OXFORD • An Ole Miss team hoping to win for the first time in a month won’t be distracted by an opponent’s poor record, Rebels coach Matt Luke said.
Since beating Vanderbilt 31-6 on Oct. 5 Ole Miss has dropped three straight by an average margin of eight points. Most recently the Rebels had the ball at the Auburn 35 on the last play of the game in a 20-14 loss.
Ole Miss is at home Saturday against New Mexico State in a 3 p.m. kickoff, the last non-SEC game of the regular season.
An FBS independent, the winless Aggies (0-8) have allowed 40-plus points five times and have allowed at least 58 points in games against Washington State and Alabama, their two other power five conference opponents.
“Our guys are hungry to go get better. That’s the unique part about this team. They do keep fighting, competing and working to get better each and every week. They’ll continue to do that,” Luke said.
New Mexico State has the NCAA’s No. 69-ranked passing offense and its No. 55-ranked passing defense. In every other major category the Aggies rank no better than No. 109 out of 130 teams.
New Mexico State quarterback Josh Adkins, a 6-foot-2, 218-pound redshirt sophomore, averages 224.6 passing yards a game. He’s thrown nine touchdown passes – three of them in a 55-52 loss at rival New Mexico – and 14 interceptions.
Ole Miss is giving up 290.6 passing yards a game, last in the SEC by almost 40 yards.
Auburn freshman quarterback Bo Nix, a week after completing 42.8 percent and throwing for 157 yards at LSU, completed 68.1 percent and passed for 344 yards against Ole Miss.
“(New Mexico State’s) strength has been our weakness,” defensive coordinator Mike MacIntyre said. “We’re working on pass coverage, making sure we’re in the right spots. We’ve shown signs of getting better at certain times, but it’s going to put a stress on our defense as much as they throw the football.”