Coming off a brutal loss to an unranked Mississippi State team, No. 8 Texas A&M looks to roll through a broken down Ole Miss team in College Station.
Ole Miss (4-5, 1-4 SEC) has had its toughest season in years and is playing to secure a bowl game, while on the other hand, Texas A&M (7-2, 4-2 SEC) has shown its talent and still hopes to secure a spot in the playoff.
It is apparent that Ole Miss quarterback Chad Kelly leads the team in every way, but with a devastating ACL and meniscus tear suffered last Saturday, he will be out for the remainder of the season. Kelly proved to be one of the best quarterbacks in the SEC, racking up over 2,700 passing yards, as well as 337 rushing yards throughout the season. Although Kelly was the predominant leader on the team, the loss may not be that detrimental to the Ole Miss offense. With the help of either redshirt freshman Jason Pellerin or true freshman Shea Patterson stepping up to fill the quarterback position, Ole Miss might still be a threat to the Texas A&M secondary.
Pellerin was a three-star recruit, while Patterson was a five-star and the No. 1 quarterback in his class. Ole Miss has a tough decision choosing its starter against Texas A&M, who have arguably the best defensive front in the SEC behind Alabama. If the Rebels were to start Patterson, he would lose the redshirt he was planned to take.
Like Ole Miss, Texas A&M also suffered an extreme blow. Star quarterback Trevor Knight was hurt in its loss against Mississippi State with a shoulder injury that will put him out for the remainder of the regular season. He is still questionable to participate in post-season play. With this loss, the Aggies are promoting junior quarterback Jake Hubenak to fill the starting role against a struggling Ole Miss defense. Compared to Patterson and Pellerin for Ole Miss, Hubenak has more experience on the field than both quarterbacks combined — putting up 350 passing yards this season as well as 400 last season. This experience will play a big part in the game’s outcome with such a hectic environment between two SEC teams in College Station.
Texas A&M running back Trayveon Williams has 804 yards on the ground for the Aggies, but finished the game against Mississippi State with only 28 yards rushing. To secure a victory, Williams needs to be at his full potential this Saturday.
If either quarterback Jason Pellerin or Shea Patterson can target their explosive tight end Evan Engram, they are likely to have a field day against the Aggies secondary. Engram leads Ole Miss with 776 receiving yards and an impressive seven touchdowns.
All in all, the “Battle of the Backups” will be an exciting matchup between two teams facing adversity.
Quarterback Jake Hubenak will perform well at home in College Station and Trayveon Williams will have an outstanding night rushing against Ole Miss. Whoever is designated starter for Ole Miss, either Patterson or Pellerin, will be eaten up by the Aggies’ defensive front. In the end, Texas A&M’s defense poses too strong for the inexperienced Ole Miss quarterback, giving them the victory, 38-14.
Edited by Dalton King
Featured image by Ed Schipul