GAME NOTES: After a huge upset last weekend and a promotion in the polls, the
third-ranked Ole Miss Rebels will try to keep their undefeated run going on
Saturday afternoon at Kyle Field in an SEC bout with the 14th-ranked Texas A&M
Ole Miss made a statement at home last week in defeating then-No. 3 Alabama,
23-17, scoring the go-ahead touchdown with just 2:54 to play on a 10-yard
touchdown pass from Bo Wallace to Jaylen Walton.
“I’m just so proud of our young men,” Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze said. “You
can’t lose a game in 30 or 45 minutes. You have to play for 60 minutes and
that is something we’ve preached since we’ve been here…It’s a huge win for
our program and our fans. It’s been a tremendous day.”
The Rebels are now No. 3 in the AP poll, tied with Mississippi State. It’s
their highest ranking since being the preseason No. 1 in 1964.
While Ole Miss is trending upwards, Texas A&M slipped in the polls after its
first loss of the season last week at Mississippi State (48-31), as it tumbled
from No. 6 to No. 14.
“There weren’t a whole lot of things that were different from the other five
weeks,” Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin said. “Except, basically, they made plays
and we didn’t.”
The Aggies have defeated the Rebels in all six previous meetings in the all-
time series, including last season in Oxford, 41-38.
The Ole Miss offense (35.8 ppg, 461.6 ypg) has performed very well this season
and is led by its Heisman dark horse candidate at quarterback.
Bo Wallace was nothing short of outstanding against a vaunted Alabama defense
last week, completing 18-of-31 passes for 251 yards with three touchdowns and
no interceptions. On the season, he’s completing a lofty 68.5 percent of his
passes for 1,522 yards, 14 touchdowns and six interceptions.
“It’s going to be a huge challenge going (to Texas A&M),” Wallace said. “They
have one of the most hostile environments in college football…We’re right in
the thick of things in the SEC West. Going on the road to a hostile
environment is why you go to school here.”
Wallace spreads his passes out fairly evenly between his top four receivers,
with Laquon Treadwell (25 receptions, 362 yards, four TDs), Cody Core (20
receptions, 315 yards, four TDs), Vince Sanders (20 receptions, 302 yards,
three TDs) and Evan Engram (17 receptions, 246 yards) all in the midst of
The rushing attack only averages 3.7 yards per carry, although Jaylen Walton
(40 carries, 238 yards, three TDs) has impressed as the lead back. I’Tavius
Mathers (33 carries, 152 yards, two TDs) is also in the mix.
Ole Miss’ defense has been even more impressive than the offense. The unit has
held all five of its opponents to 17 points or fewer and ranks second in the
nation in scoring defense (10.2 ppg) and fifth in total defense (277.6 ypg).
The defense has no shortage of playmakers, with 16 players registered double-
digit tackles with no one tallying more than Mike Hilton’s 27. Senquez Golson
has been a game-changer in the secondary with four interceptions, and Cody
Prewitt (25 tackles, 3.5 TFL, INT) is one of the best safeties in the SEC.
With last week’s game versus Mississippi State well out of hand late, Texas
A&M was able to pad its stats and finish with 31 points and 526 yards, but it
struggled most of the afternoon with Kenny Hill throwing three interceptions
and getting sacked four times. The offense is still one of the best in the
country, ranking third in both scoring (47.8 ppg) and yardage (583.2 ypg).
Despite his struggles last week, Hill has proven himself to be one of the most
dangerous signal callers in the nation. He’s completing 64 percent of his
passes and ranks third in the FBS in passing yards (2,110), while tossing 21
touchdowns to five interceptions, adding 171 rushing yards.
The absence of Malcome Kennedy (33 receptions, 378 yards, two TDs) last week
really hurt Hill, as the remaining receivers had several notable dropped
passes. Kennedy is questionable to return this week as he nurses a shoulder
injury, although the Aggies’ receiving corps is incredibly deep with Ricky
Seals-Jones (30 receptions, 293 yards, three TDs), Josh Reynolds (23
receptions, 402 yards, seven TDs), Boone Niederhofer (20 receptions, 181
yards, TD), Edward Pope (18 receptions, 369 yards, four TDs) and Speedy Noil
(16 receptions, 255 yards, three TDs).
The ground game, which rushes for 188 yards per game, is led by the efforts of
Trey Williams (287 yards, four TDs) and Tra Carson (244 yards, four TDs).
The Aggies’ defense (20.5 ppg, 406.8 ypg) has played well for the most part
this season, although the unit had no answer for Dak Prescott and the Bulldogs
last week in allowing 559 yards.
Myles Garrett has established himself as one of the conference’s best pass-
rushers as a freshman with 6.5 sacks. Deshazor Everett (35 tackles) and Armani
Watts (32 tackles) have the only two interceptions for a defense that has not
held its weight in the turnover battle.
Ole Miss is riding an incredible high after its upset of Alabama, but it will
have no time to bask in that glory with another brutal test this week. The big
story will be whether or not the Aggies’ explosive offense will be able to
expose the Rebels’ stout defense. It’ll be a hard-fought game down to the
wire, but expect Sumlin to have his guys ready to bounce back at home.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Texas A&M 35, Ole Miss 34