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Published on November 11th, 2021 | by University of Mississippi

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Ole Miss Football Game Notes: vs. Texas A&M

#12 OLE MISS (7-2, 3-2) vs. #11 Texas A&M (7-2, 4-2)
Saturday, Nov. 13, 2021 • 6 p.m. CT • Oxford, Miss.
Vaught-Hemingway Stadium

 
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Tickets Gameday Info Digital ProgramOle Miss Game Notes (PDF) • Texas A&M Game Notes (PDF) • SEC Notes (PDF)

WHAT TO WATCH FOR
• Ole Miss and Texas A&M will be meeting for the 13th time in a series that started in 1911.
• Texas A&M leads the all-time series vs. Ole Miss 9-1 … The original record is 9-3 in favor of A&M, with wins in 2014 and 2016 by Ole Miss vacated due to NCAA ruling.
• Texas A&M holds a 4-1 edge in games played in Oxford, Miss.
• Oxford, Mississippi, will be the site of ESPN’s College GameDay Saturday morning … It marks the second visit in the show’s 35-year history … Ole Miss defeated No. 1 Alabama 23-17 in 2014 when GameDay was in Oxford.
• The Rebels check in at No. 12 in both the AP Top 25 and Coaches Poll.
• The Rebels rank top 10 in the country in five separate categories: total offense (524.2), rushing offense (237.9), first downs (241), passes had intercepted (2) and turnovers lost (6).
• Ole Miss is fourth in the FBS in both total offense (524.2 ypg) and first downs (241).
• The Rebels lead FBS in both fourth down attempts (35) and fourth down conversions (24).
• Ole Miss has forced a turnover in 18 of the 19 games during the Lane Kiffin era.
• QB Matt Corral is the only FBS player with more than 2,500 pass yards and more than 500 rush yards.
• DL Sam Williams has a school record 10.5 sacks on the season and has tallied at least one sack in eight of the Rebels’ nine games this season.
• LB Chance Campbell is third in the SEC with 8.3 tackles per game.
• K Caden Costa’s 11 field goals on the season are the most by a true freshman since 2006 (Joshua Shene, 14).

OLE MISS HEAD COACH LANE KIFFIN
Lane Kiffin (Fresno State, 1998) is in his second season at Ole Miss and helped lead the Rebels to four wins in their final five games in 2020, including a 26-20 victory over No. 7 Indiana in the Outback Bowl. Kiffin quickly turned the Rebels into an offensive machine last season. Ole Miss ranked top-20 in the FBS in nine different offensive categories, including having the No. 3 team in the country in total offense, shattering the school record with 555.5 yards per game. Kiffin is in his 10th year at the NCAA level and has posted an all-time record of 73-41. In December 2016, Kiffin took over an FAU program that had won a total of nine combined games over the previous three seasons. Kiffin proceeded to take the Owls to new heights over the last three years, including two conference titles and two 10-win seasons. In his head coaching stops at USC, Tennessee and FAU, Kiffin has shown a propensity in helping turn programs around. Kiffin graduated from Fresno State in 1998 after playing quarterback for three seasons (1994-96) for the Bulldogs. He began his coaching career as a student assistant at Fresno State under Pat Hill in 1997 and 1998. He moved on to Colorado State in 1999 as a graduate assistant.

TEXAS A&M HEAD COACH JIMBO FISHER
Jimbo Fisher, one of five active FBS head coaches to win a national championship, was named head football coach at Texas A&M University on Dec. 4, 2017. In less than four seasons in Aggieland, Fisher has led Texas A&M to a 33-12 record, including an Orange Bowl victory and No. 4 national ranking last season. This season, Fisher has the Aggies ranked No. 12 with a 7-2 record. Overall, he boasts an impressive 116-35 mark as a collegiate head coach. Prior to arriving in College Station, Fisher spent 11 seasons in Tallahassee (eight as a head coach), where he led the Seminoles to an 83-23 record, winning three Atlantic Coast Conference championships, four Atlantic Division titles and five bowl games, including the 2013 National Championship. Fisher’s coaching path also included stops in Baton Rouge with Nick Saban (2000-2006), Cincinnati (1999), Auburn (1993-98) and Samford (1988-92).

