Kiffin, Campbell, Ealy Meet with Media as No. 12 Rebels Prepare for No. 11 Texas A&M
OXFORD, Miss. — The No. 12 Ole Miss football team has no time to celebrate winning its seventh game for the first time since 2015. Many eyes will be on Oxford as the Rebels take on No. 11 Texas A&M in a top-15 primetime SEC showdown while ESPN’s College GameDay makes its way to The Grove beforehand.
All hands will be on deck once again during Saturday’s primetime matchup, according to head coach Lane Kiffin and players who met with the media following Monday’s practice.
“Excited this week for our program, being in a position where we’re playing a top-15 matchup game with College GameDay coming to town,” Kiffin said. “That reflects on what these players have done throughout the season, to be at that point this late in the season. This is a really good team we’re playing with great players. Arguably the best personnel team we’ll play all year, defensively it is. We’re going to have a lot of challenges.”
The Aggies boast one of the SEC’s most dangerous rosters and, like Ole Miss, remain in contention for a potential New Year’s Six Bowl at season’s end. Despite that and the added pregame festivities, it’s just another game simply because it’s the next game on the schedule.
“I put headphones on when I’m walking through The Grove and try to get focused,” Chance Campbell said. “It’s insane to me every time. I know it’s cliché, but the next one is always the biggest one. There’s extra motivation there if you need it, but this team is a great team. I know there’s some theatrics on the other side, but it’s the next one, so it’s huge anyways.”
Ole Miss recorded a season-high nine sacks and allowed its fewest points of the season in last week’s 27-14 win over Liberty. However, the Rebels now face a Texas A&M offense that has put all the pieces together. Zach Calzada has solidified his role as the field general behind center while the tandem of Isaiah Spiller and Devon Achane combine for just shy of 1,600 yards on the ground.
“That offensive unit has found its groove,” Campbell said. “That running back tandem they have is one of the best and most dangerous in the country. Up front, they’re finding their five. They do what they do well and they’re good on the edges too.”
On the other end, the Rebels continue to battle an injury bug that has received some good news recently in the return of Braylon Sanders last week and an update on Jonathan Mingo’s status moving forward. In an effort to ease the burden against Liberty, the ground game had a promising start with Jerrion Ealy’s 70-yard score on the second play of the game. The rushing attack stalled after that, tallying just 72 yards the rest of the way.
“We as a group didn’t do a good job of getting to our landmarks, giving ourselves a chance,” Ealy said. “One simple solution: going out there and practicing hard, no matter what at the end of the day.”
It doesn’t get any easier with another SEC West opponent coming to town, particularly one that held Auburn to just three points last week.
“They’re very good all around,” Ealy said. “They have a good front, play four down. They have four of the best guys in our conference. I think we’re going to go out and get them. It’s going to be a task, but it’s one we’re capable of handling. It’s going to be a good game.”
Kickoff for Saturday’s matchup with the Aggies is set for 6 p.m. CT and can be seen on ESPN or listened to on the Ole Miss Radio Network.