Objectively Biased: Ole Miss vs. Auburn, 2021
EDITOR’S NOTE: Cody Prewitt is a former All American safety for Ole Miss. His intensity, ferocity and talent are well-remembered and always missed. We are so grateful to Cody for sharing his time and insights.
I believe it is necessary to preface this week’s article by saying that going into this game, unfortunately, I was very aware of how unfavorable of a matchup this particular game was for Ole Miss as a team, particularly due to our injuries. Auburn has had one of the most dominant defensive line units in college football, which is not to say their defense as a whole isn’t just as dominant when they need to be, but I did note the strength of their d-line, specifically, prior to this game since our run game is so crucial to our offense being successful.
Knowing that our offensive line has been struggling to stay healthy leading up to this game made it difficult to ignore just how big of a factor the Tigers’ d-line could play in our offense’s success running the ball.
The health issues our wide receivers are experiencing is something that has probably been discussed to exhaustion the last few weeks, but I will touch on it briefly one more time. Simply put, it just sucks!
The productivity our offense is capable of when healthy has been established time and time again. One positive, however, to take away from the frustrating game against Auburn is seeing Casey Kelly contribute to the offense in a higher capacity, something I hope to see become a weekly occurrence. I believe he is capable of providing a comparable level of productivity at the tight end position that we have all gotten accustomed to over the last few years.
Obviously, if the current state of our wide receiver room, with respect to injuries, doesn’t take a turn for the better quickly, it’s going to be absolutely vital for some more guys to step up at wide receiver to allow the offense to get close to regaining its ability to overwhelm at will even the most dominant of defenses.
Matty Ice. To be honest, this topic doesn’t even need to be elaborated on. I don’t think very many people have ever questioned his passion or his toughness, but for anyone who has been living in an alternate universe where they have not had the opportunity to watch this kid play, well there you go.
As a leader, you have to know and recognize how important it is to never allow your actions to be portrayed in such a manner that they can be interpreted as weakness.
Having had multiple conversations with Matty on the subject, I know he believes this to be true with as much conviction, if not more, than I do, myself. To watch him experience pain that intense but quickly regain a stoic demeanor indicative of strong leadership shows his mental fortitude.
Not only did he return to baseline mentally, he pushed himself beyond a threshold few people are capable of doing, and I say that from experience. (Admittedly, I just figured I had a couple of screws loose when I pushed my body so far as to jeopardize my physical well being during a game.)
Matt Corral is back and we got a game in Auburn… pic.twitter.com/4bZZpbgPjH
— TwinSpires Sportsbook 💵 (@TS_Sportsbook) October 31, 2021
As for whether or not Matty will play the remainder of the season, I will double down on my previous claims: the training staff will have to strap him to a tree to keep him from being on the field leading his team from the front. In regards to the extent of his injuries (alleged), I still operate under the premise that said information stays in the family, it doesn’t leave the IPF until Coach believes it necessary to share, assuming there is any information to actually share.
Simply put, the defense afforded the Rebels a chance to win the game.
Coming into this game, I believed this to be an unfavorable matchup for us, and it wasn’t solely because of the Tigers’ strong d-line. My worries centered around Auburn QB Bo Nix’s ability to extend plays.
Our defense has been slowly establishing and pinpointing its identity as unit all season, and the progress has been evident almost every week. But it would have been foolish not to appreciate Bo’s athleticism and productivity; the kid can turn a three-second pass play into a 10-second circus in a heartbeat.
So while our secondary has definitely improved exponentially, it’s almost impossible for ANY defense to try and defend 4-5 receivers running improvised routes for 10 seconds for any sustainable amount of time. However, the defense did their job!!
I have seen what this defense is capable of when they’re executing so I won’t say that I am surprised so much as I would say that I am just proud. I could specifically name multiple guys that immediately come to mind for their performance, but this week I believe it appropriate to appreciate the defense collectively.
This is a good Auburn team (yes, this IS the SEC West, so that statement is a little redundant). While the Tigers’ Brian Harsin may be new to the SEC as a head coach, he has been a successful coach. Add to that, he has an impressively athletic QB, and it’s not surprising that Auburn will put up points against just about anyone they play.
There isn’t much more I can say on the defense this week other than they are continuing to improve. They’re giving the offense opportunities to win games that a year ago would only be possible by lighting up the scoreboard.
I say it every week it feels like, but it’s true, nonetheless: we just need to get healthy and stay healthy, the defense needs to keep its foot on the gas and continue improving, and eventually, hopefully sooner rather than later, I really believe Kiffin will have the pieces fall into place that will allow Ole Miss to accomplish great things!
Coming out of Sylva Bay Academy, a small private school in Bay Springs, Mississippi, Cody Prewitt was one of 10 players from the 2011 Ole Miss Football signing class who received high school All-America honors. In 2012, Prewitt started every game and finished second on the team with 80 tackles. He helped lead Ole Miss to a 7-6 record and a bowl win over Pittsburgh.
In 2013, Cody played in every game with 11 starts and led the SEC and tied for seventh nationally with six interceptions and finished second on the team with 71 tackles, 13 passes defended, four tackles-for-loss, and two forced fumbles. For his play, he became the 55th first team All-America selection in school history and helped lead Ole Miss to an 8-5 record and a bowl win over Georgia Tech. Cody was named a first-team All-American by both the Associated Press and USA Today. He was named named to the All-SEC first team by the AP, ESPN.com, Sporting News, College Sports Madness, and by the SEC coaches.
In 2014, Cody continued his decorated career at Ole Miss. He became the first player to return to Ole Miss as a first team All-American since Patrick Willis did so in 2006. He played in 13 games in 2014, finishing with 64 tackles on the season, 44 of which were solo. He notched 3 INTs, and had a fumble return for a touchdown against A&M.
In 2014, Cody was named All-America second team (AP, SI.com, CBS Sports, Scout.com, Athlon) • All-SEC first team (consensus) • Jim Thorpe Award Semifinalist (2013 and 2014) • Midseason All-America and All-SEC • Preseason All-America and All-SEC • Week 7 National Defensive Player of the Week (after a 75-yard interception return for a touchdown at Texas A&M) • Helped Ole Miss rank top 15 nationally in total defense (321.2 ypg), opponent 3rd down conversion (31.1) and red zone defense (71.9)