Game Time: 7:15 p.m. ET
TV: SEC Network
Live Stream: WatchESPN
Odds: Auburn opened as a 2-point favorite. The line later bumped up to 4.5/5 points.
On the heels of one of the most dominant performances of the 2016 season, the Auburn Tigers are primed to take a trip up to Oxford. Waiting for them will be the Ole Miss Rebels, who are one week removed from being on the receiving end of a dominant running performance. Unlike Auburn, who chewed up Arkansas with a dossier of running backs, Ole Miss was repeatedly peppered by the feet of one man: Leonard Fournette, who ran all over the Rebels down in Baton Rouge.
With the Tigers motoring, it would behoove to keep their confidence rolling along as they look to make a late surge in the SEC West while staying neck-and-neck with their in-state rivals near the top of the standings. Ole Miss, meanwhile, checks in at 3-4 to this point of the season with all hopes being lost and will be merely looking to salvage and hopefully put a damper on Auburn’s suddenly successful season.
3 things to watch:
1. The Auburn ground game vs. the Ole Miss run defense: You don’t really need me to tell you that Auburn’s run game is coming off one of the best performances of the year. When they’ve been on this year, they’re one of the best in the country. They were aided by last week’s performance, but at the moment, Auburn is 18th in the country in Rushing Success Rate and 31st in Rushing S&P+. That’s probably very bad news for an Ole Miss defense that ranks 89th and 51st in those respective categories on the defensive side of the ball. They’re not a sieve, but they’re certainly closer to average than good, so it could be another long night for an Auburn opponent.
2. Another tough test through the air for Kelly: It was tough as it was for Chad Kelly to face one of the best pass defenses in the country last week when Ole Miss traveled to Baton Rouge. Now, he’ll have to do it again one week later when Auburn comes to town. As of writing, the Tigers rank ninth in Passing S&P+ defense and 7th in Passing IsoPPP (which, if you’re unfamiliar with, can read up on here). Their Adjusted Sack Rate ranks as one of the best in the country as well, and that corroborates very well with their ranking of 19th in Havoc. How Chad Kelly plays under center may be the difference between a tight game or yet another blowout for Auburn.
3. The return of Kerryon Johnson: As if facing Auburn’s talented backfield wasn’t enough, they’ll be getting reinforcements as Kerryon Johnson is active for the game against the Rebels. Johnson had missed time after spraining his ankle a few weeks ago, but is now healthy and ready to go. Johnson has 538 yards and six touchdowns on the season already and should be fixing to get loose on Saturday if things bode well.