AGGIES SCOUTING REPORT
After a rocky 3-2 start to the season, Texas A&M turned things around, toppling No. 1 Alabama in Bryan-College Station 41-38. Since then, the Aggies have won four straight, including a 20-3 win over No. 12 Auburn last weekend, and find themselves just outside the top-10 in the AP Poll with a 7-2 record. Zach Calzada leads A&M under center. The sophomore quarterback has thrown for 1,556 yards, and completed 54.9 percent of his passes. Through nine starts, 12 of Calzada’s passes have gone for touchdowns, while seven have found the hands of the opposing team. Isaiah Spiller and Devon Achane make up the Aggie ground game, with Spiller averaging 97.0 yards per game and Achane averaging 78.4. Tight end Jalen Wydermyer and Ainias Smith are two of Calzada’s top targets in the passing game. Wydermyer leads the team with 406 receiving yards, and Smith ranks first with six touchdowns. On the other side of the ball, Texas A&M is only allowing 14.67 points per game, second in the country behind Georgia. Linebacker Aaron Hansford is the team leader in total tackles with 64, while senior Tyree Johnson has wreaked havoc in opposing backfields with eight sacks on the year. The Aggies have also forced at least one turnover in all seven wins this season.

TEXAS A&M SERIES HISTORY
• Ole Miss and Texas A&M will be meeting for the 13th time in a series that started in 1911.
• Texas A&M leads the all-time series vs. Ole Miss 9-1.
• The original record is 9-3 in favor of A&M, with wins in 2014 and 2016 by Ole Miss vacated due to NCAA ruling.
• The Aggies hold a 4-1 edge in games played in Oxford, Mississippi.
• This is the ninth time the Rebels and Aggies have squared off since Texas A&M joined the SEC in 2012.
• This will be the first time that Ole Miss and A&M will face each other as ranked teams since 2015.

LIFE IN THE FAST LANE
The Ole Miss offense has been moving the ball up and down the field at a unbelievably fast pace under head coach Lane Kiffin and offensive coordinator Jeff Lebby. The Rebels rank seventh in the FBS in number of plays per game (77.9), averaging a play every 20.9 seconds. Ole Miss ran a school record 101 plays on offense in their win at Tennessee. The previous mark was 100 plays in 2004 against Wyoming. The 101 plays run were tied for the ninth-most in SEC history and are the most since 2018 when Texas A&M ran 107 in a seven overtime loss to LSU.

ESPN’S COLLEGE GAMEDAY MAKES SECOND APPEARANCE IN OXFORD
For just the second time in the show’s 35-year history, ESPN’s “College GameDay”, built by The Home Depot, will be coming to Oxford, Mississippi, on Nov. 13, for the Rebels’ showdown vs. Texas A&M. The popular college football pregame show will set up on The Grove stage, in the heart of the best tailgating scene in the country. The three-hour show featuring host Rece Davis and analysts Lee Corso, Kirk Herbstreit, Desmond Howard and David Pollack, will begin at 8 a.m. CT. Ole Miss defeated No. 1 Alabama 23-17 in 2014 when GameDay was in Oxford.

SUNGLASSES AT NIGHT
The Rebels will attempt to set a World Record Saturday night for the most people wearing sunglasses in the dark. The current record is 6,774. The record breaking attempt is in partnership with Mac Brown’s Throwing Shade at ALS campaign. Over the years, Brown has raised over $145,000 for ALS Research, including nearly $45,000 this year.

SACK ATTACK
While the Rebel offense gets much of the praise from week-to-week, the Ole Miss defense has proven very capable of gaining some attention of their own. Ole Miss ranks fourth in FBS with 33 team sacks. With three regular season contests and a bowl game left to go, the 33 sacks are already the fifth-most in program history.

