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Saturday, August 22, 2015

What Must Auburn Do: Ole Miss

image created by: AUlteredEgo

Not to sound arrogant, but have you seen the first half of the Rebel/Ackbar/Black Bear schedule? Except for an Alabama team that ***hasn't named their QB as of this writing, it's a walk in the park. Take a look!

Date Opponent / Event Location Time / Result

09/05/15 vs. UT Martin TV Oxford 11:00 a.m. CT
09/12/15 vs. Fresno State TV Oxford 2:30 p.m. CT
09/19/15 at Alabama * TV Tuscaloosa, Ala. 8:15 p.m. CT
09/26/15 vs. Vanderbilt * Oxford TBA
10/03/15 at Florida * Gainesville, Fla. TBA
10/10/15 vs. New Mexico State (HC) Oxford TBA
10/17/15 at Memphis Memphis, Tenn. TBA
10/24/15 vs. Texas A&M * Oxford TBA
10/31/15 at Auburn * Auburn, Ala. TBA
11/07/15 vs. Arkansas * Oxford TBA
11/21/15 vs. LSU * Oxford TBA
11/28/15 at Mississippi State * Starkville, Miss. TBA

Up until their tilt at home with Texas A & M, Ole Miss should breeze to at worst, a 6-1 result. On October 24th however, it gets real. 
That is a murderers row finish. No way they can make it thru that stretch unscathed in my opinion. If they do? Then they are SEC West Champs and represent the SEC in the College Football Playoff.

Last season the Rebs allowed opposing teams to score in the red zone 73.53% of the time. That mark is higher than their own 70.73% 

Even though Ole Miss led the country in Scoring Defense in 2014, the offense finished ranked 70th in Scoring Offense, 75th in Rushing, 38th in Passing Offense, and 94th in Kick Off Returns.

So, what must Auburn do to ensure victory against Gus Malzahn's good friend Coach Freeze and his talented Rebel-Black Bears?

Run the ball effectively. 

The Tigers must be able to control the ball, on the ground, without turnovers. It won't be easy with that defense. 

Ole Miss was a Top 20 team against the pass last season, and for things to work in their favor several things must happen as suggested by Saturday Down South, they will be just as good this season. Read this excerpt:
"We also can’t forget about the Ole Miss secondary, which could be just as good despite losing two All-Americans. Mike Hilton, who has played every position available to him in the secondary, was moved to Rover safety this spring, which will give him freedom to own the back part of the defense and flex his ballhawk skills. Tony Conner, a potential high-round NFL draft pick, and Trae Elston return to the secondary as well. Then there’s Tee Shephard and Tony Bridges, two unproven junior-college cornerbacks showing their talent and size advantage during practice."

Jeremy Johnson will have a more difficult time throwing in this game. The Rebels have experience, and deep talent against the pass. So, running the ball is a must. 

Key will be zero turnovers on offense for the Tigers, as in every conference game, and keep the penalties to a minimum.

The Tigers must capitalize on every trip into the Red Zone. Failure to do so could result in what we saw in Tuscaloosa last season. Lots of yards gained, and a loss. This particular problem has been an emphasis this summer. 

Scoring in the Red Zone should not be an issue this season.  I look for an Auburn victory, although it won't be an easy win, make it: AU 35 UM 31

***Ole Miss had not named a starting QB either as of this writing

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