StatTiger: Analyzing Ole Miss at Auburn Game

Stuart Carter (StatTiger) crunches the numbers to predict a winner in Auburn's game vs. the Ole Miss Rebels and picks other SEC games this week.

Ole Miss 2-5 (0-4 SEC) at No. 23 Auburn 5-3 (3-2 SEC)

Series record: Auburn leads 26-9-0.

2011 National Rankings:

Auburn:/Ole Miss:
Rush Offense: 35th/Rush Offense: 107th
Pass Offense: 106th/Pass Offense: 107th
Total Offense: 93rd/Total Offense: 116th
Score Offense: 84th/Score Offense: 104th
Rush Defense: 85th/Rush Defense: 115th
Pass Defense: 55th/Pass Defense: 52nd
Total Defense: 75th/Total Defense: 110th
Score Defense: 75th/Score Defense: 79th

About Ole Miss...

The Ole Miss Rebels come to Jordan-Hare Stadium with just two victories and are winless in SEC play after four tries. With only five games remaining on their schedule, the Rebels must win four to become bowl eligible.

After being crushed by Alabama two weeks ago, the Rebels rebounded by nearly upsetting the Arkansas Razorbacks this past Saturday. Ole Miss built a 17-0 lead on the Razorbacks, but ended up losing 29-24.

During their heart-breaking loss to the Razorbacks, the Rebels had their best offensive showing of the season against a conference opponent, totaling 370 yards. Auburn is coming off its worst defeat since Gene Chizik took over the program, losing to LSU in Baton Rouge, 45-10.

The Rebels' leading rusher is speedy running back Jeff Scott, who has 394 rushing yards and six touchdowns this season. Running back Brandon Bolden has been plagued with an ankle injury the majority of the season, limiting his production to just 173 yards on the ground.

Jeff Scott is a threat as a running back and a returner.

Randall Mackey had his most productive game of the season against Arkansas, passing for 219 yards and two touchdowns. Mackey is a mobile quarterback, who has the ability to make plays with his feet as well as passing the football.

The Rebels have a solid trio of wide receivers in Donte Moncrief, Nickolas Brassell and Ja-Mes Logan. All three have more 240 receiving yards and Brassell, who can run out of the wildcat formation, has an additional 58 yards on the ground.

Linebacker Mike Marry leads the Rebel defense with 60 tackles, which ranks fourth in the conference. This includes being second on the team with 4 1/2 tackles for lost yardage. Senior defensive lineman Wayne Dorsey leads the team in tackles for loss and quarterback sacks. Cornerback Charles Sawyer has four interceptions to go along with his 39 tackles.

The Rebels are ranked No. 94 nationally in third down defense, but have been effective in the red zone where they are No. 17 nationally. They have averaged 4.7 tackles for loss on defense, which ranks No. 96 nationally.

The Rebels are currently No. 19 in net punting, No. 1 in punt return offense and No. 59 in punt return defense. They are No. 83 in kick return offense and No. 87 in kick return defense. Bryson Rose is 4-4 on field goals this season and was 16-18 last year. If this game becomes as low scoring affair, the Rebels special teams could play a role in the outcome of the game.

Inside the Numbers

•The Ole Miss defense is allowing 270.8 yards rushing per game to conference opponents. All four opponents have surpassed 200 yards in rushing against the Rebels.

•The Ole Miss defense is allowing 5.32 yards per rush on first down and 6.25 yards per rush from the second period on.

•The Rebel offense has struggled passing on third down, making only 30.6 percent of their conversions with a pass rating of 90.8 on third down.

•During his limited action this season, Auburn's Clint Moseley has a pass rating of 111.1 on third down, converting 27 percent of those situations throwing the football.

Clint Moseley is shown in action at LSU.

•Auburn's run offense has generated 48 plays of 10 yards or more and nine plays of 20 yards or more. The Rebel defense has allowed 45 run plays of 10 yards or more and 17 of 20 yards or more.

•The Ole Miss pass offense has generated 25 pass plays of 15 yards or more and 11 plays of 25 yards or more. Auburn's pass defense has surrendered 36 pass plays of 15 yards or more and 11 pass plays of 25 yards or more.

•Through eight games Auburn's Michael Dyer has averaged 6.04 yards per rush in the first period and 4.44 yards during the fourth period. Of his seven run plays of more than 20 yards four have come in the first quarter.

