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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Corral-ling Mississippi

Photo by FILE

Texas A&M’s defense will play Ole Miss’ offense during the football game between Ole Miss and Texas A&M on Saturday, Nov. 13.

Oxford, Miss., has been rallying around the new star quarterback who has put No. 12 Ole Miss back into the national spotlight. Texas A&M will need to find a way to slow him down in this top-15 matchup.
The Ole Miss Rebels’ high-powered offense is fourth in the SEC in scoring, averaging nearly 38 points per game. They not only average the most total yards per game of any team in the conference, but sit at fourth in the nation with 524.2 yards per game.
This electric offense is led by head coach Lane Kiffin and offensive coordinator Jeff Lebby as well as junior quarterback Matt Corral. Corral, who sits top-3 in Heisman odds, has 2,527 passing yards and 528 rushing yards this year, accounting for 26 total touchdowns with just two interceptions.
“[We’re] going to do our best job to contain it,” A&M’s freshman linebacker Edgerrin Cooper said. “Do our jobs, keep our eyes on him and just make the plays.”
A threat in both the passing and running game, A&M’s defense will look to contain Corral. While part of what makes Corral special is his ability to create plays out of structure and throw passes off-platform, he is more prone to mistakes while under pressure. The Aggies have not struggled at rushing the quarterback this season and will likely continue this trend against the Rebels.
A&M is tied for second in the SEC in sacks, with 28 on the season. Five different Aggies have accounted for more than one sack, and senior defensive lineman Tyree Johnson leads the way. Johnson has enjoyed a breakout campaign this year and has eight sacks thus far.
“I already was capable of this,” Johnson said, “Just this year it’s really starting to come together for me. Mixed in with the experience, film study and having guys on my team like [graduate and junior defensive linemen] Micheal Clemons and DeMarvin Leal, it really motivates me and drives me.”
The talent on the Ole Miss offense starts with Corral, but does not end with him. While their passing attack has received all the praise, the Rebels quietly average the second most rushing yards per game in the SEC.
Sophomore running back Henry Parrish Jr. leads the team’s running trio in rushing yards, junior Snoop Conner leads them in rushing touchdowns and sophomore Jerrion Ealy leads the Rebels in yards per carry.
“Everybody thinks of them throwing the ball, but their running numbers are through the roof,” A&M head coach Jimbo Fisher said. “They’re very deceiving about the run game. They pound you in that run game.”
Besides Arkansas, Ole Miss is the only team in the SEC to have three running backs with over 400 rushing yards. Furthermore, all three of them average over five yards per carry. The team averages 237.9 rushing yards per game, and the trio has combined for 16 rushing touchdowns.
A&M’s rushing defense was susceptible to strong rushing attacks early in the season, but has seemed to turn a corner recently. While Auburn’s sophomore running back Tank Bigsby showed flashes against the Aggies in their Week 10 matchup, he was held to just 69 yards on the ground. The Rebels’ trio of runners will once more function as a litmus test for how much this unit has improved for the Aggies.
The two teams, both 7-2, will face off in Oxford, Miss. The Aggies are 1-0 on the road, having played both Colorado and Arkansas in neutral sites, while the Rebels are 5-0 at home. The game kicks off at 6 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 13.

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