OXFORD The status of Ole Miss running back Scottie Phillips for this week’s game against New Mexico State is yet to be determined.

Phillips left the Auburn game in the first half with an ankle injury and did not return.

Two weeks prior he injured a knee against Texas A&M but was able to practice during the open week that followed and started at Auburn.

“I’ll know more tomorrow,” Ole Miss coach Matt Luke told reporters on Monday. “I would say he’s questionable, and we’ll look at it. He did not practice yesterday. He may try to go Tuesday.”

Freshman quarterback John Rhys Plumlee ran for 92 yards against the Tigers and surpassed Phillips as the team’s leading rusher.

The Rebels have rushed for 2,027 yards this season, their 225.2-yards per game averaging leading the SEC and ranking No. 17 nationally.

For Ole Miss, Plumlee has 600 rushing yards followed by Phillips (542), Jerrion Ealy (428) and Jarod “Snoop” Conner (327).

New Mexico State is giving up 263.5 rushing yards a game.

CORRAL DEALS WITH IT

Plumlee has remained the starting quarterback since Ole Miss began its two-quarterback system for the Missouri game.

Corral played less against Auburn than he has in any game since coming back from bruised ribs which caused him to miss the Alabama and Vanderbilt games.

He was 3 for 6 passing at Auburn. He entered on the Rebels’ fourth possession of the first half and did not play at all in the second half.

“Matt, to his credit, has handled this really well. He’s been very supportive of John Rhys and has been really good through this whole thing. He’s been a great teammate and is being very unselfish. I think everybody just wants to win. Everybody’s tired of coming close,” Luke said.

SHEPPARD’S SHOVE

Ole Miss had only two penalties against Auburn, one of them an unsportsmanlike conduct call against outside linebacker Qaadir Sheppard for shoving an Auburn player.

The penalty in the middle of the third quarter kept alive an Auburn drive which resulted in a field goal.

We don’t want to have selfish penalties. He didn’t go back in because of that,” Luke said. “Discipline and the way that we play is important. We want to make sure the culture of this program stays that way. Qaadir knows that. He’s a great young man. He’ll learn from it and move forward.”

Sheppard has had just one tackle in each of the last two games and has just five over the last four games.

BUYOUT BUCKS

Ole Miss will spend just less than $2 million this season for “buyout games” in which a non-conference opponent plays at Ole Miss without the Rebels playing at its home in another season.

FCS foe Southeastern Louisiana received $450,000, and New Mexico State will receive $1.5 million. FBS foes such as New Mexico State typically receive more than FCS foes.

Focused on winning

Luke was asked if he sees Saturday as an opportunity to play players who’ve not yet gotten in a game, specifically true freshman quarterback Kinkead Dent.

The NCAA rule was changed last season to allow players to play in up to four games and retain a redshirt season. The Rebels have three regular season games remaining.

True freshman quarterback Grant Tisdale left the team last week to enter the NCAA transfer portal.

“We’re focused on trying to win the game. If situations present themselves we’ll look at trying to play people. Our focus is on winning the football game,” Luke said.

parrish.alford@journalinc.com

Twitter: @parrishalford

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