What once looked to be a game with major SEC West implications now is a battle of backup quarterbacks as Ole Miss travels to face Texas A&M on Saturday.
The Rebels have had a disastrous 2016 season, and things became worse in their win over Georgia Southern last weekend when quarterback Chad Kelly went down with a season-ending ACL injury.
Texas A&M, on the other hand, controlled its destiny in creating havoc for the College Football Playoff committee by cracking the initial list of top-4 teams. But a shocking loss to Mississippi State, which resulted in quarterback Trevor Knight being lost for the remainder of the regular season with a shoulder injury, has to leave the Aggies wondering what they are playing for going forward.
Despite all the doom and gloom around both programs in the past week, this game still has plenty of storylines and could be a pretty entertaining ballgame.
Here is what a few national media outlets are saying about the SEC East showdown:
- With Kelly and Knight both finished for the season, this game won’t feature two of the SEC’s top quarterbacks. However, ESPN’s Greg Ostendorf highlighted how Kelly left his mark not only on Ole Miss but on college football as a whole in his two years in Oxford.
- For the Aggies, the offense will now run through backup quarterback Jake Hubenak, who completed 6-of-11 passes for 46 yards against Ole Miss in a backup role last season. Hubenak and Texas A&M’s ground game certainly are good enough to defeat the Rebels, especially at home, but ESPN analyst Kirk Herbstreit doesn’t think Kevin Sumlin’s squad will remain in the national spotlight after a week without Knight.
- With Ole Miss moving forward without Kelly, coach Hugh Freeze has a major decision in front of him. Does he play redshirt freshman Jason Pellerin, who has been Kelly’s backup all season, or does he burn the redshirt from true freshman Shea Patterson, who was the nation’s top quarterback recruit, according to 247Sports last season? There are good arguments for each side, and whatever Freeze decides is among the top things to watch for this weekend in the SEC, writes Alex Scarborough of ESPN.