KEYS FOR VICTORY
1. Contain Marshall
Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall may not take Tigers fans back to the days of Cam Newton, but he can put pressure on defenses with his mobility.
There aren’t that many called runs for Marshall, but he can hurt teams with improvisation.
Ole Miss defenders need to keep their eyes on Marshall and get off the field on third downs, something they didn’t do very well last week against Alabama.
2. Convert in the red zone
Ole Miss was the SEC leader in red zone offense before getting shut out on two trips inside the 20 in Tuscaloosa.
The Rebels need to create more than two opportunities in the game, and they need to cash in. Auburn is among the SEC leaders in red zone defense, holding opponents without points five times in 17 chances. The Tigers have also forced two turnovers in the red zone.
3. Bounce back
It’s been a while since Ole Miss football has suffered a setback. The win streak was five games spanning over two seasons, and there was a top 10 recruiting class that carried the off-season.
The Alabama game was touted as a measuring stick for the Rebels’ improvement since Hugh Freeze took over for Houston Nutt in December of 2011.
Ole Miss needs to move past Alabama’s second-half dominance and regain focus against a team that is very similar to the Rebels in their first year under Freeze – athletic and hungry to get better.
WHAT TO WATCH
When Auburn has the ball
The Tigers have been much more proficient in the run game, with junior Tre Mason averaging 84.5 yards a game, than they’ve been in passing.
As a team, Auburn is third in the SEC with 232.2 yards a game on the ground.
Marshall, though, has thrown four interceptions to go along with four touchdowns.
As Jeff Scott does for Ole Miss, Mason gives Auburn the ability to get outside on the ground.
When Ole Miss has the ball
The Rebels will try to revive a run game that managed just 46 yards at Alabama after averaging better than 250 yards over the first three games.
While coaches have praised their depth at running backs behind Scott. The Rebels’ second- and third-leading rushers behind Scott are quarterbacks Bo Wallace and Barry Brunetti.
Scott has 43 carries for 358 yards. His primary backup, Jaylen Walton, has just 22 attempts.
With Auburn’s run defense giving up 172 yards a game – 12th in the SEC – this could be a night when multiple Ole Miss backs produce.
Auburn OL vs. Ole Miss front seven
Last week’s stats show that Ole Miss allowed 254 rushing yards to Alabama, but they don’t show how well the Rebels performed in the game.
Take out an assignment bust that led to a 68-yard touchdown run and fatigue that led to a late 50-yard score, and Ole Miss allowed 136 yards on 38 attempts, an average of 3.57 yards per carry.
You can’t take out those stats, however. You have to play the entire game, and the Rebels must play it tonight with no big plays allowed.