The Rebels’ chances of going to their first bowl game since 2015 may have taken another hit, but the season is not yet completed. However, it doesn’t get any easier for them based on the remainder of their schedule, including this Saturday’s matchup against the Texas A&M Aggies.
Ole Miss currently sits at 3-4 overall and 2-2 in SEC play after last week’s 38-27 road defeat against the Missouri Tigers. Their final five opponents feature two teams in the AP Top 25 and one former member of those rankings. That opponent, Texas A&M, will travel to Oxford this Saturday in a game of the utmost importance for the Rebels.
The Aggies come into this game 3-3 overall and 1-2 in SEC play. Their three losses came against No. 1 Alabama, former No. 1 Clemson and former No. 8 Auburn. This will be their first game this season not playing as a Top 25 team. After being torched for 329 passing yards by Missouri quarterback Kelly Bryant, the Rebels will have to face another quarterback with a similar skill set in Kellen Mond.
The junior Aggie quarterback has completed 63% of his passes for 1,597 yards and 12 touchdowns. He is Texas A&M’s second leading rusher with 200 yards and three more scores.
He will face off against a Rebel defense that will be without their third leading tackler, Jacquez Jones, and Tariqious Tisdale in the first half because of targeting suspensions from last week.
On the offensive side, a quarterback carousel could be useful for the Rebels.
During John Rhys Plumlee’s third collegiate start last week, Matt Corral retook the reins for a few series before the Rebels settled with a two-quarterback system late in the second half. Ole Miss proceeded to get back in the game but was undone with a few miscues late.
“If we think it gives us the best chance to win the game, we’ll do it,” Ole Miss head coach Matt Luke said. “I don’t think anything is out of the question. It will be based on game plan and what gives us the best chance to win.”
The same could be said about the offensive line as Ben Brown might rotate with Eli Johnson at center like last week. True freshman Nick Broeker could also be in the mix at left tackle after receiving high praise from Luke at Monday’s press conference.
They will have to mesh quickly against the Aggies’ defense, a unit that was one of the first things brought up when Luke was asked about Texas A&M as a team.
“Defensively, that’s where I’ve spent most of my time watching, they are very good inside. They are physical and fast, very good at linebacker and are long in the secondary,” Luke said.
Buddy Johnson leads the Aggies with 38 tackles at linebacker. Justin Madubuike is one of their biggest playmakers on the defensive line with 21 tackles and two sacks. As a team, they’ve forced a total of eight turnovers — seven of them being interceptions.
Kickoff time is set for 6:30 p.m. and will be televised by SEC Network. This will also be the first time this season that alcohol will be sold in Vaught-Hemingway Stadium.