To say that the Auburn Tigers' season has not gone according to plan may be the understatement of the century.
Coming into Week 7's contest against the Ole Miss Rebels, the Tigers are 1-4, mired in a quarterback controversy and have a coach who may get fired just two years after winning a National Championship.
That means every game from here until the end of the season is of the utmost importance to Gene Chizik and his squad. Without some type of turnaround in SEC play, the administration would be wholly justified in making sweeping changes.
Fortunately for Auburn, the team has a very winnable game against Ole Miss this week. While up-and-coming, the Rebels have a myriad of holes that can be exploited if Chizik and his staff game-plan correctly.
With that in mind, here's a look at a few keys to victory in a vital game for Auburn.
Start Clint Moseley at Quarterback
While Mosely certainly did not light the world on fire last week against Arkansas, it's become pretty apparent that the Kiehl Frazier experiment is not working.
Both abundantly talented and uniquely skilled, Frazier simply is nowhere near ready to handle SEC defenses as a passer. Coming into this week, the sophomore has thrown for just 664 yards and just two touchdowns with eight interceptions in five games.
Quite frankly, it's impossible for any team to compete with play that poor coming from the quarterback position.
Meanwhile, Moseley moved the ball down the field effectively and looked poised in the pocket despite throwing two interceptions. For a team that has scored a paltry 15.4 points per game in 2012, any form of offensive improvement should be taken as a godsend
The ceiling may be lower for Moseley long-term, but what does Chizik really have to lose by sitting Frazier at this point?
Pound the Ball With Onterio McCalebb and Tre Mason
When a team's passing game fails miserably, usually defenses can hone in on stopping the run and suffocate that team's running backs.
That hasn't been the case with Auburn this season, as McCalebb and Mason have both averaged over five yards per carry thus far.
The problem has been keeping scores close enough to keep the two-headed attack as viable options throughout the game.
Luckily for the Tigers, they will be facing off against an Ole Miss defense that has massive deficiencies against the run. The Rebels gave up a whopping 290 yards and two touchdowns on the ground last week against Texas A&M, including 142 yards on just 18 carries to running back Ben Malena.
If Chizik keeps McCalebb and Mason in the game early, Auburn should be able to methodically drive down the field and keep the score low enough to have a shot at victory.
Intercept, Fluster Bo Wallace
While performing admirably as a dual-threat this season for the Rebels, Wallace has shown mighty cracks in the passing game.
Over Ole Miss' last four games, the quarterback has thrown seven interceptions and completed just 55 of his last 100 passes. That's a far cry from Wallace's first two games of the season where he looked on the verge of a breakout season.
If the Auburn defense is able to get to Wallace early and create a turnover, it could render the young quarterback ineffective and put the team's offense in great field position.
It's unlikely that the Tigers are able to stop both facets of his game, but by limiting Wallace's effectiveness through the air, it could pay massive dividends in a close contest.