When the Auburn Tigers host the Ole Miss Rebels this Saturday night it will be a very important game that could have SEC West implications. Yes, Alabama currently sits atop the division with one loss as we head into the final weekend of October, but these two programs still have paths to Atlanta. For Auburn it is simple, just win out and they will represent the west. On the other side for Ole Miss, they need to win out and have the Crimson Tide trip up in November. For both though, a loss would end a quest for a title.
Auburn vs Ole Miss Preview
Let Bo be Bo
When the Tigers are on the offense just put the ball into the hands of Bo Nix. For Nix, it has always been about trying to fix him and making him more fundamentally sound. Well, maybe this season has shown that it is best to let Bo be Bo. Nix is quite possibly coming off his best performance as a Tiger with his performance against Arkansas on October 16th. He was a steady 21 of 26 for 292 yards and had three total touchdowns (2 passes, 1 rush) to knock off the then 17th ranked Razorbacks. Also, it is the second big road win for the Tigers and more importantly Nix. With wins at LSU and Arkansas, he has seemed to knock the notion of “Home Bo” vs “Away, Bo”.
Get the run game going
Ole Miss has a superb offense. So perhaps the Tigers should try to establish a solid ground attack and play a form of keep away. To do that Auburn will need a heavy dose of Tank Bigsby, Jarquez Hunter, and Shaun Shivers. That part of the offense still had its issues despite the big game for Nix against Arkansas. The Tigers rushed for 135 in the upset but 42 of those came from Nix. They need more from Bigsby, who was regarded as the best back in the SEC coming into the season. He has averaged just 45.8 yards per game the last four games after averaging 114.3 for the first three games. Now, that is not all on Bigsby and the other running backs. The offensive line will need to step up and create some holes against Ole Miss.
Corral the Quarterback
The key to the Ole Miss offensive attack under Lane Kiffin is quarterback Matt Corral. The Heisman Trophy candidate has led the 6-1 Rebels not just with his arm but also his legs. On the season he has passed for 1,913 yards with 15 touchdowns to just one interception. On the ground, he leads the team in rushing with 474 yards and nine touchdowns on 100 attempts. He runs tough too and is not afraid to take on defenders. On the design, run plays will be key for Auburn to stay at home and be disciplined.
When Corral is not keeping the ball, Auburn needs to watch for running back Jerrion Ealy. Last week he got going for a solid day against LSU rushing for 97 yards and 12 carries for an average of 8.1 yards. If Ole Miss gets their running attack going, that will just set things up for the receivers group. Leading the way there has been Dontario Drummond who has been a standout with 619 yards and six touchdowns. For Auburn, if they can get possibly their best defender Owen Pappoe back in the lineup it would increase their chances of slowing down this offense. Pappoe has not played since getting injured against Penn State in game three.
Auburn vs Ole Miss Prediction
When dissection this Auburn vs Ole Miss game it could just come down to which team is fresher. Auburn has the great advantage of not just being at home but also coming off their bye week. On the other hand, Ole Miss has had a tough few weeks of games that have included wins over LSU, Tennessee, and Arkansas. In those games, they have relied heavily on Corral running the ball and must be feeling the effects of so many hits. With all of that being said this game should come down to the fourth quarter and be an offensive showdown. Auburn wins a wild one 34-30.