With the likes of Nick Fairley, Carlos Rogers, and Karlos Dansby, we are all used to seeing great defensive players at Auburn. This year is no different as the Tigers have one of the premiere defensive ends in the country in Corey Lemonier. A projected first-round selection, Lemonier leads Auburn in sacks with five and quarterback hurries with seven. As a sophomore, Lemonier was named first-team All-SEC and was a preseason first-team pick this season.
The offensive line faces a daunting task trying to contain Lemonier, but a good game against Texas A&M has to be a confidence boost going into this game. If Emmanuel McCray can contain him, Bo Wallace should have enough time to throw on a suspect secondary. The rest of the Tiger line is containable, with the big rush coming from the outside with Lemonier and weakside linebacker Daren Bates. McCray and fellow tackle Pierce Burton are two of the most important players on the offensive side this week.
The Tigers have a pair of sophomores and juniors in the secondary, and have been lackluster all season at getting the ball back to their offense. Auburn ranks 13th in the SEC in turnovers gained and the only interception was by Bates, a linebacker. The Tigers are ninth in the SEC in passing defense, allowing opposing quarterbacks to complete more than 65 percent of their passes. The secondary depth is an issue for Gene Chizik and facing the spread could expose that vulnerability.
Dante Moncrief should have a field day tomorrow, starting off with a couple long comeback routes along the sideline. That will free him up for a deep pass later on, a mainstay of the Wallace-Moncrief connection this year. Vincent Sanders will need to build off of his big game against A&M with another strong performance this week. Establishing the passing game early will be big for Ole Miss.
One staple of the Ole Miss offense this year has been the ability to run the football. The Rebels rank 25th in the country in rushing offense and Jeff Scott has been a big reason why. A speedy back who can stretch the field well, Scott has given the Rebels steady production along with at least one big play per game. Matched with Randall Mackey, the speed duo has posed problems for poor tackling teams all year.
Luckily for Hugh Freeze, Auburn is just that, a poor tackling team. They rank 95th nationally in rushing defense, allowing 192.6 yards per game. Letting Lemonier overpursue and locking up Bates will clear up a lot of room for the running backs. Expect a lot of guard pulls as Ole Miss will try to run the ball more than pass this game, around 60/40. If Scott is going to have a marquee numbers game this year, this is as good a chance as any.
Topics: Auburn Football, Bo Wallace, Carlos Rogers, Corey Lemonier, Daren Bates, Donte Moncrief, Gene Chizik, Hugh Freeze, Jeff Scott, Karlos Dansby, Nick Fairley, Ole Miss Football, Randall Mackey, Sec Football, Vincent Sanders