Coming off its third 40-point effort in the last four games,
No. 4 Auburn will face a stiff challenge Saturday when it
visits ninth-ranked Mississippi in an SEC West showdown. The
SEC is loaded with intriguing matchups on a weekly basis, but
this contest is particularly attractive since Ole Miss is
trying to bounce back from its first loss while Auburn is
hoping to avoid losing at both Mississippi schools. The Tigers
were defeated at current No. 1 Mississippi State 38-23 two
games ago before bouncing back with a 42-35 triumph against
“(Improving on a weekly basis) has been the plan all year from
day one,” said Auburn coach Gus Malzahn. “We are going to need
to have that happen because we are playing the meat of our
schedule with three top-10 teams on the road. I don’t know
another team in the country that is doing that.” The other game
that Malzahn is referring to is next month’s contest at No. 8
Georgia, but first the Tigers must find a way to score against
the nation’s top defense. The Rebels are giving up just 10.5
points per game and basically fell right on that number in last
week’s 10-7 defeat at 17th-ranked LSU.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, ESPN. LINE:
LINE HISTORY: After opening at Ole Miss -3,
the line has dropped to -2.5. The total has jumped from an
opening line of 50 to 51.
INJURY REPORT: Auburn – DE Carl Lawson
(Ques-Knee), OL Patrick Miller (Ques-Undisclosed)
Ole Miss – DT Robert Nkemdiche
(Prob-Undisclosed), CB Cody Prewitt (Prob-Shoulder), OL Ben
WEATHER REPORT: Clear skies are expected for
the game with the temperature near 52°F. Winds will be gusting
upwards of six mph.
ABOUT AUBURN (6-1, 3-1 SEC): The Tigers landed
at No. 3 in the inaugural College Football Playoff rankings –
one spot ahead of the Rebels – but whichever team loses
Saturday almost certainly will fall out of the playoff picture.
Auburn ran for a season-high 395 yards last week against South
Carolina with Cameron Artis-Payne totaling 167 yards and a
touchdown and quarterback Nick Marshall adding 89 and three
scores. Another key weapon for Auburn is Quan Bray, who leads
the nation in punt return average (25.2) and has a pair of punt
return TDs in 2014.
ABOUT MISSISSIPPI (7-1, 4-1): Ole Miss has
outscored opponents 62-3 in the first quarter this season,
including 7-0 against LSU last weekend, but the Rebels could
not dent the scoreboard over the final three quarters, losing
on an interception by Bo Wallace near the goal line with two
seconds left. “This league is brutal,” said Rebels coach Hugh
Freeze, whose team has thrived off turnovers this season,
leading the nation with 90 points off miscues. Wallace, who had
thrown 126 consecutive passes without a pick before the final
play against LSU, is the SEC’s active career leader in passing
touchdowns (58), total touchdowns (74), passing yards (8,415)
and total yards (9,322).
*Tigers are 10-2 ATS in their last 12 conference games.
*Under is 10-1 in Rebels last 11 games overall.
*Home team is 5-1 ATS in their last 6 meetings.
*Over is 7-1 in the last 8 meetings in Mississippi.
COVERS CONSENSUS: Action on this game is split 50-50,
according to Covers Consensus.
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