The Texas A&M Aggies play the Ole Miss Rebels on Saturday night in Oxford, Mississippi. Both teams share a record of 7-2, and these squads still have the potential to reach the SEC Championship. Texas A&M is currently on a four-game winning streak, and the Aggies seem to be improving by the week. However, A&M will have to play its best game against Ole Miss to beat the Rebels at home. In fact, Ole Miss is currently undefeated at Vaught Hemingway Stadium. Here are the crucial matchups in this game that will determine which team comes out victorious.
Texas A&M’s Running Backs vs. Ole Miss Defensive Front
Over the year, the Aggies running backs have proven to be the engine for their offense. Sure, Devon Achane and Isaiah Spiller were in a bit of a struggle against Auburn’s defense last week, but that was an aggressive defense. Achane and Spiller should be effective against the Rebels’ rather sloppy run defense.
Two weeks back, Ole Miss allowed Tank Bigsby to rush for nearly 150 yards and a touchdown. Auburn’s offense rushed for a combined 210 yards and three touchdowns. Texas A&M has, by far, the best rushing attack in the SEC, so its running backs should cause havoc in this game. Still, the home-field advantage could help out the Rebels’ defense by interfering with the Aggies’ communication on offense.
Zach Calzada needs to take care of the ball in this game. That goes the same for the Aggies’ playmakers including Ainias Smith, Jalen Wydermyer, Demond Demas, etc. Wydermyer had a couple of drops in A&M’s last game against Auburn, and that cannot be repeated. Giving the ball back to Matt Corral is essentially begging to lose this game. The Aggies don’t need any magic to beat the Rebels, just keep it simple. Obviously, Texas A&M is more talented than Ole Miss at the skill positions and in the trenches.
Matt Corral vs. Texas A&M’s Secondary
This matchup should be a transparent headline in this game. Corral was one of the Heisman frontrunners early in the season, and he can still make a push depending on how he finishes the year. In his last game against Liberty, he threw for over 300 yards and a touchdown. Moreover, he can also hurt defenses with his legs, and he has 528 rushing yards on the year.
Lane Kiffin is an offensive genius, and he will likely choose plays from his bag of tricks as always. While the Aggies’ defense must keep an eye on Corral, they must also limit Jarod Conner in the running game. The Rebel’s offense is also lethal in the play-action game, so Texas A&M’s secondary needs to be aware of where Dontario Drummond and Jahcour Pearson are on the field at all times.
Thankfully, Texas A&M has already faced similar offenses in Alabama and Auburn, and the Aggies won both games. If defensive coordinator Mike Elko can implement a similar plan against this prolific Ole Miss offense, Texas A&M can definitely win this game.
It’s just incredible how this season has turned for the Aggies. Texas A&M was once awaiting a beatdown from Alabama with a 3-2 record, and the Aggies now have a chance to extend their winning streak to five games with a win over Ole Miss. Nonetheless, Texas A&M should continue to approach the season one game at a time, and doing so will lead them to another NY6 Bowl, and possibly even the SEC Championship.