AUBURN, Ala. — Catch an Ole Miss highlight sometime, and it’s sure to feature plenty of quarterback Jevan Snead and running back Dexter McCluster, two of the better offensive players in the conference.
But don’t sleep on the Rebels’ defense, Auburn’s coaches warn. It might be the best one the Tigers have played this season.
“It’s comparable to LSU, but I think they may be a little more athletic,” said running backs coach Curtis Luper, lofty praise considering it comes a week after LSU held Auburn to season lows in points (10) and yards (193).
As if the Tigers (5-3, 2-3 SEC) don’t have enough to worry about today, trying to contain Snead and McCluster — Snead had 332 passing yards and two touchdowns last week against Arkansas; McCluster broke out for 260 combined yards and a score — the Tigers’ suddenly clueless offense will have to find ways to move the ball against one of the stingiest defenses in the country.
No. 24 Ole Miss (5-2, 2-2) quietly has put up stats comparable to SEC powerhouse defenses like Florida, Alabama and LSU.
The Rebels are ninth nationally in scoring defense (13.6 ppg) and 20th in yards allowed (300.0 ypg). A secondary that was expected to struggle has instead been a strength, giving up 166.9 yards per game, a mark that ranks 14th in the country.