Auburn travels to Oxford, Mississippi to play the “Rebel Black Bears” and enjoy the hospitality of “The Grove.” It should prove to be an entertaining weekend for Mississippi and Auburn fans as well as the entire nation.
Mississippi is currently 3-4 and struggling for bowl eligibility in a rebuilding year. They have a very different offensive look this year, due to starting quarterback Jerimiah Masoli. He is a dual threat quarterback that transferred in from Oregon.
Many of their players are holdovers from the time when Gus Malzahn worked for Houston Nutt at Arkansas. Auburn fans will find many plays very familiar. However, the offense has not been the problem for Mississippi this year.
While some might be inclined to look at the overall record of this Mississippi team and disregard them as a threat to Auburn, nothing could be farther from the truth. Mississippi started the season in turmoil over the late transfer of quarterback Jerimiah Masoli and the quibbling of the NCAA at the last minute.
These factors, along with the loss of several key players from last season, led to a slow start by the Rebs. They have improved drastically since that time, and appear to be improving every week. They were overpowered by Alabama and Arkansas, but put up a very impressive struggle in both games.
Let’s take a look at some of the most important facts.
Rushing Offense Total
Passing Offense Total
Scoring Offense Total
Plays Per Point
Rushing Defense Total
Passing Defense Total
Scoring Defense Total
Plays Per Point
Mississippi has a very distinct advantage in punt returns, and averages seven yards less in penalties per game. Auburn has the advantage in kick returns, kick return coverage and punt return coverage.
What to Expect
This is to be a statement game for Mississippi. It will be treated like their bowl game this year. They will be ready and will pull out all of the stops. Houston Nutt does pull every trick out of his bag he should be able to keep his team within striking distance.
Auburn should have some big kick and punt returns in this game, which will will likely lead to good field position and some prime scoring opportunities. Auburn should move the ball well in the air and on the ground.
The Mississippi style of rushing and passing is exactly the kind Auburn has shown a defensive vulnerability to. The difference is, there is no true elite speed to be found within the Ole Miss offense. Auburn should be able to hold their own defensively.
Sacks are not likely to be a big statistic in this game, but tackles for a loss are likely to hamper Mississippi. Mississippi is also likely to have some trouble with speed both in the middle and on the edges.
Punt returns should not be a big issue that Auburn has to address in this game. The Tigers should return to the plains unscathed to fight another day.
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