Ole Miss not sure what to expect from Trevor Knight-less A&M offense
Published 8:52 pm Tuesday, November 8, 2016
Ole Miss doesn’t have its No. 1 quarterback anymore.
Neither does Texas A&M.
The teams will meet on Saturday with the same dilemma. Chad Kelly’s torn ACL has cost him the rest of his senior season while a shoulder injury will keep Texas A&M’s Trevor Knight out for at least the rest of the regular season, according to multiple reports.
It will likely be either redshirt freshman Jason Pellerin or true freshman Shea Patterson — or both — taking the snaps for Ole Miss (4-5, 1-4 Southeastern Conference), but things aren’t as undecided for the Aggies (7-2, 4-2), who will turn the offense over to junior Jake Hubenak.
Knight was leading an offense ranked in the top 50 nationally in passing in his lone season with the Aggies, but the Oklahoma transfer was equally as productive with his legs in A&M’s spread attack with 583 rushing yards and a team-high 10 rushing touchdowns.
It’s also been one of the more balanced offenses in the SEC with Knight at the controls with the Aggies throwing for just 152 more yards than they’ve rushed for all season, but Ole Miss’ defense isn’t exactly sure what to expect with Hubenak behind center.
“Just like they won’t know with us. I don’t know,” defensive coordinator Dave Wommack said. “They have been balanced in yardage up to this point, but they wanted to run the football more effectively. That’s the biggest difference I see between this year and last year.”
Hubenak has completed 23 passes for 350 yards and three touchdowns but run just 14 times in mop-up duty this season. Wommack said the Rebels are studying as much tape of Hubenak as possible, including the Aggies’ trip to Ole Miss last season when Hubenak came on for an injured Kyle Allen in the Rebels’ 23-3 win.
“I went back and watched the bowl game from last year against Louisville and a bunch of the cut-ups with him playing this year,” Wommack said. “He played at the end of the game against us last year. It appears like he’s a pretty darn good thrower and probably doesn’t run it quite as good with Trevor Knight.”
Sticking with Mageo
Wommack said Rommel Mageo will get the start at middle linebacker for the second straight week. Mageo got his second start of the season against Georgia Southern, recording a season-high 12 tackles.
But Wommack also wants to keep his players fresh at both linebacker spots.
“(Mageo) graded higher than any linebacker’s graded,” Wommack said. “Yeah, we’ll use him, but we’ve got to use a combination of guys. These guys are getting a lot of plays. We’re going to use Willie (Hibbler) more at stinger. (DeMarquis) Gates probably played too many plays in the game the other night, but he did some good things as well.”