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Saturday, Oct. 30, 2010

Auburn football: Closer look at Auburn's game at Mississippi

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No. 1 Auburn (8-0, 5-0 SEC) at MissISSIPPI (3-4, 1-3 SEC), 6 p.m. (ESPN2)

Line: Auburn by 7

Series Record: Auburn leads 25-9

Last meeting: Auburn won 33-20 last year at Jordan-Hare Stadium

What’s at Stake

Auburn will try to maintain its spot atop the latest Bowl Championship Series rankings by avoiding a letdown at the end of a difficult four-game October stretch. Mississippi, which is teetering on the brink of not making a bowl, is looking for a season-defining win.

Key Matchup

With running back Brandon Bolden and versatile quarterback Jeremiah Masoli, Ole Mississippi averages 211.1 rushing yards per game, third in the league. But Auburn has been stingy against the run. The Tigers are third in the league in rushing defense, allowing 103.4 yards a game.

Players to Watch

Auburn: CB Neiko Thorpe wore a bulky brace on his left hand against LSU but performed well. He will need to again, especially if he gets matched with 6-foot-7 Rebels wide receiver Melvin Harris.

Mississippi: DT Jerrell Powe was a preseason All-SEC first-team pick but has only 15 tackles and 4.5 TFLs through seven games. He will need a monster effort to slow the Tigers’ running game.

Facts & Figures

Auburn had won seven straight games in Oxford before Mississippi won in 2008. ... The Tigers are No. 1 in the BCS rankings for the first time in school history. ... Auburn is ranked third in the Associated Press and coaches polls, its highest ranking since No. 2 in 2006. ... Auburn quarterback Cam Newton, who leads the SEC with 1,077 rushing yards, is the only player in school history to rush for at least 170 yards in four straight SEC games. ... The Rebels are 0-6 all-time against the nation’s top team. ... Mississippi coach Houston Nutt has five wins against teams ranked in the top five, including a 50-48 triple-overtime victory at No. 1 LSU while with Arkansas in 2007. In all five games, Nutt’s team was unranked. ... Mississippi has chosen to wear white uniforms for the game, meaning Auburn will wear its home blue jerseys.

— Andy Bitter

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