The Lane Kiffin-led squad has proven strong on both sides of the ball this season. Ole Miss is scoring at a clip of 38.9 PPG (10th) while holding their opponents to 21.4 PPG (43rd). On top of their hot start this year, the Rebels were the last ones to come out on top in their yearly matchup with the Aggies, surviving a 31-28 affair in College Station.
So yeah, the Aggies don’t need any more motivation as they head into The Vaught this weekend for the highly touted affair. Leaders Max Johnson, Shemar Turner, and Trey Zuhn echoed just the same on Monday afternoon.
In speaking to the media, all three noted that the Rebels pose an ample challenge for the Maroon and White and on both sides of the ball. But after a promising 30-17 win over South Carolina last weekend, each player noted that there is positive momentum brewing in the aftermath. And with that, the Aggies should be equipped to rise to the occasion in facing one of the SEC’s best teams this season.
Below are Max Johnson, Shemar Turner, and Trey Zuhn’s full press conferences from Monday afternoon, as well as notable takeaways from their time at the podium.
Max Johnson knew his pass to Ainias Smith was meant to go for six
“I knew (Ainias Smith) was going to score as soon as Coach Petrino called it. I saw a great route on the corner route. He was wide open… I put it in his hands, and he did the rest.”
Max knows A&M can't afford to leave points on the table, especially in the second half
“We got points in 7 of the last 8 drives…We were trying to run the ball in the second half just to take away the clock. We still have to score touchdowns in the second half, and we’ve been harping on that… We’ve got to do better at that.”
We all agree Max Wright should have had a touchdown!
“After watching the replay, I was like, ‘There is no way they don’t overturn this.’ I thought it was a touchdown.”
Max knows the offense must hold their own, especially when the defense plays lights out
“Our defense plays well every week. We need to score as many points as possible, and that’s what we do every single week.”
Ole Miss' defense speaks for itself, but Max notes A&M's offense is up to the challenge
“They played a really physical game against Vanderbilt last week. I think they do a lot of great things. They’re physical up front and have good DBs. We’re ready for the challenge.”
Trey Zuhn III has no lack of confidence, but the O-line can still improve
“I thought I did fairly well. There were a couple plays I could have given Max (Johnson) more space. There is room for improvement in the first quarter. especially. After a while, we got confidence and played the way we needed to play.”
Being healthy has instilled a new level of confidence in Zuhn
“It’s really installed some confidence in myself… It’s been amazing for me.”
Shemar Turner notes the defense is locking in with one goal: close out the season strong
“We’re locking in and trying to finish this season off strong and trying to win out and win on the defensive side of the ball.”
Slowing the tempo will be key in containing Ole Miss' offense, according to Turner
“That is a really good team at Ole Miss. It will be a difficult task, but I don’t think there is an offense that we can’t handle in the country. Slowing down the tempo is going to be a key factor in stopping that offense.”
Turner has no shortage of experience facing Rebels running back Quinshon Judkins
“He’s a great running back… Not letting him get too hot, not letting him too comfortable running the ball outside the tackles like he did last year.”
Turner notes that Jaxson Dart is definitely one of the tougher QBs to bring down, but not impossible
“I feel like he is one of those harder ones to bring down, but I don’t think he’s harder to bring down than KJ Jefferson. Getting KJ down is tough. He’s elusive, and he makes guys miss… Getting more than one guy on him is going to be big.”
Make no mistake, Shemar Turner is THAT GUY
“I’ll do whatever it takes to win a football game. I’ll play wherever. Here. There. It doesn’t matter.”