Game Time: 7 p.m. ET/6 p.m. CT
How to watch online: Watch ESPN
Odds: Ole Miss -1.5 || Over/under 68 (via OddsShark.com)
Series History: Texas A&M Lead 6-3, Ole Miss has won the last three
Last Meeting: Ole Miss scored 23 fourth quarter points including a Gary Wunderlich game-winning field goal for a 29-28 comeback victory in Shea Patterson’s collegiate debut
With both teams coming off commanding victories over non-conference teams, Texas A&M travels to Oxford. A victory for either team will paint a slightly rosier picture of the season entering the final week of the regular season but might not be enough to allow either coach to keep his job.
Speculation has been rampant this week about the future of the Texas A&M (still not vacant) head coaching position with Jimbo Fisher being linked to the job. On the other side of the field, until the NCAA’s ruling on Ole Miss’ sanctions comes down (which could be at any time), no one really knows the state of the Ole Miss head coaching job. If the Rebels win one of their final two games to finish at 6-6, could Matt Luke be give the job on a permanent basis?
Regardless of the speculation of who will be manning the sidelines next season, it’s been a trying season for both teams on the field. After the season opening loss at UCLA and a testing game the next week against Louisiana-Lafayette, the Aggies righted themselves on the season going 5-1 over a six game stretch before losing their last two SEC games.
The Rebels season could have gone off the rails after the demoralizing loss to Arkansas, but rallied for a last second victory at Kentucky. If not for the self-imposed bowl ban, Ole Miss would be shooting for bowl eligibility today which would have been seen as a success entering the season regardless of the blowout losses earlier in the year to Alabama and Auburn.
After coming off the bench against Auburn to supplant Kellen Mond, Nick Starkel looks to be the starter again for Texas A&M at quarterback. The freshman quarterback threw for 416 yards in the first half last week against New Mexico. He opened the season as the the starter, but suffered a broken ankle and it was reported at the time that he was likely lost for the season. With the Aggies offense appearing to click in the last six quarters with Starkel back under center, the job looks to be secure as his...for now.
For Ole Miss, Jordan Ta’amu has been a revelation since replacing the injured Shea Patterson. The lightly recruited Hawaiian JUCO quarterback has been a more than capable replacement for the five star. While the level of competition has dropped since facing Alabama and Auburn earlier in the season, Ta’amu has thrown for at least 368 yards in his three starts with 11 total touchdowns and only two interceptions.
The stacked Ole Miss receiving corps led by A.J. Brown would help any signal caller, but the real success has been the revival of the running game. With the exception of the Kentucky game, the Ole Miss running game has averaged more than five yards per carry each game dating back to the Vanderbilt game October 14. Jordan Wilkins has picked up four-100 yard games on the season and has a shot at a 1000 yard season with a productive final two games of his senior season.
Points Points Points
The over/under is 68 and I could easily see that going over. Neither teams’ defense has been particularly good. Statistically, A&M boasts the better defense with a ranking of 58th in the S&P+ while Ole Miss is 117th. The Rebels are a slight home favorite, but if Starkel can play up to the level he has the last two weeks, we should be in for a shootout.
Texas A&M 45, Ole Miss 42