Yes, we’re all disappointed in how things went down in Baton Rouge, and the vast majority of the fanbase expressed some form of frustration with the way that things were handled in what very well could have been a huge road win.
Now, Auburn is back at home for the rest of the season. We’ve done all of our trips, and lost at the current #1 and #6 teams in the country. Not bad, but this team hasn’t come close to reaching its peak. With Ole Miss coming in before a bye week, this is the opportunity to start climbing the ladder. Will we do it? Find out below:
#11 Auburn (-19) vs Ole Miss (O/U 53)
(I will do this paragraph in the style of the Auburn offensive preparation)
TiGeR mOvE bAlL wElL. dOeS fOoTbAlL tHiNgS.
In all seriousness, Auburn should have no problems here, the defense will be the defense and the offense will look like they have ‘figured things out’ since the Rebels, while competent, don’t have the talent Auburn has. That normally adds up to Gus looking good. It’s just sad that the postgame will be, HEY! WE FIXED IT! No you didn’t and we will find that out in 2 weeks when we lose to Georgia by 3...ugh.
Auburn has shown a willingness so far this season to lay the wood on bad teams despite struggles against better ones. Where Auburn has struggled in passing success rate (simply, staying ahead of the sticks), the Ole miss defense has been just as bad or worse in giving up those consistent plays. The difference is that Ole Miss also gives up a ton of explosive pass plays, while Auburn can at least do that. On the other side of the ball, the Ole Miss offense is hot garbage outside of kinda being able to run the ball, but I wouldn’t exactly say they’re good at it. Particularly, they can’t run between the tackles (95th in the country in running backs being stopped at or behind the LOS), so I fully expect the Auburn defense to beat down this Ole Miss offense. Maybe I’m missing something here, but I want a bloodletting. The Ole Miss offensive line probably isn’t good enough to hold Derrick Brown or Marlon Davidson, and I expect them to let out some frustration while running free. Also, give DJ Williams all the carries.
I think auburn is still a really good team in a league with two great teams. Ole miss is not one of those. Ole miss football is a corpse being drug around by a guy with two first names who is probably really nice and doesn’t deserve this at all.
I’m not sure what the Rebels do well, but I bet it isn’t “run the ball against incredible interior defensive lines” or “defend dynamic receivers and a quarterback who plays really well at home.” Bo Nix is all we have now. So he had better stay healthy. Looking at you offensive line.
Auburn 40, Ole Miss 12
-Son of Crow
Auburn finally returns to the friendly confines of Jordan-Hare Stadium and they ought to be pissed off about how things went last week and ready to take it out on somebody. That somebody is Ole Miss who continues to rotate QBs and has wins over Arkansas, Vanderbilt and Southeastern Louisiana this season. Auburn needs to take care of business early and give some other guys the opportunity to play. I think DJ Williams showed last week he’s a pretty capable running back and he needs all the carries to get some experience for Georgia and Bama. It appears a change on the offensive line is imminent and it’s way past time to try someone else at center and to shuffle the line up a bit. Defensively, you can’t ask for more from a unit that held LSU last week to half of their season average in points. As I said in Snap Judgments last week, after all the criticism of the offense, watch Auburn go out and score 40-45 this week.
Auburn 44, Ole Miss 17
Auburn returns to the Plains with another loss against another top 10 team in another hostile environment. And hoo boy people have some #takes on it. Bottom line on this Auburn team is that when they have needed to help a true freshman quarterback by effectively running the football, they have…honestly met my very low expectations. This is, after all, the same offensive line we saw collapse oh so often last season. They’re a year older, a year wiser, a year strong, and they’re still close to their ceiling in terms of ability. But hey, at least their decent at pass protection since we most definitely will have a newfound appreciation for Bo Nix if that falls apart down the stretch!
Now that I got that out of the way, let’s appreciate some things about this team. They have a championship caliber defense. Never forget them. They’ve won a lot of games for us that we aren’t competitive in without them. Y’all remember those punt coverage issues? Those got fixed. Pass coverage and tackling has been outstanding. And DJ Williams! The running back who probably is best suited to start regardless of Boobee’s health did nothing to make us doubt him in Baton Rouge. Another thing to remember about this team is that they win the games that are more about us than they are about the opponent or the environment. Which brings us to game 9, the 7th of which Auburn completely dictates victory or defeat.
Keys to victory
Pass to set up the run. Not a popular theory among football purists, but necessary with this offensive line. They simply can’t move the line of scrimmage straight up. So loosen a defense up early and often. Yards on the ground will suddenly appear!
Get Bo Nix the hell out of there if we’re up 17 points or more in the 4th quarter. We’ve got to have him healthy.
I’d like to see better play on the outside defensively at the line of scrimmage. Ole Miss is gonna want to run often. It would be nice to see our defensive ends/Buck play within themselves and not get lost in the shuffle.
We saw what DJ Williams did with 10 carries. Let’s give him closer to 20. Feed this kid and get him comfortable with the speed of the game. He’ll be a difference maker the rest of the way.
Give us something, anything in the way of creativity in the pass route progressions. Bo Nix is a freshman, but he’s been at his best when we run pace and just let him play ball. It’s clear he’s overthinking things and it’s not helping. Sometimes simplifying things for a player isn’t so much about the playbook, but more about attitude. Let him see the whole field (I do not believe he currently is being coached to read the entire field), and live with the decisions he makes. It may result in a turnover. It also may result in the maturation of a generational talent at quarterback who was thrust into this job too soon because Kelly Bryant ended up at Missouri.
