College Station, TX (SportsNetwork.com) - After a huge upset last weekend and a promotion in the polls, the third-ranked Ole Miss Rebels will try to keep their undefeated run going on Saturday afternoon at Kyle Field in an SEC bout with the 14th-ranked Texas A&M Aggies.
Ole Miss made a statement at home last week in defeating then-No. 3 Alabama, 23-17, scoring the go-ahead touchdown with just 2:54 to play on a 10-yard touchdown pass from Bo Wallace to Jaylen Walton.
"I'm just so proud of our young men," Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze said. "You can't lose a game in 30 or 45 minutes. You have to play for 60 minutes and that is something we've preached since we've been here...It's a huge win for our program and our fans. It's been a tremendous day."
The Rebels are now No. 3 in the AP poll, tied with Mississippi State. It's their highest ranking since being the preseason No. 1 in 1964.
While Ole Miss is trending upwards, Texas A&M slipped in the polls after its first loss of the season last week at Mississippi State (48-31), as it tumbled from No. 6 to No. 14.
"There weren't a whole lot of things that were different from the other five weeks," Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin said. "Except, basically, they made plays and we didn't."
The Aggies have defeated the Rebels in all six previous meetings in the all- time series, including last season in Oxford, 41-38.
The Ole Miss offense (35.8 ppg, 461.6 ypg) has performed very well this season and is led by its Heisman dark horse candidate at quarterback.
Bo Wallace was nothing short of outstanding against a vaunted Alabama defense last week, completing 18-of-31 passes for 251 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions. On the season, he's completing a lofty 68.5 percent of his passes for 1,522 yards, 14 touchdowns and six interceptions.
"It's going to be a huge challenge going (to Texas A&M)," Wallace said. "They have one of the most hostile environments in college football...We're right in the thick of things in the SEC West. Going on the road to a hostile environment is why you go to school here."
Wallace spreads his passes out fairly evenly between his top four receivers, with Laquon Treadwell (25 receptions, 362 yards, four TDs), Cody Core (20 receptions, 315 yards, four TDs), Vince Sanders (20 receptions, 302 yards, three TDs) and Evan Engram (17 receptions, 246 yards) all in the midst of strong campaigns.
The rushing attack only averages 3.7 yards per carry, although Jaylen Walton (40 carries, 238 yards, three TDs) has impressed as the lead back. I'Tavius Mathers (33 carries, 152 yards, two TDs) is also in the mix.
Ole Miss' defense has been even more impressive than the offense. The unit has held all five of its opponents to 17 points or fewer and ranks second in the nation in scoring defense (10.2 ppg) and fifth in total defense (277.6 ypg).
The defense has no shortage of playmakers, with 16 players registered double- digit tackles with no one tallying more than Mike Hilton's 27. Senquez Golson has been a game-changer in the secondary with four interceptions, and Cody Prewitt (25 tackles, 3.5 TFL, INT) is one of the best safeties in the SEC.
With last week's game versus Mississippi State well out of hand late, Texas A&M was able to pad its stats and finish with 31 points and 526 yards, but it struggled most of the afternoon with Kenny Hill throwing three interceptions and getting sacked four times. The offense is still one of the best in the country, ranking third in both scoring (47.8 ppg) and yardage (583.2 ypg).
Despite his struggles last week, Hill has proven himself to be one of the most dangerous signal callers in the nation. He's completing 64 percent of his passes and ranks third in the FBS in passing yards (2,110), while tossing 21 touchdowns to five interceptions, adding 171 rushing yards.
The absence of Malcome Kennedy (33 receptions, 378 yards, two TDs) last week really hurt Hill, as the remaining receivers had several notable dropped passes. Kennedy is questionable to return this week as he nurses a shoulder injury, although the Aggies' receiving corps is incredibly deep with Ricky Seals-Jones (30 receptions, 293 yards, three TDs), Josh Reynolds (23 receptions, 402 yards, seven TDs), Boone Niederhofer (20 receptions, 181 yards, TD), Edward Pope (18 receptions, 369 yards, four TDs) and Speedy Noil (16 receptions, 255 yards, three TDs).
The ground game, which rushes for 188 yards per game, is led by the efforts of Trey Williams (287 yards, four TDs) and Tra Carson (244 yards, four TDs).
The Aggies' defense (20.5 ppg, 406.8 ypg) has played well for the most part this season, although the unit had no answer for Dak Prescott and the Bulldogs last week in allowing 559 yards.
Myles Garrett has established himself as one of the conference's best pass- rushers as a freshman with 6.5 sacks. Deshazor Everett (35 tackles) and Armani Watts (32 tackles) have the only two interceptions for a defense that has not held its weight in the turnover battle.