#15 Texas A&M Aggies vs. #24 Ole Miss Rebels
Saturday – October 24 – 6:00pm CT
Vaught-Hemingway Stadium – Oxford, MS
It was a rough Saturday last weekend for both teams as the Aggies fell at home to Alabama 41-23 and Ole Miss went down to the Memphis Tigers 37-24 on the road. The Rebels were cruising earlier in the season when they shocked the Crimson Tide in Tuscaloosa, and had climbed to as high as #3 in the AP poll. They came crashing back down to earth two weeks later when they were roughed up 38-10 by the Florida Gators. A&M had finally cracked the top 10 themselves but dropped six spots in the rankings after their loss. Despite all that, both teams still have a legitimate shot of taking home the SEC West division title with some necessary help from both Alabama and LSU, but this weekend is truly a must win situation for each to keep those hopes and dreams alive.
What took look for when A&M has the ball
Quarterback Kyle Allen had the worst performance of his career against Alabama throwing an astounding three interceptions that were all returned for touchdowns. A&M tried to look for a spark by replacing him at the end of the first half and the beginning of the third quarter with Kyler Murray, but the young freshman was not able to get anything going and threw an interception of his own. The key for the offense is not to panic and understand that Alabama has been shutting down everybody ever since their loss to Ole Miss. They can also point to the excellent game that Ricky Seals-Jones finally had and build on that momentum. Christian Kirk proved once again why he may be the most dynamic freshman in the nation when he returned yet another punt for a touchdown last weekend and was explosive as always in the pass catching department. The Rebels are known for having one of the toughest defenses in the nation led by defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche, but he got a concussion last Saturday and has been under protocol all week. Several other key members joined him with injuries and that could be exactly what the doctor ordered to get the Aggie offense back on track.
What to look for when Ole Miss has the ball
Junior quarterback Chad Kelly has put up some very lofty numbers this year throwing for 2,234 yards and 16 touchdowns. That production has resulted in the Rebels currently sitting at seventh best in the country in total offense and averaging 43.6 points per game. Wide receiver Laquon Treadwell has bounced back tremendously from a horrific injury that ended his season last year, and has been the beneficiary of much of Kelly’s passes to the tune of 654 yards and four scores while averaging seven catches per ball game. He’ll be complimented by wideouts Cody Core and Quincy Adeboyejo who have combined for 800 yards receiving and nine scores themselves. Unlike the Aggies who have been banged up at running back all season, Ole Miss has a bevy of three running backs that consistently get carries led by Jaylen Walton and his 5.7 yards per carry average. The offense has shown the ability to be extremely explosive while keeping a very solid balance between the air and ground games. The A&M defense aside from giving up a couple big runs early against Alabama, actually played quite well as they have all season. The best defensive player in the land and full on freak show Myles Garrett will have to get to Kelly early and force a big turnover to help quiet the always rowdy crowd coming fresh from the Grove.
The oddsmakers see some points being put up in this one with an over/under set at 61.5 and that seems reasonable. They also had Ole Miss open at minus six and that doesn’t quite smell right. Call yours truly a homer all you want, but the Aggies will rebound from the Bama loss and keep the Rebels’ season caught in a tailspin.
Prediction: Texas A&M 37 – Ole Miss 27