Auburn is going to win the football game, convincingly. Auburn 52 Ole Miss 10
At the beginning of the season, I said that Auburn could be a very good football team and go 6-6. Auburn could also be a very poor football team and still go 6-6. The schedule was that difficult. 6 easy wins, 6 difficult wins. Here we are, 8 games in, and Auburn is 2-2 in those toss-up games. Yes, in hindsight, A&M is not the juggernaut we believed they’d be in August. But Auburn played 4 tough opponents, all away from home, and won two of those games.
That being said, the current perception of this team is based on one important thing: Auburn beats the tar out of lesser opponents. Auburn scored 21 points in the first 6 minutes against Mississippi State (which I believe is the fastest Auburn has put up 21 points since at least 1995) on their way to a 56-23 rout. Auburn dominated Arkansas 51-10 in a brunch game. The perception of Auburn depends on Auburn running out of the tunnel Saturday night and absolutely obliterating Ole Miss. Auburn has to start fast and finish strong. We all know the defense will do their job. That’s not who I’m worried about: this offense has to have another game similar to Mississippi State. Bo Nix has to be great. Not to get the win; there’s a large enough talent game between the two schools that Auburn could beat Ole Miss playing their C+ game. No, Nix needs the confidence. 4 home games remain. No more hostile crowds, no more travel, no more new stadiums. Bo Nix has 4 more chances to become Auburn’s future star quarterback. That has to begin Saturday night. There’s a portion of this fan base that believes there is a large conspiracy about how a coaching staff, with all their jobs on the line, would deliberately start a quarterback that wasn’t as good as the backup. Unfortunately Bo needs to go out there and prove them all wrong.
Likewise, Gus Malzahn needs to call a great game. The fans need it, yes, but the team needs it more. Trust your guys - all of them! We have a great team with great players! Trust them. You trusted them against Mississippi State and Arkansas and Texas A&M and Oregon. Trust them again against Ole Miss. And then against against Georgia.
Everyone assumed Auburn would beat Ole Miss at the start of the year. When that happens, and you lose the way you lost against Florida and LSU, you need to beat the opponents you’re supposed to beat. And you need to win big.
Auburn 59, Ole Miss 14
This is Auburn’s true trap game of the year. Against Mississippi State, Auburn had the revenge angle to stay focused. Auburn will always be ready to play when facing Arkansas under Malzahn. However, Ole Miss is the exact type of opponent that could trip up the Tigers. Facing a not awful team following an emotional loss on the road, a very big game looming in the distance and some drama off the field with a well liked teammate leaving has all the makings of what could be a frustrating night in Jordan Hare....
But not against this defense. Derrick Brown, Marlon Davidson and this crew will show up ready to go. The Rebels strength is running the football something this defense takes pride in shutting down. I fully expect this senior laden unit to come out & set the tone early. It will be up to the offense to respond. I think they do, behind a big game from DJ Williams and a much better performance from Bo Nix, Auburn pulls away and wins comfortably to setup another possible top 10 matchup in two weeks. Auburn 48 Ole Miss 17
Ole Miss isn’t very good on defense outside of Benito Jones, and that should help Auburn get right on offense. Jones will definitely be a menace, especially against the weakness of Auburn’s OL. This needs to be a game for Shivers and Schwartz to attack the perimeter early to open things up for DJ Williams later in the game. Not to mention that we could really use another solid game from Jordan-Hare Bo Nix.
On defense, I worry about Ole Miss using the same philosophy. There were able to move the ball well early on Texas A&M by using their speed on the perimeter. Auburn must tackle well in space, something they’ve done well all season.
If Auburn starts fast, we should get a full helping of Jordan-Hare at Night in an absolute bludgeoning. If Auburn starts slow on offense, I don’t think it will take much for the crowd to get frustrated. Look for Auburn to defer if they win the toss, get an early stop, and try to take a shot at a big play down the field. Hit those checkboxes and covering shouldn’t be a problem.
Auburn 37, Ole Miss 13 (Auburn covers, under)
If Auburn can’t beat this Ole Miss team at home, then we truly are in trouble. It would be as bad or worse than losing to Tennessee last year. I’m not saying it couldn’t happen, but this Ole Miss team just isn’t good enough to beat this defense no matter how bad out offense could theoretically be. I don’t think this game will be a problem. I except auburn will score a touchdown on most of their possessions and I just don’t see Ole Miss scoring on more than a couple of theirs. Auburn is going to cruise into Amen Corner with 7 wins and a good season still available for the taking.
Tigers 38 - 10
Time for some of the fans to calm down. Gatewood’s gone, we lost a really frustrating game to LSU, and the sky is falling even though about 2-3 teams might be undefeated with our schedule. Ole Miss is the perfect medicine for this situation. It’s been explored that Gus knows how to beat up on some bad SEC teams, and he’ll take the time to try and get Bo Nix right against the Rebels. We’re back at home, where Bo’s been good, and we’re going to get into rhythm before the bye week and Georgia. Auburn essentially has two games left in the season that really matter, and this one ain’t one of them unless we lose or win really close. We’re not going to do either of those. The LSU loss galvanized the team two years ago. I have no idea if it’s going to do that again in 2019, but it won’t matter this weekend against Ole Miss. D.J. Williams goes nuts with about 20 carries and a couple of scores, while Bo gets back on track a little bit and tosses three touchdown passes with no turnovers. Auburn gets to 7-2 and heads into the bye week to figure out the backup quarterback situation.
Tigers 48, Rebels 10.