AUBURN, Ala. — It’s time for the Tigers to hit the road again.
Auburn travels back to Mississippi for its second SEC road test in Oxford. The Tigers take on an Ole Miss team that started the year with high hopes and is now just trying to survive. Rebels quarterback Chad Kelly presents the same type of challenges Texas A&M quarterback Trevor Knight did earlier in the season, but Auburn’s defense, which started the year dominant, only has continued to improve.
With offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee calling plays, Auburn’s offense has been better as well. Early on, the Tigers were worried about their backfield and skill positions offensively, but that seems laughable now. There are talented playmakers at every position — who’ve become only more comfortable through the season.
Here are five Friday predictions:
1. Will Chad Kelly be able to escape Auburn’s defensive front?
Yes and no. The Ole Miss quarterback will make a handful of big plays — just has he did against Florida State and Alabama earlier in the year — but the Tigers defensive line will track Kelly down in the backfield least twice.
2. Does Kerryon Johnson play?
Yes. Auburn coach Gus Malzahn said earlier this week that Johnson is healthy and ready to get back to work. Johnson may be 100 percent, but how many carries he takes will depend on how the game goes early. If Kamryn Pettway is rolling over the Rebels, Malzahn might stick with that option.
3. Does Xavier Dampeer see time at center?
Yes, during the second half. The coaching staff has found a combination they like by putting Austin Golson at center and Texas transfer Darius James at left tackle.
4. Do the Auburn defensive backs come up with turnovers?
Yes. Ole Miss’ Kelly will take some longer shots downfield and when he does, defensive backs Josh Holsey, Tray Matthews and Carlton Davis will be waiting.
5. Who wins?