The bye week was great and had perfect timing for Matt Luke’s squad to get recovered and refreshed for this week’s road matchup against Gus Malzahn and the No. 11 Auburn Tigers. But, they will need more than a few positive injury reports to be able to break through Kevin Steele’s defense.
The Rebel offense has been a bit of a conundrum of sorts this season despite being at the top of the Southeastern Conference in rushing and having three dudes in the huddle who can break it for six at any time. The back-and-forth of John Rhys Plumlee and Matt Corral at quarterback combined with the inability to be balanced with one or the other on the field has really handcuffed Rich Rodriguez.
On the other side of the football, Mike MacIntyre’s defense has been masterful. A year after being ranked in the triple digits, this year’s edition is night and day better.
- 32nd rush defense
- 32nd sacks
- 39th SP+
- 50th tackles for loss
- 55th third down conversion
- 63rd scoring defense
- 72nd red zone defense
- 80th total defense
- 87th pass efficiency defense
- 121st pass defense
Mac’s unit will have its work cut out for them dealing with the Tigers rushing attack led by JaTarvious Whitlow (553 yards), Kam Martin (260 yards), D.J. Williams (210 yards), Shaun Shivers (194 yards), and Bo Nix (194 yards). Malzahn’s run-heavy, zone read offense will try to wear down the Rebel defense enough to open up the passing game which, as you can see above, is their Achilles’ Heel.
On defense, the Tigers are ELITE. It all starts with Derrick Brown, Big Kat Bryant, and Marlon Davidson up front and it continues at the second level with K.J. Britt, Zakoby McClain, and Owen Pappoe. These will be the dudes tasked with slowing down the Ole Miss attack that ranks 2nd in the SEC (232.5 yards per game) and 18th in the country.
Matt Luke and his staff are not only running out of winnable opportunities, but they’re running out of opportunities period. If he still has dreams of making a postseason appearance, the Rebs will need a
complete game miracle on the road under the lights in Jordan-Hare.
Red Cup Panel Predictions
Bob Lynch — Auburn 48, Ole Miss 14
Gonna struggle against that defensive line! Maybe get a couple touchdowns on big/busted plays, but overall I think Ole Miss will have trouble moving the sticks.
One Man To Beat — Auburn 29, Ole Miss 17
The Rebels cover and provide hope in a moral victory — the only kind of victories this coaching staff has been mustering lately.
whiskeywednesday — Auburn 49, Ole Miss 7
After several close losses, Ole Miss loses focus and things get out of hand real fast on the road.
TwoYardsandaCloudofEnricky — Auburn 21, Ole Miss 10
Our defense rattles Bo Nix, but their defense stifles us all day, making for a slog of a game that’s never within reach despite the score.
Ben Woodhouse — Auburn 30, Ole Miss 7
Tigers are too much on The Plains and although I think it’s relatively close at halftime, Auburn runs away with it in the second half.
Gray Hardison — Auburn 32, Ole Miss 12
If Auburn had a non-true freshman quarterback, they would be out here wrecking teams. They have an elite defense, but they’re limited on offense against good defenses. Ole Miss doesn’t have a good defense, but it’s mostly okay, which should keep the Tigers from making this game 100 percent gross early. If Texas A&M made life difficult for the Ole Miss offense, you can expect something similar or worse on Saturday.
Zach Berry — Auburn 38, Ole Miss 17
Both teams have impressive front sevens and play freshmen quarterbacks who don’t throw it particularly well. But, one is much better coached and the explosive plays will be too little too late.
Juco All-American — Auburn 27, Ole Miss 13
This Rebel offense just isn’t getting it done. The quarterback shuffling continues to miss, and while the defense does fine, they’re not great.
Michael Borkey — Auburn 31, Ole Miss 14
Actually think Ole Miss will hang around a bit in this game. They’ll load the box to stop the run and have some success doing it. But, Auburn is just too fast and physical on the other side of the ball to inspire confidence in a road upset.
Christoph Ludwig — Auburn 35, Ole Miss 7
Auburn’s defensive line wreaks havoc for the entire game, forcing Plumlee and Corral into bad decisions and turnovers. A garbage time touchdown is all the Rebs manage.
Nicholas Carr — Auburn 38, Ole Miss 13
Auburn is behind only Alabama in average starting position and that’s because of their ability to get to the quarterback and force three-and-outs. My biggest concern is this bites Ole Miss in the rear all Saturday night and the Tigers just pour it on late.
Grayson Weir — Auburn 38, Ole Miss 16
The Rebels break off a few runs early, but the drives stall inside the 40-yard-line and result in field goals. From there, the Auburn defensive line continues its reign of terror, and Ole Miss pads the score with a late bomb to Braylon Sanders. Mike MacIntyre answers the call initially, but wears out as time on the field adds up.