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    Countdown To Kickoff: Ole Miss at Alabama

    OLE MISS at ALABAMA 8 p.m. CT Tuscaloosa, Ala. Bryant-Denny Stadium (101,000) THE COACHES Houston Nutt is in his third season at Ole Miss with a record of 21-10 (.677) and 18th overall with a record of 132-80 (.623). The Rebels’ co-offensive coordinators are Mike Markuson and Dave Rader and the defensive coordinator is Tyrone Nix. Nick Saban is in his fourth season at Alabama with a record of 38-9 (.809) and 17th overall with a record of 144-68-1 (.678). The Crimson Tide’s offensive coordinator is Jim McElwain and the defensive coordinator is Kirby Smart. WHAT TO LOOK FOR WHEN OLE MISS HAS THE BALL Brandon Bolden rushed for 108 yards and one touchdown on 23 carries against Kentucky for his third 100-yard rushing game of the season and the fifth of his career. He exploded for 228 yards rushing and three total TDs against Fresno State. Jeremiah Masoli accounted a career-high four touchdowns, including a career-best three passing TDs, against Kentucky. Masoli currently ranks sixth in the SEC in total offense averaging 217.0 yards per game and in passing efficiency (144.6). Robert Lester has four interceptions this season to lead the SEC and rank tied for fourth nationally at .67 per game. Fellow sophomore Dre Kirkpatrick is close behind with three picks on the season to rank tied for 22nd nationally and tied for third in the SEC at .50 per game. As a team, Alabama is second in the SEC with 12 interceptions. Dont’a Hightower has 111 career tackles with 6.5 tackles for loss and nine quarterback hurries. Hightower has 31 tackles, two pass breakups and three quarterback hurries in 2010. Mark Barron leads the team with 40 tackles while recording one interception, two sacks (-15), one forced fumble, one quarterback hurry and four pass breakups. WHAT TO LOOK FOR WHEN ALABAMA HAS THE BALL The Rebel defense ranks sixth in the SEC in sacks (13). Jonathan Cornell leads Ole Miss and ranks eighth in the SEC in tackles (8.0 pg). He also ranks fourth in the league in TFLs (1.60 pg) and is tied for eighth for sacks (0.60 pg). Preseason All-SEC defensive end Kentrell Lockett will miss the remainder of the 2010 season with a left ACL injury. Ole Miss forced three turnovers versus Kentucky and scored touchdowns after all three turnovers. Greg McElroy's streak of 19 consecutive wins to open a career at Alabama and 35 straight wins as a starting quarterback came to an end with the Tide's loss at South Carolina. He has completed 72.3 percent of his passes for 1,298 yards, nine touchdowns and three interceptions while ranking eighth nationally in passing efficiency at 169.15. Mark Ingram rushed for 41 yards on 11 carries at South Carolina, moving him up the Alabama career rushing yards chart into fourth place with 2,782 yards in his career. He has only lost one fumble in 470 career rushing attempts. Julio Jones caught a season-best eight passes for 118 yards at No. 19 South Carolina. SPECIAL TEAMS Jesse Grandy helped secure the Rebels’ 42-35 victory over Kentucky with 112 return yards including a career-long 73-yard punt return. The return to the UK 7-yardline inside the final minute of the third quarter set up the Ole Miss’ final touchdown of the game and marked his second straight week with a return of 50-plus yards. With Grandy handling all five Rebel punt returns this Ole Miss tops the SEC in punt return average at 21.4 yards per return. Bryson Rose leads the SEC in PAT percentage (24/24) and ranks fourth in scoring (8.4 ppg) and field goals (1.2 pg). Trent Richardson's 91-yard kickoff return for a touchdown on Sept. 18 at Duke did not make the Alabama all-time top-10 list for longest kickoff returns, but it did mark the first Crimson Tide kickoff return for a touchdown since a 100-yard return for a score by Tyrone Prothro on October 10, 2004. Richardson is fourth in the SEC and ranks 22nd nationally in kickoff returns this season with a 28.35 ypr average. He also ranks fifth nationally in all-purpose yards (1,062 in six games) at 177.0 per game average. SERIES/GAME NOTES Record: UA, 43-9-2 Alabama leads the Mississippi series 43-9-2 and have won six straight in the series.. The Alabama/Mississippi series includes three Crimson Tide NCAA vacations and one forfeit... The Tide has also won nine straight in the series at Bryant-Denny Stadium and 23 of 24, with the only loss a 22-12 defeat in 1988... Alabama is 31-1-1 against the Rebels in the state of Alabama... The Crimson Tide beat then-No. 19 Mississippi 22-3 a season ago in Oxford.