NEXT MAN UP
Injuries to some of its top receivers have forced Ole Miss to call on a bevy of different names and the wide receiving corps depth has shown through. The Rebels are the only team in the country with six different players who have registered at least one 100-yard receiving game this season: Dontario Drummond (177 vs. Louisville and 107 vs. Austin Peay), Jonathan Mingo (136 vs. Tulane), Bralyon Sanders (127 vs. Arkansas), Jahcour Pearson (135 at Auburn), Dannis Jackson (126 vs. Liberty) and John Rhys Plumlee (110 vs. Liberty).

MUCH OF THE SAM
DL Sam Williams has been a consistent force on the Ole Miss defensive line this season. Williams ranks second in FBS with 10.5 sacks this year. He already owns the Ole Miss modern-day school record for sacks in a season. Williams has at least one sack in eight of the nine games this season.

COSTA-MATIC
Kicker Caden Costa, a true freshman from Mandeville, Louisiana, is 11-for-14 on field goal attempts, including a 50-yarder vs. Arkansas. Costa is a perfect 6-for-6 on field goals less than 40 yards. His 11 field goals on the season are the most by a true freshman since 2006, when Joshua Shene connected on 14 successful attempts. He’s the first Rebel to connect on a 50-yard field goal since Andrew Ritter made a 50-yarder against Idaho in 2013.

LEAVING HIS MARK
Mark Robinson transferred to Ole Miss as a walk-on running back from Southeast Missouri, but the Leesburg, Georgia, native made the switch to the defensive side of the ball at the end of fall camp last season. Robinson, who sat out last year due to NCAA transfer rules, ranks second on the team and No. 14 in the SEC with 7.4 tackles per game. Robinson has tallied at least seven total tackles in five straight games. He set career highs in total tackles (14), solo stops (12), tackles for loss (5) and sacks (2) in Ole Miss’ win at Tennessee. Robinson’s 5.0 tackles for loss against the Vols were the most by a Rebel since Kendrick Clancy had 6.0 against Auburn in 1999.

GETTING OFFENSIVE
The Rebels rank top 10 in the country in five separate categories: total offense (524.2), rushing offense (237.9), first downs (241), passes had intercepted (2) and turnovers lost (6). Ole Miss is fourth in the FBS in both total offense (524.2 ypg) and first downs (241).

TEXAS REBELS
The Ole Miss roster features eight players who hail from Texas: WR Miles Battle (Houston), OL Erick Cade (Denton), WR JJ Henry (NcKinney), DL Isaiah Iton (Pearland), DB Jaylon Jones (Dallas), DB Jalen Knox (Arlington), OL Cedric Melton (Houston) and LB MoMo Sanogo (Plano).

TWO-HEADED MONSTERS
QB Matt Corral and RB Snoop Conner rank third in the SEC with 10 rushing touchdowns on the season. They are the first Rebel teammates ever to tally 10 or more rushing touchdowns in the same season. The 10 rushing TDs are the third-most ever by a Rebel quarterback in a single season. Conner currently ranks fourth on Ole Miss’ career charts with 23 career rushing touchdowns.

REBELS VS. RANKED OPPONENTS
Ole Miss is 66-168-2 all-time versus ranked opponents and 2-4 with Lane Kiffin at the helm. The Rebels last win over a top-25 team was a 52-51 victory earlier this season over No. 13 Arkansas. The Aggies will be Ole Miss’ fourth ranked opponent this season

FEED SNOOP
When the Rebels are nearing the goal line trying to find the end zone, chances are very good that Ole Miss will look Snoop Conner’s way. Seventeen of Conner’s 23 career rushing touchdowns have been from five yards or less, including 12 1-yard TD runs. Conner currently ranks third in the SEC and No. 18 nationally with 10 rushing TDs on the season.

REBS IN THE POLLS
• Ole Miss ranks No. 12 in both the the Associated Press Poll and the Coaches Poll this week after their win over LIberty.
• Ole Miss has been ranked in the top 25 all 11 weeks this season, which is its longest streak since being ranked for the entirety of the 2015 season.
• The SEC boasts five teams in the top 25, including top-ranked Georgia.
• The Rebels’ were ranked to start the season (No. 25) for the first time since 2016 when Ole Miss started ranked No. 11.

