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Ole Miss Football Ready to Cage the Tigers on the Plains

Adam Brown
Sports Editor

Matt Corral passes the ball. Photo by Josh McCoy / Ole Miss Athletics.

The Ole Miss football team returns to the gridiron this weekend as they travel to the Plains to face the No. 11 Auburn Tigers in an SEC West showdown. Kickoff is slated for 6 p.m. on ESPN.

Ole Miss (3-5, 2-3 SEC) is stepping back into action for the first time since the 24-17 loss to Texas A&M and their first bye week of the season.

“We took the bye week to get healthy and get a head start on finding a way to beat Auburn,” head coach Matt Luke said. “We’ll have to play well on the road against a very good team.”

This season, the Rebels’ rushing offense averages 276.6 yards per game in conference play which leads the league. Freshman quarterback John Rhys Plumlee has carried the ball for 508 yards on the season—a program record by an Ole Miss freshman QB and the fifth most by any quarterback regardless of classification.

Last week, Plumlee had knee surgery after an injury against the Aggies. After he regains his footing, he needs 36 more yards to break the school rushing record for a quarterback in a single season.

Over the past few games, the Rebels have used a two-quarterback system with Plumlee and Matt Corral. Between the two of them, only three interceptions have been thrown all season.

Auburn’s head coach Gus Malzahn discussed in his weekly press conference how Ole Miss uses a prolific running game with a sound defense.

“They are second in our league in rushing with a lot of explosive runs,” Malzahn said. “(Plumlee) is phenomenal with the ball in his hands and (Corral), he can definitely throw it.”

This season, Coach Mike McIntyre’s defense has forced at least one turnover in seven of the eight games of the season.

“Defensively they are really sound against the run game,” Malzahn said.

Auburn (6-2, 3-2 SEC) comes in after dropping a tightly contested game 23-20 to then No. 2 LSU in Death Valley. The Tigers offense ranks seventh in the conference with 415 yards of total offense, with 189 yards through the air and 226 rushing yards per game.

Sophomore running back JaTarvious Whitlow leads the ground attack averaging 79 yards per game and seven rushing touchdowns.

Auburn’s signal-caller Bo Nix has thrown for 1,458 yards with 12 touchdowns and six interceptions. The Tiger defense holds their opponents to an average of 17.9 points per game and a total of 342 yards.

“Defensively (they are) one of the top defenses we’ve faced since I’ve been here. They’re good in the interior and the secondary and very physical at linebacker,” Luke said.

This will be the 44th all-time meeting between these two programs. Ole Miss trails Auburn 32-10 in the series and the Tigers are 15-3 in Auburn.

Fans can watch all the action on ESPN or listen to the call on the Ole Miss radio network.

Adam Brown
Adam Brown
Sports Editor

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