Texas A&M’s (5-3, 3-2 SEC) 2023 football season has been underwhelming, to say the least, as sixth-year head coach Jimbo Fisher has once again landed on the evergrowing “hot seat” list as his future at the helm is still somewhat unknown with four games remaining.
However, after the Aggies’ 30-17 Week 9 home win over South Carolina last Saturday, confidence inside the locker room has never been higher heading into this weekend’s pivotal road matchup vs. 10th-ranked Ole Miss (7-1, 4-1 SEC), and of course, Rebels head coach Lane Kiffin.
Have the Aggies gained momentum heading into their most harrowing battle since their loss to Alabama? It remains to be seen, but if you ask quarterback Max Johnson, A&M is more than up for the challenge after studying the Rebels in depth this week.
“They played a really physical game against Vanderbilt last week. I think they do a lot of great things. They’re physical up front and have good DBs. We’re ready for the challenge.”
This game will likely come down to the Aggies’ 13th-ranked run defense vs. Ole Miss standout running back Quinshon Judkins, who memorably ran for over 200 in last season’s 31-28 home loss to the Rebels, and trust me; this Texas A&M defensive font has not been forgotten.
Ahead of the game, we at Aggies Wire have provided several vital storylines and five players to watch ahead of the game. At the same time, Our Staff has made our predictions ahead of Saturday’s showdown.
Cameron Ohnysty, Managing Editor:
“Even though staunch improvement for the Aggies’ unstable offense has yet to be seen, even their most recent 30-17 win over South Carolina didn’t turn many heads, but as we’ve seen all season, the A&M’s 7th-ranked defense led by junior standout linebacker Edgerrin Cooper did not disappoint.
If we’re strictly going by rankings, the 10th-ranked Ole Miss Rebels (7-1, 4-1 SEC) are as good as advertised, but let’s remember the Aggies’ revenge angle after last year’s 31-28 loss in Kyle Field , which included several memorable moments from Rebels head coach Lane Kiffin, including shouting an expletive at Aggies’ safety Bryce Anderson, accusing the then-freshman of faking an injury.
The Bottom line is that the Aggies’ porous O-line must allow Max Johnson enough time in the pocket while the defensive line must hold up against Ole Miss running back Quinshon Judkins to force Rebels QB Jaxson Dart to pass at a high rate, with the hope that A&M’s secondary can hold up against and underrated Ole Miss receiving score led by wide receiver Jordan Watkins and Tre Harris.
Hey, weirder things happen during early kick-offs!
Final Score Prediction: Ole Miss 24, Texas A&M 20
Jarrett Johnson, Staff Writer:
“It’s simple: the rest of the games for the Aggies must-win games. However, the Ole Miss game carries a little more spice with Lane Kiffin on the opposite side. The Rebels are on a roll, and their offense puts a lot of pressure on defenses, resulting in some big plays.
I believe this is a week where the offense will have to be on point to help keep pace because I expect Ole Miss to score at least 24 points. While they looked better last week the offense still does not seem to be fully in sync in line and still has not found their footing.
Earlier in the year, I had the Aggies winning this game by a touchdown, but now I think they will lose in Oxford 30-27 with renewed calls for Jimbo’s job.”
Final Score Prediction: Ole Miss 30, Texas A&M 27
Cumulative Site Prediction: Ole Miss 27, Texas A&M 24