GAMEDAY: Rebels Take On Auburn
Oct. 7, 2017

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By Brian Scott Rippee, OleMissSports.com 

Ole Miss caps off a three-game road trip that has extended for nearly a month at Auburn on Saturday. The Tigers are coming off of a 49-10 win over Mississippi State.

The Rebels are looking to rebound after a rough loss in Tuscaloosa last weekend and will be tasked with neutralizing an Auburn team that is playing good football. Quarterback Jarrett Stidham is becoming more comfortable with the offense and is complementing a defense that is allowing just 11 points per game.

"Auburn is very good defensively and they have a very good front seven," head coach Matt Luke said. "Offensively, they are going to run the ball and attack us in the speed sweep motion. They are going to take our eyes and mess with our safety fits, and they have two very good running backs, a good offensive line, and then good receivers they stretch the field with."

Ole Miss' offense has been stagnant over the last two games, mustering only 19 points in its last eight quarters of football. The message this week was about simplifying things in an effort to allow Shea Patterson and the offense to play more freely.

 "I think the more you can eliminate where guys can just focus, that's what that means," Luke said. "You take some stuff out, where you can just focus and rep the same thing against everything you could possibly get I think the more that you simplify, the faster the kids will play and the more they will understand what is going on and can problem solve on the field."

Auburn's offense starts with its ground game, one that is accumulating over 200 yards per game. Kamryn Pettway and Kerryon Johnson are a pair of versatile backs that will give the Rebel defense a variety of different looks. It sets the table for Stidham who is completing 72 percent of his passes at nine yards per throw.


 

 

"I think that is why their pass game is so good is because everyone is coming up to stop the run, and when you do that it makes you efficient in the passing game," Luke said. "I think that has why they have scored so many points in the last two games. I think he is getting more of a comfort level in what they are trying to get accomplished. I think it is a huge challenge."

The Tigers have a number of long, physical receivers that provide a match up challenge on the perimeter.

"They like to take the top off the coverage," defensive back Myles Hartsfield said. "You've got to stay in front of them and win the first five yards and just play the ball. Those guys go up and get the ball."

This is the final game of what has been a tough road trip for Ole Miss that has taken them across the country as well as to the state of Alabama twice against two top 15 teams.

 "Throughout my tenure here, we have had a lot of gut punches and a lot of tough losses," Luke said. "But we have always responded and have always bounced back and they will again."

Kickoff is set for 11 a.m.

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