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Oct 9, 2021; Auburn, AL, USA; Coach Bryan Harsin reacts during the game between Auburn and Georgia at Jordan-Hare Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Todd Van Emst/AU Athletics
Oct 9, 2021; Auburn, AL, USA; Coach Bryan Harsin reacts during the game between Auburn and Georgia at Jordan-Hare Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Todd Van Emst/AU Athletics

Auburn Looks to Jump-Start Season vs Ole Miss

Going into the final weekend of October, the Auburn Tigers (5-2, 2-1 SEC) find themselves on the launching pad to bring the SEC West race down to the wire. The Ole Miss Rebels (6-1, 3-1 SEC) sit just above Auburn at second place in the division, and an Auburn win would put the Tigers in the driver's seat to challenge Alabama for a bid to Atlanta in the Iron Bowl.

The Rebels will bring a high-octane offense onto the Plains, led by junior quarterback Matt Corral, who Bryan Harsin called "the frontrunner for the Heisman." Corral has the numbers to support such a designation, having tossed 15 touchdowns to just one interception this season while owning the fourth-best overall quarterback rating in the nation.

On the ground, Ole Miss shares the ball between four different ball carriers. Corral leads the team with 474 rushing yards and nine touchdowns, but a three-headed attack from Henry Parrish, Jr., Snoop Conner, and Jerrion Ealy has racked up 1,115 yards and found the end zone 13 times.

The Tigers have had an extra week to study for the exam, and the Ole Miss defense looked locked in against an upstart LSU squad that's performed at a higher level since the news of Ed Orgeron's upcoming departure at the end of the season.

Taking down the Rebels at home would be a triumph in many respects. Ole Miss ranks second in the Southeastern Conference in points per game (41.8), as well as first in total yards (3,788). And the Rebels like to risk it on fourth down--they've attempted more fourth down conversions than any other team (30), and through seven games have converted on 76.7% of those tries.

The defense will likely be called upon to stop the Rebels on four straight downs, which may be where the game is won or lost. But if the Tigers upend this Top-10 Ole Miss squad, the November slate is loaded with teams Auburn should realistically be favored against to close out the season.

Provided the Tigers don't lose focus, a win over Ole Miss will pave a clear path to the SEC West being decided yet again in the Iron Bowl between Auburn and Alabama.

The Tigers kick off against the Rebels at 6 p.m. on Saturday.

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