FOURTH AND GOING FOR IT
Ole Miss leads the country in both fourth down attempts (35) and conversions (24). The Rebels rank No. 23 in the FBS, converting fourth downs at a 68.6 percent clip. Lane Kiffin and the Rebels have gone for it on fourth down at least three times in eight of Ole Miss’ nine games this season. The Rebels have been perfect on fourth down attempts against Louisville (3-for-3), Tulane (5-for-5) and LSU (3-for-3).

RUNNIN’ WILD
Ole Miss leads the SEC and ranks No. 5 in FBS with 237.9 rushing yards per game. Lane Kiffin‘s offense has tallied 250 or more yards on the ground in three out of the last five contests. Matt Corral, who came into the season with seven career TD runs over the course of 24 games, is fourth amongst FBS quarterbacks with 10 rushing touchdowns. Corral and Snoop Conner both rank third in the SEC in rushing TDs (10).

GET YOU A QUARTERBACK THAT CAN DO BOTH
Quarterback Matt Corral is not only a threat to burn you with his arm, but as teams are quickly finding out, the junior signal-caller can also beat you with his feet. Corral has thrown for 2,527 and 16 touchdowns, while running for 58.7 yards per game and 10 rushing TDs. He’s one of just two FBS quarterbacks with at least 15 passing TDs and 10 touchdowns on the ground. Prior to this season, Corral had just seven career rushing TDs in three seasons for the Rebels. Against Tennessee, Corral became the first Rebel to run 30 times in a game since 2007 when BenJarvus Green-Ellis ran 33 times vs. Missouri. Corral finished with a career high in both rushing yards (195) and attempts (30) vs. the Vols.

NEW MAN ON THE LINE
Even when Lane Kiffin isn’t fishing, he’s still landing big fish. One of Kiffin’s biggest catches came when the Rebels snagged Utah transfer Orlando Umana. Umana has started eight games on the offensive line for the Rebels, missing just one contest due to injury. Umana joined the Rebels after spending four years at Utah where he appeared in 40 career games, including 26 starts. Twenty-two of those starts came at center for the Utes. Battling injury, Umana appeared in just one game for Utah during a shortened 2020 season. Umana played in all 14 games on the offensive line as a sophomore in 2018, starting four at left guard and the last nine at center for Utah. The Sacramento, California, native allowed just one sack in 472 pass blocks in 2018.

KEIDRON SMITH TO WEAR CHUCKY MULLINS PATCH
Ole Miss senior defensive back Keidron Smith was named the winner of the 2021 Chucky Mullins Courage Award earlier in the fall. The award, sponsored by Phi Beta Sigma fraternity, honors the late Chucky Mullins, who had his Ole Miss career come to an end during the 1989 Homecoming game against Vanderbilt when he was paralyzed after making a tackle. After returning to his studies at Ole Miss, Mullins passed away May 6, 1991. Smith is the 31st recipient in the 32-year history of the award, which is presented annually to an Ole Miss upperclassman defensive player that embodies the spirit of Mullins. Smith wears a 38 patch on his No. 20 jersey rather than switch numbers.

MAC BROWN RAISES OVER 145K FOR ALS RESEARCH
When he was in seventh grade, Ole Miss punter Mac Brown had a modest goal of raising $500 for a childhood friend’s   dad who had been diagnosed with ALS. Along with a group of neighborhood friends, Brown started a lemonade stand, Awesome Lemonade Stand, in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, to help his friend’s family. Ten years later, that $500 goal has ballooned to over $145,000 raised by Brown and his friends for ALS research. The Awesome Lemonade Stand is held on a late day in June, and this year’s fundraiser raised nearly $45,000 alone. Brown was recently one of 22 collegiate football players named to the 2021 Allstate AFCA Good Works Team.

