The 2021 Outback Bowl kicks off at 12:30pm ET on January 2 in Tampa Bay, FL. The 4-5 Ole Miss Rebels take on the 6-1 No.11 Indiana Hoosiers. It is the first matchup between the two schools.We’ll see how the two teams match up here.
Ole Miss Rebels (4-5)
Lane Kiffin has Ole Miss back in a bowl game for the first time since 2015 following a long road back after an NCAA investigation. The Rebels got an early big overtime against Kentucky early on but followed with a three game losing streak. They rolled off a three game winning streak to counter and fell just short of their first winning season since 2015.
The Rebels have used one of the SEC’s best offenses to on their path to the postseason. The Rebels average 40.7 points per game and lead the SEC in rushing yards per game (218.1) and total yards per game (562.9). Unfortunately they’ll be without their top two receivers, potentially top three, and their starting runningback.
Quarterback Matt Corral will have to find a way to limit mistakes and move the offense without his playmakers. In games without his main target or where the defense took away his main target, Corral has been a turnover machine. He had six interceptions and a fumble against Arkansas and five interceptions and a fumble against LSU.
Defensively the Rebels have once again been by far the worst in the SEC. They allow an unprecedented 40.3 points per game along with 535.7 yards. The lone bright spot has been return of transfer Otis Reese who has 14 tackles in two games from the secondary.
No.11 Indiana Hoosiers (6-1)
Indiana and Tom Allen have the program as good as it’s been in decades. The Hoosiers earned their highest ranking since 1967 this year, and are in search of their first bowl win since 1991. Indiana looked really good in all their wins this year and nearly stole one from Ohio State in their lone loss of the season.
Indiana had a strong offense that scored 30.1 points per game. They struggled in the running game but made up for it in the passing game with 258 yards per game. Former starter Michael Penix Jr. was lost for the year so transfer Jack Tuttle has since stepped up. In limited reps Tuttle has looked adequate with a 66.7% completion percentage and two touchdowns.
He’ll have no shortage of weapons. Senior Ty Fryfogle has shown flashes of being unguardable at times this season. He has 687 yards and seven touchdowns including a huge 218 yard, three touchdown game against Ohio State. Fellow senior Whop Philyor is another weapon on the outside for Tuttle with 414 yards and three touchdowns.
The Indiana defense has been a revolving door of turnovers, averaging nearly three per game. The Hoosiers have 17 interceptions which could spell trouble for Matt Corral who has gotten in interception fits this season. Jamar Johnson is one of three Hoosiers with three or more interceptions. The junior leads the team with four.
Ole Miss’s offense isn’t the same offense we saw all season. They’re missing some key pieces and without his top targets, Matt Corral tends to crumble. Add to that a defense that hasn’t stopped anybody all year and Indiana should have themselves a fine Outback Bowl.
Ole Miss: 28, Indiana: 45
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