After last week’s disappointing loss to the Arkansas Razorbacks — their weakest opponent to date — the Rebels are looking to reclaim the praise it received earlier in the season this weekend when they face off against the Auburn Tigers at 11 a.m. on Saturday.
This week The Daily Mississippian sat down with Auburn Plainsman sports editor Jake Weese to hear his thoughts and predictions for the upcoming game.
What does Auburn need to improve upon coming out of last week’s loss to South Carolina?
“Well, to be blunt, a lot. The offense showcased some strong strengths with Tank Bigsby running the ball well, but he only carried it 16 times. He needs to be carrying the ball more, no ifs ands or buts about it. Bo Nix received heavy criticism for his game, probably rightfully so after throwing three interceptions, but he did showcase some good things against South Carolina,” Weese said.
“On the defensive side of the ball, the defense started out strong but dwindled towards the end and started to let South Carolina score at will. This was an issue against Arkansas, and it (will possibly show) up again against Ole Miss. To beat the Rebels, the Tigers are going to need to be more consistent in all aspects of the game.”
Do you think Ole Miss’s defense will look like last week’s performance against Arkansas, or will it revert to that of weeks 1-3?
“From what I’ve seen, Ole Miss seems to have a pretty talented defense, but nothing to write home about. I personally think it’ll all come down to Auburn’s play calling. If the Tigers start running the ball more and relying on Tank Bigsby, I think they can score enough points to keep up with the Ole Miss offense. But if they try and lean too heavily on Bo Nix, who attempted 48 passes against South Carolina, I don’t think it’ll go well for them,” Weese said.
There may be a question mark at QB for Ole Miss. Who do you think Auburn should fear more: Matt Corral or John Rhys Plumlee?
“While John Rhys Plumlee presents a lot of dangers with his ground game, (but) even though he struggled against Arkansas, the Auburn defense should fear Matt Corral more. Especially if Jaylin Simpson, the No. 2 cornerback, is still dealing with an injury, this secondary has looked vulnerable at times,” Weese said.
“Corral and his strong arm is a big concern, especially with Kenny Yeboah out there, as Auburn struggles massively to cover tight ends.”
What is your prediction for the score, rushing yards and passing yards?
“I’m going with Ole Miss, 35-27. I simply haven’t seen enough out of Auburn this year, especially on the road, to feel comfortable picking them,” Weese said.
“As for rushing yards, I’ll say Tank Bigsby continues his streak, and he runs for over 100 yards for the third game in a row. D.J. Williams and Shaun Shivers help out and the backs combine for around 200 yards of on the ground. Through the air, Nix is more cautious but still throws one interception that proves to be costly, and overall throws for around 200 yards.”