600 YARDS AND A CLOUD OF DUST
Ole Miss has gained 600+ yards seven times in 19 games under Lane Kiffin. Before Kiffin, the Rebels had 16 such games in the program’s 1,209 games. Three of the top 10 offensive performances in school history have come under Kiffin’s guidance, including the 707-yard output against Tulane that ranked No. 4 all time.

OFFENSIVE NOTES
• The Rebels rank top 10 in the country in five separate categories: total offense (524.2), rushing offense (237.9), first downs (241), passes had intercepted (2) and turnovers lost (6).
• Ole Miss has gained 600-plus yards seven times in 19 games under Lane Kiffin … Before Kiffin, the Rebels had 16 such games in the program’s 1,209 games.
• The Rebels are the only team in the country with six different players who have registered at least one 100-yard receiving game this season.
• Ole Miss is fourth in the FBS in both total offense (524.2 ypg) and first downs (241).
• The Rebels lead FBS in both fourth down attempts (35) and fourth down conversions (24).
• The Rebels are one of five teams to have thrown just two interceptions this season.
• Ole Miss has tallied 176 total plays of 10 or more yards over the course of nine games this season and rank No. 4 nationally in that category.
• QB Matt Corral Corral is the only FBS player with more than 2,500 pass yards and more than 500 rush yards.
• Corral ranks second in the SEC and eighth nationally in total offense (339.4 ypg).
• Corral is one of just two FBS quarterbacks with at least 15 passing TDs and 10 touchdowns on the ground.
• Corral and RB Snoop Conner both rank No. 18 nationally with nine rushing TDs.
• 17 of Conner’s 22 career rushing touchdowns have been from five yards or less, including 12 1-yard TD runs.

DEFENSIVE NOTES
• Ole Miss has forced a turnover in 18 of the 19 games during the Lane Kiffin era.
• The Rebels rank No. 4 nationally and first in the SEC in sacks per game (3.67).
• Ole Miss has registered five or more sacks in three of its last four games.
• With three regular season contests and a bowl game left to go, the 33 sacks are the fifth-most in program history.
• DL Sam Williams has a school record 10.5 sacks on the season and has tallied at least one sack in eight of the Rebels’ nine games this season.
• LB Chance Campbell is third in the SEC with 8.3 tackles per game.
• Campbell (8.3), Mark Robinson (7.4) and Otis Reese (7.4) rank in the top 20 amongst SEC players in tackles per game.
• Of the 26 signees that Ole Miss signed as part of the 2020-21 signing class, 15 were on the defensive side of the ball, including eight defensive backs.
• Ole Miss has an SEC-most three Canadian players on its roster, all of which on the defensive side of the ball (Jaden DicksDeane Leonard, and Tavius Robinson).
• DB Keidron Smith was named the winner of the 2021 Chucky Mullins Courage Award and will wear a 38 patch on his No. 20 jersey.

SPECIAL TEAMS NOTES
• K Caden Costa is 11-for-14 on field goal attempts, including a long of 50 yards.
• Costa’s 11 field goals on the season are the most by a true freshman since 2006 (Joshua Shene, 14).
• Costa is the first Rebel to connect on a 50-yard field goal since Andrew Ritter made a 50-yarder against Idaho in 2013
• P Mac Brown is averaging 45.5 yards per punt on 26 punts this season.
• Nine of Brown’s 26 punts have traveled more than 50 yards.

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About the Author

The University of Mississippi, affectionately known as Ole Miss, is Mississippi’s flagship university. A member of the elite group of R1: Doctoral Universities - Highest Research Activity by the Carnegie Classification, Ole Miss has a long history of producing leaders in public service, business, academics and the professions. Its 16 academic divisions include a major medical school; nationally recognized schools of accountancy, law and pharmacy; and an Honors College acclaimed for a blend of academic rigor, experiential learning and opportunities for community action. Acclaimed as one of the nation’s most beautiful, Ole Miss's main campus is in Oxford, which is routinely recognized as one of the nation's best college towns.



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