How Texas A&M Football Beats Ole Miss
This is a scary game in many ways for Texas A&M football, which I think many Aggie fans feel. Similarly, though, this is a scary game for Ole Miss: this is by far the best defense they’ve faced since Bama held them to only 10 points early in the season. In other words, it’s a chance for the Rebel offense to acquit themselves before facing a tough upcoming road test at Georgia. Conversely, this is also a chance for the Rebel defense to build some momentum ahead of that pivotal game. So what will happen in this game? What needs to happen for the Maroon and White to come out ahead? Let’s take a look.
Just as with last week’s piece, this is some extended analysis of data originally put out by Parker Fleming of CFB Graphs. He puts out these invaluable guides every week, but they’re sometimes hard for the average fan to parse. Most stats here are weighted for recent performance.
What should happen for Texas A&M Football
- Defensive success on third and fourth down: The Aggie defense continues to excel in stopping opponents on third and fourth down attempts. The Gamecocks started off strong last week, but, similar to Arkansas, the late downs success dried up as the game went along. The Ole Miss offense is absolutely horrid in late down success rate in non-garbage time, with a success rate of only 21.8% on third and fourth down. They’re extremely efficient on first and second, though, so the Aggies will have to capitalize when they actually put the Rebels in unfavorable situations.
- Rebels run more than expected: Despite the Aggies boasting one of the top rushing defenses in the nation—second best by rushing success rate allowed—teams have consistently tried to test them on the ground. Teams run 8.7% more than expected against the Aggies, putting them in the top five teams by this mark. Ole Miss themselves run 5.8% more than expected against all opponents (a top-25 mark), so this will be something to watch. Will the Rebel’s insistence on the ground game cause the Ags to crack? We saw Tennessee break through a couple of times; can the Rebels do the same?