Auburn Tigers at Mississippi Rebels, Vaught-Hemingway Stadium, Oxford, MS
Saturday, October 30, 2010, 6:00 pm Eastern, TV: ESPN2
Opening Line: Auburn -8 1/2
Current Line: Auburn -7
Opening Total: 60
Current Total: 60 1/2
Money Line: Auburn -280/ Ole Miss +240
The past three weeks the number one team in the nation has lost a tough game on the road. Alabama, Ohio St and Oklahoma couldn’t get the job done in tough conference road games. Whether Auburn or Oregon is the number one team is debatable, but both have tough road games this week. Auburn travels to Oxford to take on the Ole Miss Rebels. Despite their 3-4 record, the Rebels are a dangerous team and Auburn needs to avoid a let down after back to back emotional wins at home against highly ranked Arkansas and LSU. Auburn has struggled against the spread in the last three seasons going 1-8 in Saturday road games and 0-6 in road games after playing a conference opponent.
The main reason for Auburn’s success is quarterback Cam Newton, the Heisman front-runner. He is a dual threat quarterback who has almost 2,500 combined yards passing and rushing with an astounding 27 total touchdowns and only 5 interceptions. In fact of the 39 total touchdowns scored by Auburn, Newton is responsible for 27 of them. He spreads the ball around as 6 players have at least 2 touchdown catches. Darvin Adams, Terrell Zachery, and Emory Blake are Newton’s most dangerous weapons at receiver. Blake only has 9 catches but 4 of those are for touchdowns. At running back, besides the dangerous Newton, Michael Dyer, Onterio McCalebb, and Mario Fannin split most of the carries. However, Newton has 157 carries, and Dyer is next with 99 carries. The Tigers average 303 yards a game on the ground and 486 total yards a game. The Tigers have a turnover margin of +4 and have forced 20 sacks this season. The problem for the Tigers is stopping the pass as they give up 249 yards a game through the air. They are only giving up 103 yards a game on the ground. Granted, the Tigers are outscoring their opponents 39-23 per game and teams have to throw a lot to catch up playing from behind. However, the Tigers ranked 101st in the country against the pass. It could be a problem as the play Ole Miss, Georgia, and Alabama down the stretch.
Quarterback Jeremiah Masoli threw for over 300 yards last week against Arkansas, and is licking his chops to face the porous Auburn secondary. Masoli is only throwing for 170 yards a game, 10 touchdowns, and 6 interceptions, but he also has 400 yards rushing and 3 rushing touchdowns. The Rebels rush for more than 211 yards a game led by Masoli and Brandon Bolden who has 559 yards and 5 touchdowns. When Masoli throws he spreads the ball around. as 5 Rebel receivers have at least 13 catches and a touchdown. however Markeith summers is his top target with 4 touchdown passes. The Rebels have a turnover margin of -3 and have forced 19 sacks this season. The Rebel seconday only has two interceptions. The Rebels are decent against the run giving up only 125 yards a game, but like Auburn struggle against the pass giving up 245 yards a game.
Both of these teams are good at getting to the quarterback but neither gives up many sacks either. That is probably because both quarterbacks are mobile and available to avoid the rush. Both of these teams struggle to stop the pass. I can see a lot of points being scored. The Tigers are perfectly capable of putting up 60 by them selves. After all, they did beat Arkansas 65-43 a couple of weeks ago. Auburn is clearly the better team but needs to avoid a let down. The Rebels have beaten a top 10 ten team in Oxford the last 2 years, and could pull off the upset if things go right.
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