Onterio McCalebb leads the offense with 12 impact plays this season. The Auburn junior averages a first down or touchdown every three touches of the football along with 6.9 yards per play.

•Auburn runs the ball 77 percent of the time on first down and Ole Miss runs the ball 70 percent of the time on first down.

•Who should win the battle up front? Ole Miss is No. 120 in tackles for loss allowed. Auburn defense's defense is No. 51 in tackles for loss on defense.

Auburn's offense is No. 116 in tackles for loss allowed and the Rebel defense is No. 96 in tackles for loss on defense.

Why Auburn should win

•Auburn's offensive strength is its run offense, which will face an extremely weak run defense by the Ole Miss Rebels.

•The Ole Miss offense has averaged 12.8 points per game on offense against conference opponents, good news for an improving Auburn defense.

•Taking Auburn's scoring margins against its last four conference opponents versus the Rebels' scoring averages in conference play, Auburn projects to win the game 27-10.

•Under Chizik as head coach, Auburn is 18-2 at Jordan-Hare and Ole Miss is 4-8 on the road during the same time period.

Why Ole Miss should win…

•Taking the Rebels' scoring margins in conference play and Auburn's scoring average in their last four conference games, Ole Miss projects to win, 18-15.

•Auburn is ranked 116th nationally in allowing tackles for loss. If Ole Miss can apply enough pressure with its defense it has a grand opportunity to make this a low scoring contest to steal late in the game.

Houston Nutt is head coach of the Rebels. He is 1-2 vs. Auburn since taking over in Oxford.

•During their five conference games the Tigers have given opponents 38 points off of turnovers, something Ole Miss must take advantage of should the Tigers become sloppy with the football.

•Mackey has given the Ole Miss offense a recent boost compiling a pass rating of 148.9 on first down and 144.5 on second down. Of his 81 pass attempts, 68 percent have come on the early downs. Look for the Rebels to pass early and often on the Auburn defense.

Final Word...

On paper Auburn appears to match up better with Ole Miss than its five previous conference opponents, but Auburn has averaged only 14.2 points per game in its last four conference games. This means the Rebels have a fighting chance to pull off the upset at Jordan-Hare, especially if they are able to control the Auburn running game.

The Rebels will sell out to stop the running game, which might not be too difficult considering the inconsistent play of the Auburn offensive line. Auburn is averaging only 4.0 yards per rush in its last five games and has been docile in its approach to pass offense.

Moseley will make his second college start this Saturday and his working environment should be less hostile in the confines of Jordan-Hare. If he is given more time to pass, perhaps we will see what the redshirt sophomore is capable of accomplishing.

Auburn must still overcome the deficiencies on the offensive line and the Tigers are still searching for someone other than Emory Blake, who is still questionable to play with an injury, to step up at wide receiver. If Auburn can establish its running game, that should allow Moseley the opportunity to pass when Auburn wants, not when he must. Look for the perimeter players like Onterio McCalebb, Tre Mason, Quan Bray and Trovon Reed to make a major impact this week.

Defensively, Auburn needs to limit the big play this week, which could be more of a challenge than most might expect. Ole Miss coach Houston Nutt will throw early on first down and expect a heavy dose of misdirection plays in his team's running game.

Auburn is currently allowing a big play every 44.3 plays, just slightly off from the one every 48.2 snaps in 2010. When Ole Miss hits the big play in its pass offense, the majority have come on second down. Of its pass plays of 15 yards or more, 52 percent have come on second down and of the pass plays of 25 yards or more 55 percent have fallen on second down. The key for the Auburn defense is putting Ole Miss in obvious passing situations on third down where the Rebels have struggled with a rating of 90.8.

Like its games against South Carolina and Florida, Auburn should defeat Ole Miss with a sound running game and good defense as long as the Tigers don't fall victim to a rash of turnovers.

The scoring margins and averages from conference games only indicate a Rebel victory of 18-15 and an Auburn victory of 27-10. The wide margin in projections is a strong indicator this game could be Auburn's first dominating victory over a conference opponent or another thrilling finish. Until the Tigers can prove they can be effective in their pass offense, I would not expect anything other than a close fought ball game with Auburn coming out on top for the sixth time this year. Auburn 21, Ole Miss 16

Around the Southeastern Conference...

Arkansas over Vanderbilt, 31-17
Georgia over Florida, 27-20
Mississippi State over Kentucky, 24-14
South Carolina over Tennessee, 23-17

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