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Ole Miss is hurting after a 25-0 shutout in Tuscaloosa to the nation's top team. Auburn is fresh after taking a week off following a 35-21 road loss to LSU. Both teams could use the win as both are 3-1 overall and 1-1 in the SEC.
A win at Auburn this year would be the Rebels first victory at Jordan-Hare Stadium since 2003 and only their third win in 16 overall appearances. These two teams have been playing since 1932. Auburn leads the series with a record of 27-10. The game will be shown at 7 pm ET on ESPNU.
Three Things to Watch
Can the Ole Miss offense bounce back?
The Rebels racked up a staggering 489 yards, 532 yards and 449 yards in their first three games against Vanderbilt, Southeast Missouri State and Texas, respectively. Against Alabama, the Rebels were held to just 205 yards and 14 first downs. It was the first time in 2013 the team that averaged 250 rushing yards through the first three contests was kept under 200 yards rushing yards in any single game. Prior to playing Alabama, the Rebel offense was averaging 38 points per game and 490 yards per game on offense. Auburn doesn't boast the strongest defense, yielding an average of 439.5 yards a contest. To do this, the Ole Miss receivers must be better this week. The trio of Donte Moncrief, Laquon Treadwell and Vince Sanders, along with tight end Evan Engram was largely a non-factor against the Crimson Tide, despite each averaging over 50 receiving yards per game. Bo Wallace should get the Rebels offense back on track this week, which includes a trip into the end zone for the first time in four quarters.
Auburn Run Game
This is the identity of the Tigers offense. Auburn ranks 22nd nationally in total rushing with 232.3 yards per game, led by the three-headed monster of Tre Mason, Corey Grant and Cameron Artis-Payne. Mason averages 84.5 yards per game and Grant averages 59.8, with Artis-Payne adding 51.8. Even quarterback Nick Marshall is a threat on the ground. Ole Miss is certainly vulnerable when it comes to their run defense as they allow nearly 150 yards per game on the ground. Texas, Vanderbilt and Alabama all rushed for over 100 yards against the Rebels. If the Tigers are to win this game they must run the ball effectively to keep the pass rush off of their young quarterback.
Can Auburn QB Nick Marshall fix turnover problem?
Marshall has led the Tigers to a resurgent season after last year's debacle; however, he has struggled with his decision-making. He has thrown two interceptions in each of his last two games. Despite an excellent 23 of 34, 339 yard passing performance against Mississippi State, Marshall threw two costly interceptions that nearly cost the Tigers the game. Marshall has also fumbled five times, losing two. The Ole Miss offense is simply much too talented to not take advantage of turnovers. Every time Marshall turns the ball over, expect the Rebels to convert it into seven points.
Key Player: Jeff Scott, RB, Mississippi
Scott is a supreme playmaker. The speedy back is an absolute gamebreaker, as he proved with his game-winning 75-yard scamper against Vanderbilt. He had only 28 yards on eight carries last week. In his two starts against Vanderbilt and Texas, Scott rushed for 302 yards on just 31 carries. In fact, when he gets at least 10 carries, he's averaging 150 yards per game.
The Ole Miss offense will bounce back and have a big game. Jeff Scott will rush for over 100 yards, Bo Wallace will throw for over 300 yards and the Rebels will get a much-desired SEC road win. Auburn's defense simply isn't talented enough to handle what Ole Miss has at its disposal. To win, Auburn will need to control the clock with their running game and keep the Rebels off of the field. If Ole Miss forces Nick Marshall to win this game with his arm, I don't like the Tigers' chances.
Prediction: Ole Miss 31, Auburn 17