Averaging 38 points and 477 yards per game, the Rebels will make Auburn's defense work on Saturday, but will also challenge Auburn's offense to put some points on the board.
Much of the pressure of that will fall to quarterback Jason Campbell and the Tiger passing game. Last in the league, averaging 184 yards per game, Auburn has been struggling to be consistent throwing the ball. The Tigers got a chance to work on that Saturday in a blowout win over Louisiana-Monroe and the result was two deep balls to Jeris McIntyre early before the rout was in effect. Campbell said the passes give the Tigers a boost heading into this weekend.
"I think we gained a lot of confidence throwing the ball deep," Campbell said. "I think the main thing we got out of it is that we got a chance to show their defense some different looks. We need to come out on Saturday and keep them off balance and try to mix things up and try to keep the defense on their heels."
While Campbell hasn't been explosive, Manning has been downright on fire this season with 21 touchdowns passing and 2,663 yards. The chance to square off against the senior Heisman candidate is something that has Campbell excited about Saturday, but he knows he can't get caught up trying to match his opponent play for play.
"Any quarterback when you play this position you have some competitiveness in you," Campbell said. "It makes you want to go out and do your best also. You want to go out and play your game. You can't get caught up in all the hype that people are putting around the other person. You have to stay within yourself and not try to overdo it."
Wide receiver Silas Daniels is one of the players the Tigers are counting on to take the pressure of receiver Jeris McIntyre this weekend against Ole Miss.
Campbell said that he admires Manning for what he has been able to accomplish on the field in the face of enormous pressure from the fans and media at Ole Miss. The son of a former Ole Miss legend and brother of a current NFL quarterback, Manning has persevered and put his team into the thick of the SEC Western Division race.
"Even with all the attention he gets he never lets it get to him," Campbell said. "He always keeps a level head about the situation. He doesn't worry about all the hype and all the Heisman stuff. He stays focused and goes out there and plays on Saturday."
Something that Campbell will try to emulate in Manning's game this weekend is getting more players involved in the passing game. This season the Rebels have had five 100-yard receiving games from three different receivers while McIntyre is the only Auburn receiver to top the century mark this season with two 100-yard games. Campbell said that getting other players the ball will help to loosen up the Ole Miss defense Saturday.
"It's very important," Campbell said. "When people see 81 out there they know he can make plays after the catch. We have to keep them from concentrating on one guy. If we spread the ball to 2 (Ben Obomanu) and 9 (Anthony Mix) and 86 (Courtney Taylor), get them involved so people can't focus on one. You have to do your best to get more people involved."
Despite the need to throw the ball downfield Saturday, Auburn's offense is still going to be based on being able to run the ball. The mix of Carnell Williams and Ronnie Brown running the ball along with a solid passing game would be the best of both worlds said Campbell.
"We're going to have to come out executing and mixing it up," Campbell said. "We have to try to keep our defense off the field as much as possible because Ole Miss throws the ball a lot and will score some points. We just have to make sure we execute our offense and do what we can to control the game."