Auburn Football at Ole Miss Game Day Prediction


Today is a big day for Auburn football. The No. 3 Tigers and No. 4 Ole Miss Rebels will meet in Oxford in an SEC West slugfest with SEC Championship and playoff implications. Because the Tigers and Ole Miss are both ranked among the top four by the College Football Playoff committee, and because both teams have a loss on their resume, many people have called this an elimination game as far as the playoff is concerned.

While that particular term may be premature, it shows the magnitude of the game to both sides. Simply put, it will take a near miracle set of events for the losing team to work their way back into the playoff picture.

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As for the game itself, there is much to be said of the “Unstoppable Force” that is the Auburn offense facing off against the “Immovable Object” that is the Ole Miss defense.

The Rebels are one of the nation’s very best defenses – both from a talent standpoint and statistically speaking. The Rebels rank in the nation’s top 25 in rushing defense (118 yards per game), passing defense (187) and total defense (305), and are the nation’s best scoring defense (10.5). Even better, the defense has actually allowed only 9.4 points per game (the Ole Miss offense allowed a defensive TD and a safety). Plus, no team has scored more than 20 points this season against the Rebels.

Auburn, on the other hand, leads the SEC with 281 rushing yards per game and has averaged 496.9 total yards through the first seven games of the season. The Tigers committed to the rushing attack last week against South Carolina, running 76% of the time and only threw 14 passes (12 were completed) and racked up a season-high 395 yards behind big days from Cameron Artis-Payne, Nick Marshall and Ricardo Louis. Auburn averages 39.3 points per game and haven’t been held below 20 points this season.

But, as intriguing as it will be to see the Unstoppable Force meeting the Immovable Object, the game may be decided elsewhere.

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  • Auburn’s defense has struggled at times this season. The Tigers allowed 535 yards of offense to South Carolina last week. However, they stepped up and made a handful of big plays to seal the victory – including three pivotal interceptions – two in the end zone by Jonathan Jones – and a fourth down stop. What they haven’t been able to do this year is get to the quarterback consistently. Through seven games, the Tigers have just 12 sacks.

    Ole Miss has had their own problems on the other side of the football. The Rebels rank 12th in the SEC and 83rd nationally with 149.5 rushing yards per game. Ole Miss and quarterback Bo Wallace can throw the football (268.8 yards on average is the fourth best average in the SEC), but the offensive line has allowed 18 sacks this season. The Rebels managed only 313 yards of total offense last week in a 10-7 loss to LSU, which was their worst performance of the season.

    Also, the Tigers have a special teams weapon in Quan Bray, who ranks among the nation’s leaders in punt return average and has already taken two to the house this season. Corey Grant, Roc Thomas and Louis haven’t been great on kick returns yet, but are itching to create a field position advantage and a big play. Today could be the day.

    When it comes down to it, LSU proved that it doesn’t take a great defense to stop Ole Miss on offense and that a power running game can beat the Rebels’ defense. And don’t forget, the same LSU team that beat the Rebels lost 41-7 to Auburn earlier this season.

    The fans will be loud in Oxford, and it certainly won’t be easy, but the Auburn Tigers will break through the Immoveable Object and will make enough big plays on defense to keep the Rebels out of the end zone when it matters most. Expect the one-point underdogs to score a road upset and keep playoff hopes alive.

    Auburn 28, Ole Miss 27

    Next: Auburn at Ole Miss: 5 Bold Predictions

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