The No. 11 Auburn will return home on Saturday to take on Ole Miss, one week after losing a heart breaker to LSU in Baton Rouge. The Tigers are likely out of the SEC West title race, but a hot November can put them in position to make a New Year’s Six Bowl for the third time in four years. Despite the issues currently swirling around Auburn’s QB situation with Joey Gatewood deciding to transfer out, this team is still capable of achieving some of its goals for the postseason.
Auburn: The Tigers defense has been phenomenal this season, but can’t keep them in every game. Marlon Davidson, Derrick Brown, Big Kat Bryant and the rest of that front seven consistently disrupt plays in the backfield and give their offense a chance. That offense simply hasn’t taken advantage of that chance against good opponents this season. Quarterback Bo Nix has completed just 41.9 percent of his passes against ranked teams with four touchdowns and six interceptions. The good news is that Ole Miss isn’t ranked and its defense has been less-than-stellar this year. The bad news is that confidence in Nix is waning, and an inconsistent outing could force Malzahn to make a quarterback change.
Ole Miss: The Rebels defense ranks 11th in the SEC in yards per play at 5.73 and has given up 134 plays of 10 or more yards — the most in the SEC. So … par for the course for the Ole Miss defense. Quarterback John Rhys Plumlee had surgery last week on his knee but should play on Saturday. He has started the last four games, but has shared first-team reps with fellow freshman Matt Corral prior to the bye week. Plumlee has provided a different element on the ground, but Corral has been a much more effective passer. It’ll be interesting to see how coach Matt Luke attacks an Auburn defense that has been stout against everyone this year.
Date: Saturday, Nov. 2 | Time: 7 p.m. ET
Location: Jordan-Hare Stadium — Auburn, Alabama
TV: ESPN | Live stream: WatchESPN.com
Game prediction, picks
Auburn’s play-calling is as predictable as the sunrise and the passing threat is as dangerous as a guppy in a shark tank. Running back JaTarvious Whitlow is still banged up, and the other Tigers running backs are either limited or inexperienced. Nix will have enough success through the air to give Auburn a relatively easy win, but Auburn’s offense isn’t going to be enough to get them a cover. The Rebels will recognize tendencies and take enough risks to keep it relatively close.