against Arkansas. Use the quicker tempo in key spots but also try to slow things down if Georgia has early offensive success.
 
Matt Sigler (@SigNewton_2): I think they will pick up the pace. However, if the Rebels fall behind early, I look for them to slow it down to give the defense a chance to catch their breath. From what I've seen, the offense has been much more successful in the high tempo, so I would think that Freeze will want to use it as much as possible.
 
David Collier (@DavidLCollier): Hugh Freeze said it all earlier in the week when he said Ole Miss doesn't have the depth to run as fast as he would like all game long. So, I think you'll see a lot of what you did last week with a wider variety of play calling to make the offense less predictable.
 
Austin Miller (@austinkmiller): I don't think Ole Miss increases the tempo because of the risk of quick three-and-outs against a team as deep as Georgia. If it's late in the half or game, or Ole Miss falls behind by more than one score, I could see a necessary increase in tempo.
 
2. Who steps up for Ole Miss in the secondary, where there are so many injuries?
 
Hipp: Dehendret Collins and Cliff Coleman will be relied on heavily with Pendleton out and Senquez Golson not practicing at least through Wednesday. Mike Hilton, Trae Elston and Quintavius Burdette are all younger players who will be counted on even more in the secondary as well. 
 
Sigler: I expect Charles Sawyer to have another big game. He has come along well at corner, and I think his best days are ahead of him. I wouldn't be surprised to also see a big game from Trae Elston. The freshman now has a good bit of experience under his belt, and I feel this could be the ideal time for him to step up.
 
Collier: I'm going to say Dehendret Collins. He's a guy that has been pretty quiet lately with the emergence of Mike Hilton at the huskie. This is another opportunity to make some plays against a talented quarterback in Aaron Murray of Georgia.
 
Miller: If it's one guy, I think it's Mike Hilton because of his versatility to play huskie, as well as maybe some dime, nickel or even corner. He finds the ball on defense, and he has some added incentive playing against Georgia Saturday.
 
3. Will Ole Miss get the running game going again this week or will Bo Wallace have to put the offense on his shoulders?
 
Hipp: The Rebels are going to have to find the running game against Georgia. The Bulldogs are too good defensively to go in with an unbalanced offense. Things could get ugly for Ole Miss if they show up in Athens in a one-dimensional offense. Opening up the running game is key to keep the Bulldog defense honest and to keep an aggressive unit from teeing off on Wallace. 
 
Sigler: I believe Bo Wallace will put the team on his back. He has command of the offense, and I expect him to carry them most of the way. With the defensive front of Georgia and the play of Jarvis Jones, I'm skeptical of how well the running game will fare.  
 
Collier: In my opinion, the running game has to get going again. Bo Wallace played well last week, and I do think the coaches need to put more trust in him. However at the same time, he's still a young, developing player, so if the offensive line can create some room for Jeff Scott, the Rebels will be more effective when they're slowing down the pace.
 
Miller: It's the running game. Ole Miss has to stay balanced. Also, I think the offensive line will have more success run blocking than pass blocking. The Rebels had a lot more success on the ground than through the air against a similarly talented defense in Alabama.
 
4. What is the key for Ole Miss to pull off the upset?
 
Hipp: This game a is a free shot — one where Ole Miss has nothing to lose. I expect the Rebels to do what they've done all season, which is show up with a plan, play hard for 60 minutes and see what the scoreboard says. Against a team like Georgia on the road, that's the best way to go about the game. 
 
Sigler: Win the turnover battle. Ole Miss will have to capitalize on nearly every possession to stay in this game. Ole Miss cannot afford to have to play from behind against a strong Georgia defense.
 
Collier: Stay within striking distance. This isn't a game that Ole Miss is supposed to win, so the Rebels just need to play hard and keep it close. If they do that, then who knows? Maybe they find themselves with a chance to win it at the end of the game.
 
Miller: Get the game to the fourth quarter. The longer Ole Miss hangs around, the more pressure there is on Georgia. A trip to Atlanta is on the line for the Bulldogs, while this is a free shot for Hugh Freeze and the Rebels.