First Look at Upcoming Opponent for Texas A&M Football
Since Lane Kiffin became head coach of Ole Miss, the Rebels have been something of a thorn in the side for Texas A&M football. The Aggies go into each game versus the Rebs with the Maroon and White faithful prognosticating how much of a blowout the game will doubtlessly be; after all, look at the scheme the Rebs run! There’s no way our defense can keep up with that.
Well, even though the last two years have been losses, they’ve come by much lower margins than you’d expect from listening to the aforementioned crowd. In 2021, Ole Miss jumped out to a blazing start, moving up and down the field at will; however, failed fourth down attempts and red zone toughness by the defense for Texas A&M football kept things close. Elko’s defense tightened down in the second half, but the offense for the Aggies couldn’t get the job done. Last year, the Ags could not stop the ground game for Ole Miss, but the final deficit—three points—ultimately came back to a bad spot on a fake punt that gave the Rebs a first down earlier in the game; from there, they went on to kick a field goal that ended up being the decisive margin.
That brings us to this year. The Rebels come into this matchup at 7-1, with their best win being a shootout over LSU at home, and the Aggies come in at 5-3, still seeking a signature win for the season. The Rebels, though they did score at will against LSU, have not exactly been an amazing offensive team in conference play outside of that game:
- Alabama: L, 10-24, 4.63 YPP
- Arkansas: W, 27-20, 4.99 YPP
- Auburn: W, 28-21, 5.82 YPP
- Vanderbilt: W, 33-7, 6.25 YPP
To compare the common opponents between these two squads, the Aggies put up 20 points and 5.10 YPP on Alabama, 34 and 6.18 YPP on Arkansas, and 27 and 6.93 YPP on Auburn. The point is this: these are two much more evenly matched teams than a lot of Texas A&M football fans might think from just looking at the records. I know the transitive property doesn’t work in college football; it’s a game about matchups. But seeing, from these three data points, the Aggies having a superior performance in all three games should be encouraging.
The key here will be the pass defense for Texas A&M football. If they can hold up reliably, then the Aggies have a great shot. It’s a scary proposition to say this one will come down to Max Johnson’s arm on the offensive side, but I do find it likely to be the Aggies’ best shot, given how the OL has performed and that the Ole Miss defense has been decent against the run. This is a tough one to call, but I am again choosing optimism: give me the Aggies winning 24-17.