VICTORY ON THE PLAINS: Ole Miss pulls away late to hold off Auburn

Published 6:07 am Sunday, November 1, 2015

AUBURN, Ala. — November will take on added significance for Ole Miss.

The 19th-ranked Rebels made sure of that with their 27-19 win over Auburn on Saturday in front of 87,451 at Jordan-Hare Stadium. The defense bowed its collective neck when it had to, Laquon Treadwell had a feel-good moment after last year’s painful end against the Tigers, and Ole Miss kept control of its destiny in the Southeastern Conference Western Division with its first road win since Sept. 19.

“(Our players) know exactly (what’s in front of them). I just told them,” Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze said before reminding everyone of his team’s next challenge. “The Arkansas Razorbacks at home at 2:30 next Saturday.”

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It got dicey at times with Auburn making three straight trips inside the Rebels’ 20-yard line in the second half and trimming Ole Miss’ lead to 20-19 on Daniel Carlson’s fourth field goal with 12 minutes left.

But Ole Miss (7-2, 4-1 SEC) answered with a six-play, 75-yard drive capped by quarterback Chad Kelly’s 21-yard touchdown pass to Treadwell to push the lead to eight. Treadwell, who was 364 days removed from the infamous goal-line play that broke the receiver’s leg in last year’s game against the Tigers (4-4, 1-4), beat freshman cornerback Carlton Davis off the line and maintained possession of the ball in the back corner of the end zone as he fell to the ground, which a replay review confirmed.

The Tigers didn’t get any farther than Ole Miss’ 48-yard line on their final three possessions as Ole Miss limited Auburn to just 70 yards on its final 16 plays, helping the Rebels notch their first win in Jordan-Hare since 2003.

“In those situations, you want to step up,” said Treadwell, who recorded his fifth 100-yard game of the season with 114 on seven receptions. “Every player on our team wants to make that play. When you get that opportunity, you’ve got to make it.”

Kelly went 33 of 51 for 381 yards with two touchdown passes — the other a 45-yarder to seldom-used Derrick Jones — and two interceptions. Jaylen Walton had 78 of the Rebels’ 156 rushing yards.

Auburn hit on some big plays, including Sean White’s 47-yard touchdown pass to Ricardo Louis in the second quarter, but another strong performance by an Ole Miss defense that’s had its share of struggles made it difficult for the Tigers to sustain drives. Marquis Haynes had two of the Rebels’ three sacks of White, whose day was made harder by Ole Miss’ stinginess against the run.

The Rebels limited Auburn to 150 rushing yards on 41 attempts and held Peyton Barber, who was averaging more than 100 yards a game coming in, to a season-low 17 yards on eight carries. Auburn went just 2 of 15 on third down.

“We’re tackling a lot better as you can tell,” safety Mike Hilton said. “Everybody’s flying around to the football, so it’s a lot of things that’s really starting to get back in a rhythm. It’s showing in how we play now.”

Auburn had just 45 yards after one quarter but had a 10-3 lead two plays into the second quarter when White found Louis all alone down the middle of the field. Ole Miss got the Tigers off the field two possessions later when Tony Bridges broke up White’s fourth-down pass near midfield, and the Rebels drew even six plays later on Akeem Judd’s 25-yard touchdown run.