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NOTEBOOK: Jones grabs go-ahead score in rare appearance

AUBURN, Ala. — After being named the offensive MVP of spring practice, Ole Miss wide receiver Derrick Jones has had a quiet junior campaign.

The Europa native, who’s switched between cornerback and receiver during his time in Oxford, had only four catches coming into Saturday before catching a 45-yard touchdown strike from Chad Kelly that gave the Rebels a 20-13 lead late in the third quarter they never relinquished.

“I knew I had a double move, so I had to bait him in,” Jones said. “Once I baited him, it was pretty easy, just catch it and score. My teammates told me that my hard work pays off. I was just thankful that I was able to score for them, and they were just as happy for me.”

When asked what catching his first touchdown of the season meant to him, Jones felt he was leaving his subpar fall camp behind him.

“It feels good to finally feel like I’m getting my rhythm back,” Jones said. “I had a kind of rough fall camp, but I feel like I’m getting back into my groove. I just have to keep building that confidence. You just have to go into every game with that confidence, believing that you’re going to make that play.”

Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze also was pleased to see Jones make a play that they had worked on the last couple of weeks.

“Happy for him,” Freeze said. “We work plays all week long that are kind of shot plays. And we try to gear them to certain people. Derrick can really run, and we felt that he had fresh legs and could win on a double move.”

Nkemdiche back
After missing the Texas A&M game with a concussion, Robert Nkemdiche rejoined the Rebel defense Saturday and made an impact. The junior defensive tackle tallied four tackles, one pass breakup and two hurries.

“I feel great,” Nkemdiche said. “Getting back out there after getting knocked out in the Memphis game and I missed last week, I just felt like I owed the guys a lot and gave everything I got and they gave me everything they’ve got. It was just a great outcome overall.”

Judd shines
Junior running back Akeem Judd was an effective asset to the Ole Miss rushing attack Saturday. He rushed for 68 yards versus Texas A&M a week ago and tallied 54 yards against Auburn, including a nifty 25-yard touchdown.

“He really has become physical for us, and he obviously has shown out for us in the last couple games,” offensive coordinator Dan Werner said.

Extra Points
Ole Miss has defeated Alabama and Auburn in the same season for the first time since 2003 and has beaten both on the road for the first time ever. … Junior receiver Laquon Treadwell caught seven passes for 114 yards, continuing his 100-yard game streak to four. … Running back Jaylen Walton recorded 125 all-purpose yards in Saturday’s win, passing Dexter McCluster for second in school history with 4,211 career all-purpose yards.