By Adam Brown
Ole Miss returns home this weekend to play host to the Texas A&M Aggies in an SEC West showdown in the confines of the Vaught. Kickoff is set for 6:30 p.m. on the SEC Network.
As Rebels fans watch the game, they will also be able to enjoy a cold beer or hard seltzer for the first time.
“We’re looking forward to the challenge Saturday,” Ole Miss head coach Matt Luke said. “I’m excited about a great atmosphere. We’ve really fed off that, the two SEC night games we’ve had here.”
Ole Miss (3-4, 2-2 SEC) looks to bounce back from a heartbreaking 38-27 loss to the Missouri Tigers last weekend in Columbia.
Against the Tigers, Ole Miss used both freshman signal-callers John Rhys Plumlee and Matt Corral in the contest. Heading into Saturday, the Rebels look to rotate both of them throughout the game.
Texas A&M head coach Jimbo Fisher said in his weekly press conference he realizes how much of a threat the dueling quarterbacks can be.
“(John Rhys) is fast and they are doing a good job with what they have to do,” Fisher said.
Sophomore Elijah Moore leads the Nasty Wide Outs this season with 44 targets for 562 yards through seven games and a touchdown. His teammate, junior wideout Braylon Sanders, returned to the practice field this week after re-aggravating his hamstring against Alabama.
“I think that he is game ready because he has the experience, it’s just making sure that when we get out there that he can make the burst full speed,” Luke said. “He looks good in the live work that we have done.”
Texas A&M (3-3, 1-2 SEC) is averaging over 420 yards of total offense per game, with 288 coming through the air and 132 yards per game on the ground. Junior signal-caller Kellen Mond ranks third in the SEC with 1,597 passing yards on the season. Mond is completing 63.2 percent of his passes on the season, with 12 touchdowns and four interceptions. He’s also run for three scores on the season.
“Mond is a very talented runner. He can make plays with his feet and at the same time he has a bunch of weapons at wideout,” Luke said.
Mond’s top target has been his high school teammate Jhamon Ausbon. Aubon has hauled in 37 catches for 506 yards and two touchdowns. Wideout Quartney Davis leads the receiving corps with four TD receptions. True freshman running back Isaiah Spiller is the Aggies’ leading rusher, averaging 5.5 yards per carry on 51 carries for 282 yards and three touchdowns.
Defensively, the Aggies are allowing 324 yards per game, giving up 116 rushing yards and 208 through the air. Junior linebacker Buddy Johnson leads Texas A&M in tackles, averaging 6.3 stops per game. Five different Aggies have tallied interceptions for Texas A&M, including two from DBs Myles Jones and Roney Elam. Texas A&M possesses two dangerous weapons on special teams as well. Senior punter Braden Mann is No. 3 in the country, averaging 48.6 yards per punt. Kicker Seth Small is 10-for-12 in field goal attempts, including a long of 50 yards.
Saturday will be the 12th meeting between the Rebels and the Aggies. Texas A&M holds an 8-1 advantage in the all-time series over Ole Miss. By NCAA rules, the 2014 and 2016 games had to be vacated by the Rebels.
Fans can watch all the action on SEC Network or listen to the call on the Ole Miss Radio Network.