|College Football: Ole Miss at Auburn Preview & Picks|
|Written by Anthony Rome|
|Wednesday, 24 October 2007 06:42|
Perfect rebound game
After ending a brutal stretch with a heartbreaking loss, Auburn has a great opportunity to bounce back this week.
The 23rd-ranked Tigers (5-3, 3-2) return home Saturday to face Mississippi (2-6, 0-5), the SEC's worst team.
Oddsmakers from Bodog.com have made Auburn -17 point spread favorites (View College Football odds) for Saturday's game (Game Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 57% of bets for this game have been placed on Auburn -17 (View College Football bet percentages).
Auburn fell five spots in the poll this week after a 30-24 defeat to No. 3 LSU on Saturday. The Tigers had their four-game winning streak snapped, a disappointing end to an impressive performance during a rough stretch.
The Tigers began their challenging month by stunning then-No. 4 Florida 20-17 at Gainesville on Sept. 29, and knocked off Arkansas on the road Oct. 13 after routing Vanderbilt the week before. They came close to pulling another huge upset last week, losing on Matt Flynn's 22-yard touchdown pass to Demetrius Byrd with 1 second left.
"Three of the better teams in the country, on the road, at night, in a tough environment - I thought our guys have improved and held their own and we came within a whisker of pulling off a major trifecta," Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville said. "That would have been unbelievable after the way we started out and the way we played in those three games."
Tuberville's team plays three of its last four games at home and is one game out of first place in the SEC West Division despite starting the year 1-2.
To stay in the hunt for a spot in the SEC championship game, though, the Tigers need to get back on track offensively after disappointing performances in the last two games. Auburn tied a season low with 290 offensive yards in the 9-7 win over the Razorbacks and managed just 296 yards against LSU, including 97 on the ground.
Auburn's Brandon Cox, benched earlier in the season due to ineffectiveness, was 18-of-28 for 199 yards and two touchdowns last week. His 3-yard TD pass to Rodgeriques Smith with 3:21 left gave the Tigers the lead.
The Tigers lost six offensive starters from last year, and the young unit has suffered from inconsistency in 2007. It ranks 10th in the conference at 330.3 yards per game, leaving Auburn to rely heavily on its defense.
That group has responded, allowing 305.1 offensive yards per game - second-best in the conference. The Tigers gave up 14 total points in their previous two games before last Saturday.
In addition to the home-heavy schedule to close the season, Auburn's schedule gets easier over the next two weeks. Ole Miss and Tennessee Tech have a combined 6-10 record.
First up are the Rebels, owners of the conference's worst defense at 436.6 yards allowed per game. Their six defeats have come by an average of nearly 17 points.
Mississippi lost for the second straight time Saturday, 44-8 to Arkansas to drop to 0-5 in the SEC for the first time since 1984. The Rebels had no success in stopping Razorbacks running backs Darren McFadden (110 yards rushing) and Felix Jones (101 and two TDs).
"We put eight men in the box and if you can't tackle the guy with eight men in the box you've got problems," Ole Miss coach Ed Orgeron said. "They just physically whipped us."
Brent Schaeffer came in at quarterback in the third quarter for Seth Adams, who beat out Schaeffer for the starting job in the preseason. Schaeffer was 5-of-13 for 104 yards with one touchdown, but Orgeron announced Monday that Adams (9-for-21, 79 yards, no TDs, four interceptions) will start Saturday - although he'll be watched carefully.
Adams, a walk-on, has thrown 10 interceptions in the last three games. He completed 61 percent of his passes for 1,198 yards, eight touchdowns and four INTs in the first five contests.
"We're looking at why the turnovers happened and we think they're very correctable," Orgeron said. "Seth's going to continue to be our starting quarterback, but there's going to be less room for error. And if he shows that he can't do it, then we're definitely going to put Brett in there."
Auburn leads the series with Mississippi 23-8. The Tigers have taken three straight meetings and nine of the last 11, although the winning team at Auburn has alternated the last four games there, starting with the Rebels' 24-17 victory Sept. 25, 1999.
The Tigers, however, have won 10 of 12 overall home matchups against the Rebels.
by: Staff Writers - Email Us
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