GAMEDAY PREVIEW: Ole Miss vs. Auburn

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Oct. 13, 2012

Gameday Central | Scouting Report | Gametracker

TV: SEC Network | Ole Miss Radio Network (Sirius 137)

OXFORD, Miss. - The Ole Miss Rebels (3-3, 0-2 SEC) cap off homecoming weekend against the Auburn Tigers (1-4, 0-3 SEC) today with kickoff set for 11:21 a.m.

The Rebels come off of a heartbreaker against Texas A&M. They led the entire second half until the Aggies scored a go-ahead touchdown with less than two minutes remaining.

"We did find a way to get into the fourth quarter against a very good football team," said Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze.  "You'll see that as the year progresses. They're very talented."

With a solid offensive performance last weekend, the Rebels' offense continues to rank in the top five in many categories in the SEC, including total offense and first downs.

It's a huge difference from last year. In just six games this season, the Rebels have already scored more touchdowns (25) than all of last year (24) and have surpassed last season's win total.
 
As good as the offensive production has been, it's the Rebel defense that has been consistently improving over the weeks, with big performances by sophomore safety Cody Prewitt and redshirt-freshman Denzel Nkemdiche, who were both named to Phil Steele's Midseason All-SEC teams this week.

Prewitt has stepped up big during conference play, putting up video game-like numbers.  He recorded 13 tackles against No.1 Alabama, and six tackles, two forced fumbles, a fumble recovery and interception against Texas A&M last weekend.

Nkemdiche has burst onto the scene as one of the prominent young linebackers in the SEC.  The Loganville, Ga., product leads the Rebels in tackles (38), tackles for loss (8.0), forced fumbles (2) and sacks (2.0). In addition to the numbers, Freeze has noticed his increasing role as a leader of the defensive unit.

"To be a freshman and a leader is rare in this conference," said Freeze.  "He's kind of assumed that role defensively, he and Cody."

The Rebel defense as a whole now ranks fourth in the SEC and top 20 in the NCAA in both sacks (2.8/game) and tackles for loss (7.7/game).

The Auburn Tigers come in to Oxford after a 24-7 home loss to Arkansas.

"They've got a very talented defensive line that will give you problems," said Freeze.  "It keeps them in most games.  If their offense ever starts clicking, they're going to be a very good team in this conference regardless of what their record is.  We all know that from being around this conference."

This will be the 37th meeting between these two teams, with Auburn leading the all-time series 27-9.  Ole Miss will be looking for its first win against the Tigers since a 2008 victory in Oxford 17-7.

This is the 85th Homecoming game in Ole Miss history. The Rebels are 67-15-2 all-time and have 13 of their last 15 games on Homecoming. It's the first time that Auburn has served as the Homecoming opponent.

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