Stay tuned to RadioAlabama Sports as Noah Gardner breaks down each of Auburn football’s 2020 opponents. Follow Noah on Twitter at @PointGuardner.
Game History: Auburn leads the all-time series 33-10. Auburn won last year’s meeting 20-14.
2019 Team Stats: 4-8 (2-6) SEC
RYPG: 251.2 (5.4 YPC)
PYPG: 194.0 (56.0 PCT)
SKS allowed: 21
TO DIFF: +1
RYPG allowed: 138.5 (3.9)
PYPG allowed: 278.2 (66.4 PCT)
Offensive Impact Player: QB John Rhys Plumlee (#10)
2019 stats: 910 YDS, 52.7 PCT, 6 TD, 3 INT, 1,023 YDS, 6.6 YPC, 12 TD
From a rushing standpoint, John Rhys Plumlee is one of the most electric players in college football. While he isn’t a strong passer, Plumlee’s rushing ability adds a much-needed dimension to the Ole Miss offense. Having a quarterback that can run makes the Rebel running game more effective. Without Plumlee’s legs, Ole Miss’ offense would lack the much-needed athleticism to be successful.
Defensive Impact Player: OLB Sam Williams (#13)
2019 stats: 37 TKL, 9.5 TFL, 6.0 SKS, 1 INT, 5 QBH, 1 FF
After making the jump from JUCO, Sam Williams spent his first season in the SEC showing his promise at outside linebacker. His skill set centers on his ability as a pass rusher, but entering 2020, Williams has the ability to grow his repertoire. The potential is there for Williams to be Ole Miss’ primary weapon in wreaking havoc on opposing offenses.
Offensive Key Unit: Running backs
As a freshman, running back Jerrion Ealy landed on the All-SEC Second Team and on the SEC All-Freshman Team, rushing for 722 yards and 6.9 yards per carry. Combining Ealy with quarterback John Rhys Plumlee makes Ole Miss’ backfield one of the most diverse and dangerous in the SEC. With the addition of head coach Lane Kiffin’s offensive mind to the mix, the Rebel running game has the versatility and agility to be used in a variety of ways that will frustrate opposing defenses.
Defensive Key Unit: Linebackers
There is a blend of veterans and promising youth in the Ole Miss linebacking corps. Ole Miss brings back a pair of former JUCO transfers in Lakia Henry and Sam Williams. Henry led the team in tackles while Williams led the team in sacks. With one full year of SEC football behind them, the two look poised to take a step forward in 2020. As for the youth, Ole Miss brought in four-star prospect Demon Clowney, the cousin of former South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney. According to 247Sports Composite, Clowney was the No. 11 weak-side defensive end in the 2020 class. Ole Miss will use him as a pass-rushing outside linebacker out of the 3-4 scheme.