A senior class that has seen some of the highest peaks and lowest valleys in the history of the program, will be honored on the field before their final game in Vaught-Hemingway Stadium.
“Just want to start off by saying this is going to be a special night,” Luke said. “This is a special group of seniors. This group has been a part of maybe the top three offenses in school history, two New Year’s Six bowl games and obviously they’re the most affected this year by the bowl ban. They didn’t have the opportunity to go to a bowl, but they’ve continued to fight, fighting through injuries.”
The Aggies have had an up-and-down season of their own, one that’s consisted of blown leads, a couple road wins and multiple quarterbacks. Texas A&M has a running quarterback Kellen Mond and more of a throwing threat in Nick Starkel. Mond has tossed eight touchdowns and six interceptions while Starkel has seven and just one intercepted pass.
Ole Miss will be forced to deal with a solid Texas A&M pass rush, an asset that has helped them become one of the most efficient teams in the country in terms of getting off of the field on third down. It will be a test for the Rebel offensive line as well as to Jordan Ta’amu’s mobility.
Ta’amu has continued to play well in the absence of Shea Patterson. The junior signal-caller has tossed for 1246 yards, seven touchdowns and has thrown just two interceptions. He is completing 73.5 percent of his passes and has been as efficient as anyone on staff could’ve asked him to be and more. The offense looks more fluid than it has all season.
“The o-line is protecting for Jordan. They’re run blocking for (Jordan) Wilkins and company and the emergence of Dawson Knox has been a plus,” Longo said.
“All position rooms have been playing better football, and that’s helped Jordan. And the third thing is Jordan is a talent in his own right.
It’s no secret anymore what opposing offenses are going to do to Ole Miss.
The Rebels have struggled to stop the run all season and know they will get a heavy dosage of that again on Saturday. The Aggies are running for 173 yards per game and have a lot of flexibility in what they can do because of the two quarterbacks that comprise an athletic backfield.
The biggest threat the Aggies pose on the perimeter is speedy wideout Christian Kirk. He has caught 46 balls for 575 yards this season and six touchdowns. He is a deep threat that Ole Miss must track on the field at all times.
Ole Miss will be without wide receiver Van Jefferson, who dislocated his elbow in a collision with a Louisana defender last week. Luke did not want to completely rule the sophomore out for the Egg Bowl entirely, but it seems unlikely he will be able to play. Defensive back Jalen Julius and defensive lineman Ross Donnelly are questionable. Guard Alex Givens is probable after suffering a concussion against Kentucky.
Kickoff on Saturday is set for 6 p.m.