Who: Auburn (1-4, 0-3 SEC) at Ole Miss (3-3, 0-2)
When: Saturday, 12:21 p.m. ET
Where: Vaught-Hemingway Stadium (60,580) | Oxford, Miss.
TV: SEC Network (Dave Neal, Andre Ware, Angela Mallen)
Radio: Auburn IMG Sports Network (WVRK-FM 102.9 in Columbus)
Line: Mississippi -6
What to know about the Rebels: In Hugh Freeze’s first year as head coach, Ole Miss has already surpassed last year’s win total … the Rebels are on a 16-game losing streak against SEC competition, but they’re showing signs of improvement. No other team has played top-ranked Alabama as closely (33-14) and the Rebels lost to No. 22 Texas A&M (4-1) by a field goal last weekend … it’s Homecoming week in Oxford, adding some spice to The Grove, one of the country’s best tailgating spots. Ole Miss is 67-15-2 all-time in homecoming games, and 13-2 in its last 15, but has never played Auburn for the occasion … the Rebels are in the SEC’s top five in total offense, first downs and third-down conversions.
When last they met: Auburn 41, Ole Miss 23 … Oct. 29, 2011 at Jordan-Hare Stadium: Clint Moseley tossed four touchdown passes on just 15 attempts, and Michael Dyer rushed for 177 yards. More notably, Auburn outscored its guest 24-0 in the second half before a final-play touchdown. Mississippi’s Brandon Bolden, now a New England Patriot, rushed for 114 yards and two touchdowns on just 13 carries.
All-time series: Auburn leads 27-9, with a commanding 9-2 advantage in Oxford. The teams have met at Vaught-Hemingway (which broke ground a century ago this year) each even year since 1992, and the Tigers have won four times by double digits. At all locations, the Tigers have won 7 of the past 8 meetings and 16 of the past 19. Auburn head coach Gene Chizik is a perfect 3-0 against Ole Miss.
Which Tigers are licking their chops: Sophomore tailback Tre Mason and junior fullback Jay Prosch. Chizik and offensive coordinator Scot Loeffler say they’ll play more. Whether that happens remains to be seen, but Prosch said he’s very comfortable blocking sweeps for Mason, and here are Mason’s relevant numbers:
Non-conference (2 games): 36 carries, 196 yards (5.4 ypc), TD; Auburn scored 50 points (25.0 per game, 1-1 record)
Conference (3 games): 23 carries, 111 yards (4.8 ypc); Auburn scored 27 points (9.0 per game, 3-0 record)
The run average hasn’t changed much. But in SEC games, Mason’s workload has decreased, and so has Auburn’s scoring. No editorializing or anything, but you do the math.
Who’s keeping the Auburn coaches up at night: Sophomore wide receiver Donte Moncrief, whose 75.5 yards per game rank fifth in the SEC and trails only Mississippi State’s Chad Bumphis with five touchdowns. With Auburn CB Chris Davis’ status unknown for Saturday with a head injury, Moncrief could have a big day.
Extra point: Ole Miss is 3-0 when scoring first, 0-3 when its opponent scores first.