Tigers hope to trample the visitors!
War Eagle, everybody! It’s Ole Miss week, as the calendar turns over to October. Both teams enter this contest with a 3-1 record, and are looking to build on that. The winner of this game is almost guaranteed a winning record this season, and the loser could struggle to become bowl-eligible. I think fans of both teams, if asked before the season if they’d be satisfied with a 3-1 record, would have certainly taken that!
The Tigers have home wins against Washington State, Arkansas State, and Mississippi State, and a road loss to LSU. Ole Miss has beaten Vanderbilt in Nashville, Southeast Missouri State at home, and Texas in Austin. The Rebels lost to Alabama in Tuscaloosa this past Saturday. Ole Miss is already a veteran road team, going 2-1 there. Auburn comes into this game off a bye week.
For the second week in a row, rain could be the big story of the game for Auburn. An approaching cold front Saturday could spark a few showers during the game, but the real player in this is a potential tropical storm approaching from the Caribbean Sea. There are still questions about this storm that the meteorologists can’t answer, but most models have this storm making landfall around Mobile-Gulf Shores Saturday morning, and sweeping through southeast Alabama in the afternoon-evening hours. In other words, the game could be rain-free, washed away in a deluge, or anything in between. We’ll have to wait and see. Hopefully Auburn’s experience with the rain in Baton Rouge two weeks ago will help.
Offensively, there are some similarities between these two teams. Auburn has gained 1758 yards this season, Ole Miss has put up 1675. Auburn is a bit more run-heavy while the Rebels have been more balanced. The biggest difference has been ball security. Ole Miss has 4 lost fumbles and 2 interceptions, to Auburn’s 4 lost fumbles, and 4 interceptions. However, Auburn has put the ball on the ground 12 times, and only lost 4 balls, while Ole Miss has lost 4 of 5 fumbles. Of the 2 Ole Miss interceptions, none were thrown by starting QB Bo Wallace. One was an errant end-around pass, and the other happened late by a backup quarterback.
Defensively, Auburn has given up more yards, 1758, to Ole Miss’ 1432, Ole Miss has given up more points, 96 vs. Auburn’s 88. Each team has forced 6 turnovers. It’s tempting to say Ole Miss has the better defense, but they do have a 252 yard day against Southeast Missouri State averaged into that. SEMO is an 0-4 FCS school that has lost by double digits to every team it has played. Sun Belt Champ Arkansas State is Auburn’s worst opponent, and they are BCS level.
Prior to 1971, Auburn and Ole Miss were very infrequent opponents, playing just 6 times in the previous 42 seasons, and never before 1928. In those early games, Ole Miss held a 4-2 record. On January 2 of 1971, Auburn played Ole Miss in the Gator Bowl, with a great quarterback battle between Pat Sullivan and Archie Manning. The Tigers won that duel, 35-28. The series featured three home-and home two-game series in the 1970s and 1980s, with Auburn winning all six games. The series became an annual one in 1990, and since that time Auburn has won 18 of 23 contests. Ole Miss has not beaten Auburn twice in a row since 1952. The Rebels hope to break that streak Saturday.
At home in Jordan Hare Stadium, Auburn has been pretty good against the Rebels in the past 40 years, only losing twice. While there were blowout wins in 1985, 1995 and 2005, these have usually been fairly close games. Auburn is 13-2 against the Rebels all time in Jordan Hare Stadium. The only losses came in overtime in 1999, and the infamous “Obomanu drop” game in 2003 against Eli Manning and crew.
We’ll have our usual open thread up early Saturday morning, and we encourage everyone to chime in and enjoy another great Auburn football Saturday! I’ll not be able to participate, as I’ll be at this game, hoping to stay dry and cheer my Tigers on to victory. War Eagle! And let’s beat Ole Miss!
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