Following a blowout loss to LSU on the road last week, Auburn head coach Hugh Freeze and the rest of the Tigers are looking to right the ship against the No. 13 Ole Miss Rebels in front of a sold-out crowd at home this week.
Auburn is at a crossroads. The Tigers are 3-3 and yet to win a conference game. Another tough challenge is presented by Ole Miss head coach Lane Kiffin.
Could this be the week Auburn breaks out of the losing streak, or will the Tigers fall below .500 for the first time this season?
What are five of the most important things to look for in what will be a pivotal game in determining what kind of a season Auburn will end up having?
Who will be the primary quarterback for Auburn?
There seems to be a considerable amount of division among Auburn fans and players alike as to who should be taking most of the snaps at quarterback.
Payton Thorne has struggled to find a rhythm since conference play started, and there are a lot of questions surrounding Robby Ashford's abilities in the passing game.
It seems that most of the support has shifted towards Ashford, but it remains to be seen if Freeze and offensive coordinator Phillip Montgomery feel the same way.
Additionally, if one quarterback gets the start, that does not guarantee that he will be the primary guy all game.
Will Kiffin bring his bag of tricks?
Kiffin makes no shortage of interesting decisions. Some make him look like one of the brightest football minds of this generation, while others make him look like a below-average junior varsity coach. Which version will show up on Saturday?
When Ole Miss came to Jordan-Hare in 2021, Kiffin elected to go for it on fourth down four times, and only one attempt ended up being successful. The Rebels also ran a lot of trick plays that did not fool anybody.
When facing Kiffin, you need to be prepared to face some unconventional things. Auburn defensive coordinator Ron Roberts has undoubtedly stressed that to his team.
Which Auburn defense will show up?
If the Auburn defense that came to play against the No. 1 Georgia Bulldogs shows at Jordan-Hare Stadium, this could be an interesting matchup.
If the Auburn defense that looked helpless against LSU shows up, Ole Miss will likely cruise to an easy victory.
The level of play from Auburn's defense will go a long way toward deciding how this contest will go.
Can Auburn stop Quinshon Judkins?
Ole Miss has one of the best running backs in college football on their side in Quinshon Judkins.
Judkins has 443 yards and six touchdowns off of 108 carries so far this season and has caused a problem for every defense he has faced.
Stopping Judkins would improve Auburn's chances of winning exponentially.
Will home-field advantage play a factor?
Auburn better hope so.
It certainly did the last time Ole Miss came to town. A sold-out night game should create an environment that helps Auburn out.
However, if Ole Miss can jump out to an early lead, the crowd will be silenced. Auburn needs to prevent Ole Miss from taking control early.
Kickoff is set for 6 p.m. CT, and ESPN will carry the broadcast.
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