No. 10 Ole Miss hopes to continue success vs. No. 18 Auburn
After snapping a five-game losing streak to a rival Tigers team last Saturday at home, No. 10 Ole Miss will try to duplicate the feat on the road a week later against another Tigers squad.
The Rebels (6-1, 3-1) will stay in SEC West play by visiting No. 18 Auburn (5-2, 2-1) on Saturday night.
Ole Miss is second in the division and Auburn is third. Alabama (7-1, 4-1) is first.
Ole Miss’ Lane Kiffin made history this week when he became the third Rebels coach to enter the top 10 in his second season — joining Houston Nutt (2009) and Johnny Vaught (1948).
After Kiffin’s squad beat LSU 31-17 in Oxford to break the Tigers’ reign of five straight wins in the series, the Rebels will try to do the same against Auburn.
The Rebels’ most recent win against the school was in 2015 when former Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze and quarterback Chad Kelly led the team to victories over both powerhouse programs in Alabama.
In vying for another streak-breaking win, Kiffin’s defense will try to contain a version of its star quarterback, Matt Corral, in Auburn’s shifty Bo Nix.
In addition to being sharp passers, Corral and Nix possess elite running skills. The Ole Miss quarterback is gutsy and more north-south, while the Auburn signal-caller is a devil-may-care gunslinger who darts out of the pocket and often zig-zags across the gridiron.
A common adage regarding Nix is who will Auburn get on any given Saturday — Good Bo or Bad Bo?
But Nix, a junior from Pinson, Ala., is trending up after passing for a season-high 292 yards and two scores and rushing for 42 — including a 23-yard touchdown run that sealed the Tigers’ 38-23 road upset of Arkansas two weeks ago.
He got a boost from his much-maligned receiving corps in Fayetteville and has taken care of the ball, tossing just two interceptions in 211 attempts after throwing seven in 2020.
“Basically, we have people like that, have to stay in your lanes, you got to push the pocket, you have to keep your eyes on him and not try to speed rush,” said Kiffin of controlling the evasive Nix, who has passed for 1,488 yards and rushed for 159.
With last week’s bye giving his Tigers two weeks to prepare, Auburn coach Bryan Harsin has had his attention on the cunning Corral, who has become the dominant variable in the Heisman Trophy equation after improving his ball security in 2021.
The Ventura, Calif., junior had 29 TD passes but 14 interceptions in performing inconsistently last season. This year, though, he has 15 TD passes and a lone interception while passing for 1,913 yards.
Corral, who has 474 rushing yards, is tied with backfield mate Snoop Conner and Missouri’s Tyler Badie with nine scores on the ground, second in the conference to Alabama’s Brian Robinson (11).
“A big part of that is their style of offense and their quarterback and his play,” said Harsin, whose squad will face its fourth ranked opponent of the season. “Front-runner for the Heisman. Completing about 70 percent of his passes.
“He runs the ball hard, he’s a physical player at that position, and he’s shown that throughout the entire season.”
Auburn leads the all-time series 34-11.
–Field Level Media