Holes in the run defense and a trio of crushing turnovers ended Texas A&M’s dreams of an undefeated season last week, but SEC West supremacy remains a legitimate goal. The Aggies will try to bounce back quickly when they host another team bidding for an SEC West title in Ole Miss on Saturday.
Texas A&M quarterback Kyle Allen had three interceptions run back for touchdowns in a 41-23 home loss to Alabama last week and Kyler Murray added another pick. “No doubt that we need to play better at the (quarterback) position,” Aggies head coach Kevin Sumlin told reporters. “Those guys will be the first to tell you that.” Those quarterbacks will be going up against a Rebels secondary that has 10 interceptions on the season but was carved up for 384 passing yards in a 37-24 loss at Memphis last week. “Defensively, I have evaluated every one of them,” Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze told reporters. “It is very frustrating. Like I’ve told our coaching staff, it really doesn’t matter what you know, it matters what your kids know.”
TV: 7 p.m. ET, ESPN.
LINE HISTORY: Books opened Ole Miss as 4-point home faves, but that’s moved to -5. The total is down to 63.5 from the opening 66.
Texas A&M – RB James White (Questionable, ankle), LB Otaro Alaka (Out for season, shoulder).
Ole Miss – DB Trae Elston (Probable, head), LB Tayler Polk (Questionable, undisclosed), P Will Gleeson (Questionable, undisclosed), DB Kailo Moore (Questionable, undisclosed), WR Damore’ea Stringfellow (Questionable, undisclosed), RB Jaylen Walton (Questionable, ankle), DT Robert Nkemdiche (Questionable, concussion), OL Robert Conyers (Out for season, knee), OL Laremy Tunsil (Eligible Saturday, suspension), LB C.J. Johnson (Mid November, knee), DB Tony Conner (Out indefinitely, knee), DT Issac Gross (Out for season, neck).
WEATHER: Forecasts are calling for a 55 percent chance of thunderstorms and temperatures in the low 70s.
WHAT CAPPERS SAY: “The Aggies beat themselves in a home loss to Alabama on Saturday, surrendering three interceptions returned for touchdowns. It won’t get any easier this week on the road in Mississippi. The Rebels playoff hopes were crushed with a loss to the Memphis Tigers, and they try to pick up the pieces this week at home against Texas A&M.” Covers Expert Jesse Schule.
ABOUT TEXAS A&M (5-1 SU, 4-2 ATS, 3-3 O/U): Allen threw for 13 touchdowns and two interceptions while guiding the Aggies to a 5-0 start but is suddenly unsure of his job security after the disaster against Alabama last week. The sophomore sat in favor of true freshman Murray for a pair of possessions, though Murray did little in the short stint to distinguish himself. Allen took over the position from former Aggies player Kenny Hill due to the latter’s tendency to turn the ball over last season, including a pair of picks by Hill in a 35-20 home loss to Ole Miss.
ABOUT OLE MISS (5-2 SU, 4-3 ATS, 3-4 O/U): The Rebels’ defense has allowed at least 37 points in three of the last five games and could be without its biggest weapon in defensive lineman Robert Nkemdiche, who suffered a concussion while playing offense last week. Nkemdiche joins a long list of injured Ole Miss defenders that also includes key defensive back Trae Elston. “As far as Robert (Nkemdiche), you just don’t know,” Freeze told reporters of Nkemdiche’s potential availability for Saturday. “I know he loves to play the game. I am not in charge of protocols but I know he loves the game and wants to play. We have to make sure he is safe and ready to play.”
* Aggies are 1-6 ATS in their last seven games following a S.U. loss.
* Rebels are 4-1 ATS in their last five home games.
* Under is 7-0 in Rebels last seven games in October.
* Over is 13-6 in Aggies last 19 games in October.
COVERS CONSENSUS: Fifty-nine percent of Covers users are backing the Aggies.