No. 24 Mississippi Rebels (5-2, 4-2 ATS) at Auburn Tigers (5-3, 4-4)
Jordan-Hare Stadium Auburn, A.L. Saturday October 31st, 12:20PM Eastern
By Jay Horne of Predictem.com
Point Spread: Mississippi -4/Auburn +4
The no. 24 ranked Mississippi Rebels will take part in a early afternoon SEC action shortly after noon eastern time this week as they travel to take on the Auburn Tigers. The Rebels pounded Arkansas last week 30-17 to climb back into the top 25 rankings after dropping out following dropping 2 of their first 3 games in conference play. The Rebels defense has remained stellar throughout the year, but the offense is finally starting to make plays to compliment higher scoring. As a result, the Rebels are again a force and will attempt to take down Auburn who is headed down hill fast.
The Tigers got off to a perfect 5-0 start, but have lost 3 straight games including a 31-10 shellacking last week to LSU. The Tigers offense has turned cold averaging just 15.6 points per game over the 3 losses after racking up a ton of points through the opening 5 games averaging 41 points per contest. The Tigers must get back on track offensively this weekend to avoid any disaster collapses after a promising start to the season. The Rebels defense should make things extremely tough on the Tigers, but Mississippi has won just twice in 13 games at Jordan-Hare Stadium.
Mississippi has an extremely talented defensive line that will attempt to shut down the big rushing presence of Auburn’s Ben Tate. The Rebels defense is allowing only 300 yards per game on the season. The same unit is allowing just 13 points per game which is good enough for 9th best in the country. The Rebels defense has a strong secondary that does not allow big plays and a defensive front that knows how to put pressure on quarterbacks. The defensive line has been subject to surrendering rushing yards, but they are very discipline and do not give up many points. The defense should hold the biggest advantage in this game as they attempt to stifle the struggling Auburn offense.
On the Rebels offensive side of the ball, QB Jevan Snead still has not performed as he did to end 2008. Snead leads the SEC with 11 interceptions while completing only 52% on the year. Snead does have 14 touchdowns on the year with some help of some big time playmakers on the outside, but the success has not been consistent. WR Shay Hodge is a strong looking receiver who has caught 31 passes for 459 yards and 4 scores. Hodge has played as solid as anyone on the offensive side of the ball. The Rebels big playmaker in WR Dexter McCluster has come on in recent weeks after a slow start. McCluster caught 7 passes for 137 yards in last week’s win over Arkansas and his re-emergence is one of the leading factors the Rebels offense is starting to move the ball more efficiently.
The Rebels offense should be able to have some success against the Tigers defense. Auburn is allowing 27 points per game and over 365 total yards per game. The defense has not been exactly dominated all year, but the offense was scoring a lot of points. If the offense fails to deliver again this Saturday, the Tigers defense will have to play much better.
On offense look for running back Ben Tate to get a good amount of touches. Tate already has 168 touches for 921 yards through the first 8 games. Despite the Tigers up and down production, Tate has not been held to less than 60 yards in a game this season. The Rebels defense is allowing 133 yards per game and if Tate could be used often to try and wear down that defensive front. QB Chris Todd sports solid numbers throwing for 1,409 yards with 12 touchdowns to only 3 interceptions. However, Todd is completing just 54% on the year and has failed to throw a touchdown in 3 straight games. The passing game has taken a big hit in recent weeks and that has been the biggest difference on offense. If the passing game continues to disappoint the Tigers could be facing a 4th straight loss. However, Auburn tends to finds ways to win at home and they will play better than they are while continuing their dominance over the Rebels this Saturday.
Jay’s Pick – Auburn +4