OXFORD, Miss. – Ole Miss has given three strong SEC rivals all they could handle the past month before coming up empty and the Rebels look to end their misery when they host winless New Mexico State in a non-conference contest Saturday. Ole Miss put up 440 yards of offense in an 11-point loss to Missouri, led in the third quarter against Texas A&M before suffering a 24-17 defeat and had the ball 35 yards from the end zone in the final seconds before succumbing 20-14 at No. 12 Auburn last week.
TV: 4 p.m. ET, SEC Network. LINE: Ole Miss -28
“It hurts knowing we’ve been so close multiple times this season,” Rebels linebacker Jacquez Jones told reporters, “but at the end of the day it’s over and it’s time to focus on the next game.” Ole Miss coach Matt Luke, who is likely to employ the two-quarterback system again with freshmen Matt Corral (1,114 yards passing) and John Rhys Plumlee (600 yards rushing), does not expect a letdown with his team needing three straight wins to clinch a bowl bid. “I think our guys are hungry to go get better,” Luke said at his weekly press conference. “I think that is the unique part about this team. They keep fighting and competing and working to get better each and every week. … We have three games left that are promised us, and we’re going to go out and attack it. The best way to get the bad taste out of your mouth is to go back to work and focus on us.” New Mexico State has lost 10 straight games overall after dropping a 41-7 decision against Georgia Southern on Oct. 26 before enjoying a bye week and is led by senior linebacker Javahn Ferguson, who is sixth in the nation with 11.1 tackles per game.
ABOUT NEW MEXICO STATE (0-8)
Turnovers have been a major problem for the Aggies all season, losing eight of their 16 fumbles while watching sophomore quarterback Josh Adkins throw 14 interceptions and get sacked 24 times. Adkins has completed 62.2 percent of his passes for 1,797 yards along with nine touchdowns and senior Tony Nicholson leads all receivers with 43 catches and 472 yards with three touchdowns. Senior Jason Huntley recorded his second 100-yard rushing performance of the season against Georgia Southern, going for a season-high 133 to push his total to 575.
ABOUT OLE MISS (3-6)
Plumlee broke the school record, set by current CFL standout Jeremiah Masoli, for the most rushing yards by a quarterback in a single season and is 13 from passing Mico McSwain (612) for the most ever by a freshman. Senior Scottie Phillips (542 rushing yards) is expected to be ready to play despite an ankle injury while freshmen Jerrion Ealy (428) and Snoop Conner (327) also expect to get some carries. Corral has completed 59.5 percent of his passes and Plumlee is at 48.5, but the first option for both is sophomore receiver Elijah Moore (52 catches, 635 yards, four TDs).
1. Ole Miss junior LB Lakia Henry leads the team with 68 tackles and is averaging a little more than 10 the last four games.
2. Aggies DB Austin Perkins has his team's only two interceptions.
3. The Rebels won the only previous meeting against the Aggies 52-3 in 2015 at Oxford, Miss.
PREDICTION: Ole Miss 41, New Mexico State 14