AUBURN TIGERS AT
OLE MISS REBELS
Saturday, 11:21 a.m., Vaught-Hemingway Stadium, Oxford
SEC Network (Play-by-play: Dave Neal, Analysis: Andre Ware, Sideline: Angela Mallen)
Opening line: Ole Miss -1 | Over/under: 50.5
Series history: AU leads 27-9 | At Oxford: AU leads 9-2 | Last 10: AU leads 8-2
OLE MISS REBELS (3-3, 0-2 SEC)
Head coach: Hugh Freeze (first year at Ole Miss, 3-3; fourth year overall, 33-10)
Offensive coordinator: Maurice Harris (spread/multiple) | Defensive coordinator: Dave Wommack (4-2-5/multiple)
Head coach Hugh Freeze has brought an offensive re-birth to Oxford, turning the Rebels into a dangerous opponent for any team. Freeze's team is averaging 31.3 points and 439.0 yards per game. Ole Miss has a balanced attack, putting up 225.7 passing and 213.3 rushing yards per game. If Ole Miss could play a little better defense -- 27.7 points and 379.8 yards per game -- it would really be going places. Despite being 0-2 in SEC play, the Rebels have done some good things. The Rebels lost by 19 at Alabama, but Ole Miss made the Crimson Tide look as bad as we've seen this season.
Against Texas A&M on Saturday, the Rebels had the Aggies against the ropes and let them off the hook. Ole Miss led, 27-17, with seven minutes left in the game, and A&M found a way to win. Even with six -- six! -- Aggie turnovers, the Rebels couldn't take advantage. Late-game miscues cost Ole Miss in that one. Up by four with 3:26 remaining, the Rebels failed to convert a 4th-and-1 on their own 39, and after A&M scored to take a three-point lead, quarterback Bo Wallace threw an interception on 1st-and-10 from the Aggie 32. Even in a losing effort, Ole Miss played relatively well on offense. Wallace threw two picks, but he also passed for 305 yards and a touchdown. Running back Jeff Scott carried 21 times for 108 yards and a score, and three Rebel receivers had at least five catches and 50 yards. As usual, the Ole Miss attack was balanced.
KEY REBELS ON OFFENSE
Bo Wallace, QB -- Wallace has been up and down this season, but he's capable of a fine performance. He's thrown for 1,145 yards and eight touchdowns, but Wallace has matched those touchdowns with eight interceptions. It's not a shock that when Ole Miss wins, Wallace takes better care of the ball. In Rebel victories this season, he has thrown for six touchdowns and one interception, but when Ole Miss has lost, Wallace has thrown for two TDs and seven interceptions.
Donte Moncrief, WR -- Moncrief is Wallace's favorite target. He ranks fifth in the SEC with 75.5 receiving yards per game, and he's second in the conference with five touchdown catches. Moncrief is a big fella at 6'3, 213, and he has been a model of consistency. The sophomore has a touchdown grab in every game but one -- Alabama -- this season.
Jeff Scott, RB -- Scott is averaging a solid 85.4 yards per game. While he picked up fewer carries earlier in the season, averaging just over 10 per game, he has shown that he can be a workhorse lately, rushing 19 and 21 times against Alabama and Texas A&M, respectively. With five touchdowns on the year and a 5.93 average per rush, Scott is a threat in the Rebel backfield.
KEY REBELS ON DEFENSE
Denzel Nkemdiche, LB -- There haven't been too many bright spots in the Ole Miss defense, but Nkemdiche is definitely one of them. Just a true freshman, he has eight tackles for loss, which ranks fifth in the conference. In addition, Nkemdiche has 38 tackles, two sacks, two forced fumbles and an interception. He should be a terror in the SEC West over the next few years.
Cody Prewitt, DB -- Prewitt has two of the Rebels' seven interceptions this season, and he's second on the team with 35 tackles. He also has two tackles for loss, two forced fumbles and a sack. If anyone in the Ole Miss secondary is going to make a play, it's likely going to be Prewitt.
Mike Marry, LB -- Marry is another guy that can get into the backfield. He has 33 tackles, three tackles for loss and a half-sack. Marry is a junior and one of the few upperclassmen on the Rebel defense. His leadership is key.