No. 13 Ole Miss, Tennessee expect high-scoring affair

If you like your college football fast-paced and high-scoring, the Saturday night Southeastern Conference matchup between Tennessee and No. 13 Ole Miss in Knoxville, Tenn., might be for you.The Rebels (4-1, 1-1 SEC) are putting up 46.2 points per game, which ranks fourth in FBS, while the Volunteers’ average of 41.5 points is seventh. No team in the Power 5 squeeze off more plays per minute than these two as Ole Miss clicks off 2.89 offensive plays per minute with Tennessee (4-2, 2-1) right behind at 2.87.Quantity translates into quality in both cases. The Rebels score 1.75 points per minute, good for second in the FBS, and the Volunteers’ 1.58 is third. Or as Ole Miss coach Lane Kiffin famously said before his team’s 42-21 loss at Alabama on Oct. 2, get out your popcorn.”You can see offensively that there’s a rhyme and a reason behind everything they’re doing,” first-year Tennessee coach Josh Heupel said. “They’re going to put defenses in a conflict. They do a great job of being balanced and creating big plays, too.”Shockingly, so have the Volunteers. In a 180-degree turn from last year’s 3-7 disaster, when they scored only 215 points (21.5 per game), they have already surpassed that meager output. Heupel’s new approach is one reason and the play of Virginia Tech transfer Hendon Hooker is another.Hooker was QB2 behind Michigan transfer Joe Milton III when the season started on Sept. 2. Milton was injured in a Sept. 11 loss to Pittsburgh, and it appears he’s been Wally Pipped. No quarterback in the SEC has been more efficient than Hooker.In a 45-20 blowout of South Carolina last week, Hooker hit on 17 of 23 passes for 225 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions. He is completing 69.6 percent of his passes with a 13-1 touchdown-interception ratio.”He’s become better, more vocal, more ownership on the football field and in the locker (room) with our team as well,” Heupel said of Hooker.Hooker likely will have to be at his best to match Rebels quarterback Matt Corral. All Corral did last week in a wild 52-51 win over Arkansas was throw for 287 yards and two touchdowns while running for 94 yards and two more scores.

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