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Boise State-Mississippi Preview Capsule

AP - Sports

Boise State (0-0) vs No. 18 Mississippi (0-0) at Atlanta, 8 p.m. (ESPN)

Series Record: First meeting.

WHAT'S AT STAKE

With its highest preseason ranking since 2009, Ole Miss is looking to carve out its niche among the Southeastern Conference elite. This is the sort of game the Rebels must win to show they're worthy of the hype. Boise State is coming off its worst season since 1998. New coach Bryan Harsin hopes to lead the Broncos back to the sort of national prominence they had in their BCS-busting heyday.

KEY MATCHUP

Ole Miss' offensive line vs. Boise State's defense. The Broncos have never been known for shutting down opponents, and they surrendered more than 30 points in six games last season. But they return eight starters on that side of the line and may be able to take advantage of a Rebels' offensive front that lost three starters. The return of guard Aaron Morris should help Ole Miss; he missed almost all of last season with a knee injury.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Boise State: WR Matt Miller has caught at least one pass in each of his 39 career games, the longest streak in the country. Last season, he has 88 receptions for 1,140 yards and 12 touchdowns.

Mississippi: QB Bo Wallace is the SEC's top returning passer (3,346 yards) and in position to break several school records this season.

FACTS & FIGURES

Boise State has lost three straight games against ranked opponents. Its last victory over a Top 25 team came against Georgia in the 2011 Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game in Atlanta. ... The two head coaches have never worked together, but they have something in common. Hugh Freeze of Ole Miss coached one season at Arkansas State, leading the Red Wolves to a 10-2 record and the Sun Belt Conference championship. Harsin was at Arkansas State last season, compiling a 7-5 mark and claiming a share of the conference title before returning to his alma mater. ... The Rebels are playing their first two games in NFL stadiums. After facing Boise State at the Georgia Dome, they will take on Vanderbilt at Nashville's LP Field.

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