Game Preview: Rebels look to keep bowl hopes alive against Auburn

Ole Miss looks to keep bowl dream alive. Photo by Justin Ford

The Ole Miss Rebels have to get over their last game against the Texas A&M Aggies and focus on the Auburn Tigers.  The Rebels enter Saturday’s homecoming game in Oxford with a 3-3 record (0-3 in the SEC) and are still in a position to get to the six wins necessary to receive one of the bowl bids that the SEC has this season.  Unlike last season, the Rebels expect to win every game this year.  The Auburn Tigers enter the game 1-4 (0-3 in the SEC) and are reeling after an embarrassing 24-7 loss last week to the Arkansas Razorbacks.  Looking to end a 16-game SEC losing streak, the Rebels have to take better care of the football and contain the War Eagles running attack.  This is the 37th meeting between the schools Auburn has a 27-9 advantage and has won the last three meetings.

Here are some keys to an Ole Miss victory on Saturday vs. Auburn:

Better ball management. The Rebels like run an up tempo pace in games to defenses off balance.  Bo Wallace has done a great job of mixing the passing and running game up this season.  Donte Moncrief needs to be targeted a bigger part of the Rebels offense.  Moncrief is 5th in receiving in the SEC with 75.5 receiving yards a game and is 2nd in touchdowns with 5 this season.

Continue to dominate the running game.  Jeff Scott has been the workhorse in the running game.  Scott is averaging 85.0 yards a game and ranks seventh in rushing yards a game in the SEC.  The running attack of the Rebels ranks 25th in the nation with 213 yards per game.  Scott has 425 total rushing yards on the season and is on pace to rush for 1,000 yards.

Handle success better. The young Rebels have to learn how to handle success better.  They have to put away teams early and not let them hang around like they did against the Aggies and UTEP.  The homecoming crowd of the Rebels will give the team energy and the team needs to feed off that energy more.

Good quarterback play.  The Rebels have used three quarterbacks in every game this season.  Barry Brunetti and Randall Mackey have played and are used at different times of the game to give the team a new look.   Bo Wallace threw for 309 yards against the Aggies last week and need to continue to make good decisions.

Control the line of scrimmage.  The major key to the game for the Rebels will be controlling line of scrimmage for the offense and the defense.  The Rebels were unsuccessful in stopping the Aggies running attack.  The Aggies ran for 352 yards last week and the defense was not able to get the Aggies off the field in key situations.

Terry Davis covers Ole Miss football for MemphiSport. Follow him @Terryd515.

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