The Ole Hotty Toddy team reached out to our fellow FanSided site, FlyWarEagle.com, for their input of the upcoming matchup between the #3 Auburn Tigers and the #4 Ole Miss Rebels. This Saturday’s game will held in Oxford, and is the highlight matchup of the weekend slate. It is a must win for both teams to keep their College Football Playoff hopes alive. This matchup is the first ever top-ten game held at Vaught Hemingway Stadium.
Nicholas Allen is the editor of Fly War Eagle. You can follow Allen on Twitter @NicholasIAllen and you can follow the site’s Twitter @FlyWarEagle. In our preview with Fly War Eagle, we have put together a table of who we think will win in each category of the game. Below that, check out our sit-down interview with Allen on previewing the Tigers.
Q&A with Fly War Eagle
Ole Hotty Toddy: Auburn’s only loss has come on the road to the other Mississippi school. Are there concerns of being in the same boat as Texas A&M?
"Fly War Eagle: If you mean concerns of being over ranked before dropping several games in a row, no, that really isn’t a concern for Auburn. The Tigers have a very tough remaining schedule but each game is winnable."
OHT: Auburn is the defending SEC champs and played for the national title last season. They currently have the same record at this point in the season as they did last year. What are the differences in the comparisons to last season?
"FWE: Believe it or not, the biggest difference is that Auburn is actually a better team than they were a year ago. Even with a relatively poor performance last week, the defense has improved tremendously and the offense has scored more points per game and gained more yards to this point than they did through the first seven games of 2013. Of course, the rest of the SEC has improved as well – and the SEC West in particular."
OHT: It’s funny how Ryan Apilin talk has stirred up again with this matchup. How effective will he be to Gus and his staff? How will this be an advantage for Auburn since Freeze has change the play calls?
"FWE: Honestly, I don’t think Aplin will have any more impact in this game than any other GA would. Ellis Johnson said Aplin would watch some film with the Auburn defense this week, and I think all that really means is that he can point out a couple of formations or a few plays and say “this is what they are trying to accomplish with this block,” or “they run this play to try and set up this second one,” and things like that. It’s really going to be nothing earth shattering. The biggest impact has already been accomplished – Freeze and his staff had to take some extra time and energy to change their calls – other than that, the advantage Aplin gives Auburn is negligible."
OHT: Which Auburn players should Ole Miss watch for making an impact in this game?
"FWE: The biggest edition for Auburn since last season is junior college transfer wide receiver D’haquille Williams. He and Laquon Treadwell are built in a very similar way and have a very similar skillset. He’s made a huge impact by stepping in and becoming Nick Marshall’s primary target when Sammie Coates struggled with a nagging injury early in the season. This is likely to be Williams’ only season on the Plains and he’ll be playing on Sundays this time next year.On defense, it’s Jonathan Jones and Joshua Holsey. Jones has struggled at times, but he has also come up with big plays this year, including four interceptions in the end zone. Holsey has stepped up very well since Jermaine Whitehead was suspended early in the season and the secondary hasn’t missed a beat with him in there. The two will be tested by the Ole Miss passing attack, but they’ve been very solid recently."
OHT: Ole Miss’ defense hasn’t allowed more than 20 points in a game this season. Auburn’s offense hasn’t scored less than 20 points in a game this season. Which one breaks that stat, and why?
"FWE: Honestly, I think Auburn will break through. I know that the Rebels have been dominant thus far, and are perhaps the best defense in the nation – both from a talent and statistical standpoint. But the Tigers are beginning to really click on offense much like they did in the second half last season. I think Auburn will be the first team to score a touchdown in the first quarter against Ole Miss, and I think they’ll score 24-28 points in a close victory."