The Ole Miss Rebels return home to Vaught-Hemingway Stadium where they will play the Texas A&M Aggies under the lights to try to get back on track.
Both of these teams are coming off losses with Ole Miss losing to Memphis and the Aggies falling to Alabama in College Station. These two teams are both a win away from bowl eligibility but both have higher hopes than just a six-win season. They are two of many in the SEC West that are in contention to make a run to the SEC Championship in Atlanta
Chad Kelly is coming off of a game that he went 33/47 for 372 yards and a pair of touchdowns and interceptions. Kelly was sacked three times which is something is the Rebels need to eliminate. This is possible in this game with the addition of Laremy Tunsil.
Both tackles must be aware of the speed rush of defensive end Myles Garrett. If Rebels can keep Myles Garrett out of the backfield, Kelly will have more time which will lead to passes down the field and not the quick hitters to the left or right side of the field. Kelly’s longest pass was just 26 yards last weekend. Rebels must give Kelly time to let him use the arm strength that we all have seen out of him.
The running game has haunted the Rebels again this season as they have run for an average of five yards a carry this season. That’s not terrible, but when facing good defenses like Texas A&M’s redefined John Chavis defense, the Rebels are well under par. Against Florida they had an average of just 2.1 yards a carry. And last weekend against Memphis, they gained just 1.7 yards per rushing attempt. With Tunsil back, this could improve as their backs work best in open field. Third downs last weekend did not come easy as they went 4/13.
The receiving corps of Ole Miss will be going up against a Texas A&M defense that is 17th in pass defense holding quarterbacks to an average of 62 completion percentage and just 183 yards a contest. Laquon Treadwell is coming off of a career day as he had 14 receptions in the loss to Memphis. Even though this Texas A&M defense is ranked 17th against the pass, I believe that the Rebels can have success through the air if they can get Treadwell matched up against the former running back who moved to cornerback, Brandon Williams. Even if Treadwell is matched up with their other cornerback, De’Vante Harris, Treadwell has a three inch height advantage with Harris being 5’11.
The defense will be going up against one of the better offenses in the conference as they are averaging around 35 points a game. The Landsharks will need to get to quarterback Kyle Allen in a hurry. I think the biggest thing that will bother this Rebel defense is the secondary matching up against these tall receivers with their tallest being Ricky Seals-Jones who is 6’5” and Josh Reynolds who is 6’4”. The Rebels reportedly had a good week with tackling drills. Limiting the missed tackles will prove to be a must.
The key to winning this highly anticipated SEC matchup is for the offense to control how this game goes. If the Rebels can do this, they could see Texas A&M play a similar game to the way Rebels played last weekend against Memphis. They need to put them in the position of trying to play catch up.
My Pick: Ole Miss over Texas A&M 34-28
Grant Daniels, a student at Oxford High School, is a sports correspondent for HottyToddy.com. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org