Time for another top 15 showdown, but this time on the road and against a much different animal. The Lane Train has been rolling really high at times this year, but struggled at other times, including last week at home vs Liberty. Ole Miss has one of the most dynamic players in all of College Football in Matt Corral, and they also have the best ground game the Aggie have faced all year.
- Ole Miss ranks 5th in the nation in rushing averaging 238 yards/game with 27 TDs
- Ole Miss also has the 21st best passing game with 286 yards/game (would be higher but Corral has missed some time)
- Matt Corral ranks 8th in the country with 339 total yards per game and scored 26 TDs
The good news is the defense has some serious problems and the team as a whole is one of the most penalized teams in the nation.
- Ole Miss has the 104 ranked total defense, giving up 433 yards per game
- Most of that damage coming on the ground, Ole Miss is 109th against the run, allowing 196 yards/game
- The Lane Train is also a little wheel’s off at times, ranking 130th in the nation, accumulating 89 penalties worth 772 yards lost
Let us look at the enemy and see what they do well, why they have a Heisman & Davey O’Brien award candidate, and why they struggle on defense.
Tempo, tempo, tempo is the name of the game with this offense, but Matt Corral takes it to the next level with his command. Watch this sequence of plays and see how fast he gets the ball out of his hand, even with quick play fakes... this will make it hard for the pass rush to get home.
There is a running team with a dynamic quarterback and these concepts feed off each other. Ole Miss will pound the rock and do like the above sequence with quick, decisive PRO looks, and then take their shots. Corral throws a good deep ball and this offense is all about tempo and applying pressure on the defense.
Corral also is the team’s leading rusher, and that speaks a ton to his ability because Ole Miss has a stable of great backs. Texas A&M needs to use a spy and limit this part of Corral’s game but he seems to be dialing this part of his game back some. He has missed some time this season and taken some big shots, check out these two plays to see the pros and cons for Ole Miss to let Corral run too much.
The athletic ability of Matt Corral is not just used to run the ball, check out this quickness and awareness to escape in the pocket and throw a dart.
The run game is legit and is the cornerstone of this attack, with Corral leading the way with over 500 yards and three different backs over 400 yards rushing. They go fast and keep the defense on their heels, here is Snoop Conner gashing Auburn.
Ole Miss knows they have a dynamic offense and at times when I watch this team, they look content to give up a ton of yards and try to not break in the red zone. The problem is their run defense is just too vulnerable. There is a theme I want you to look at in all these clips of their 3-2-6 defense, just count all the Ole Miss players behind the ball. It almost looks like their base is a prevent, they play lots of zone but it is soft. The run defense looks like they're always on their heels.
In this sequence vs Alabama, you see Ole Miss playing back trying to keep everything in front of them. Now imagine the first play is a pass in the flat to Spiller/Achane and the second play is Smith sitting down in the soft zone. Calazada struggled against Arkansas and Miss. St. that played a similar defense, but now he is much more decisive and comfortable. There could be a lot of long drives Saturday night easily taking what this defense gives up. Just have to cash in with touchdowns!
Again, in this three-play sequence against Auburn, Bo Nix just takes what the defense gives him... and it is a lot. There are at least 3-5 defenders behind the WRs in each of these plays, but the cushion is literally at least ten yards on each.
Last but not least is the run defense, our strength vs. their weakness. I shared the stats earlier and it is not pretty... on this play, Ole Miss desperately needed to stop the run and they simply couldn't. They don't match up well with A&M here at all... I am a broken record but I’ll say it for the fourth week in a row, Spiller and Achane should eat well Saturday night!
The film is like watching a bit of a roller coaster but when the train is rolling, it can be overwhelming and very dangerous. This game, at night and in a good environment will be tough but if the defense can duplicate their performance from last week containing Bo Nix, they should be fine. The only difference from last week to this one is the Aggies MUST score touchdowns and not settle for field goal attempts. I love this defense but Ole Miss’s high power offense is getting healthy and a good defensive performance for the Aggies might equal allowing 20-24 points, the Aggies have to take advantage of this defense and finish drives. I think this plays out well for the good guys, Aggies control the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball and have a good offensive night.