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No. 9 Ole Miss Football Runs Over Auburn to Remain Undefeated 

Although it took much of the first quarter for points to be scored in Saturday’s Southeastern Conference game between No. 9 Ole Miss and Auburn, it then became a scoring fest as the Rebels won 48-34.

Ole Miss is now 7-0 overall and 3-0 in the SEC, while Auburn is 3-4 and 1-3.

The final stats proved that offense was indeed the name of this game. Ole Miss finished with 578 yards, and Auburn had 441. It was the ground game for both teams that was impressive – Ole Miss with 69 rushing attempts for 448 yards, while Auburn ran the football 48 times for 301 yards. 

The 448 yards for the Rebels were the fifth most rushing yards in school history for a single game and the most since 1962. Against an SEC opponent, it was the most rushing yards in a game since 1951.

For the first time since at least as far back as 1976, Ole Miss had three 100-yard rushers in a game. Quinshon Judkins and Zach Evans were the Rebels one-two punch on the ground today– Judkins with 25 carries for 139 yards and two touchdowns, while Evans had 136 yards on 21 carries and a touchdown. But quarterback Jaxson Dart also ran effectively with 14 carries for 115 yards.

Dart ended the day 9-for-19 in the passing department for 130 yards, with three touchdowns and one interception.

Ole Miss had 29 first downs to 18 for Auburn.

Otis Reese led the Rebels with 10 tackles, four of them solos, while A.J. Finley had eight, including four solos.

The game’s first points came with 6:42 to go in the first quarter, a direct result of an interception by the Rebels’ Finley of a Robby Ashford pass. After a Dayton Wade run of 11 yards, it was Dart to Wade for a 35-yard touchdown pass that got the day’s scoring started. Jonathan Cruz was good on the extra point, and Ole Miss led 7-0.

After the Rebels were up 7-0 and held the Tigers on downs, Auburn punted and Ole Miss began another drive at its own 35. Nine plays later Dart hit Evans for 23 yards, and Ole Miss was up two touchdowns. Cruz converted, and it was 14-0 with 2:43 to go in the first quarter.

An Auburn fumble, recovered by the Rebels’ Jared Ivy at the Tigers 22, then gave Ole Miss excellent field position for another scoring opportunity. On the second play of the second quarter, Evans took it in from the 3-yard line. Cruz’s kick made it 21-0 Rebels. This one appeared to be on a path to a blowout, but that proved not to be the case the rest of the way.

Auburn then drove 75 yards in nine plays for its first score. A 2-yard rush by Ashford pulled his team to within two touchdowns, now trailing just 21-7 with 10:22 left before halftime.

After a quick three and out for Ole Miss, Auburn scored again, this time 76 yards in eight plays. Tank Bigsby, the Auburn running back with 179 yards on the day, scored on a 2-yard rush.

The Rebels had 5:24 to go before halftime for more points, now up only 21-14. From their own 40, they moved in seven plays for a touchdown, a 7-yard pass from Dart to Judkins. Cruz’s point after made it 28-14 with 2:52 to go in the second quarter.

Auburn tacked on a field goal on the final play of the half, and Ole Miss led 28-17 at the break.

In the third quarter, after a quick Auburn score on a Bigsby 50-yard scamper to the endzone to close the gap to four points, the Rebels answered – but only with a 23-yard field goal by Cruz for a 31-24 Ole Miss lead.

Then, in perhaps a surprise move, an onside kick was recovered by Ole Miss at its own 45. In nine plays, a 5-yard Judkins rush for a touchdown gave Ole Miss a two-score cushion at 38-24. 

Auburn then came right back again for a touchdown. Ashford’s run for 11 yards capped a drive to make it 38-31 with 2:30 to go in the third period. 

In the fourth quarter, the Rebels drove deep into Auburn territory, and on fourth and 3 from the 23, Cruz connected on a 42-yard field goal for a 41-31 Ole Miss lead with 12:28 to go.

Auburn again quickly moved downfield and had first and goal inside the 5. But the Rebel defense stood tall, and the Tigers settled for a 28-yard field goal by Anders Carlson. Just over nine minutes remained, and the gap was again just seven points.

But the Rebels answered one more time. A 41-yard rush by Judkins right up the middle was the answer this time, the eighth play of a 75-yard drive. Cruz’s extra point made it 48-34. There was 6:26 left. But that’s when things came to a halt.

After a lightning delay of 30 minutes, the two teams finished the game. The Tigers had the football after a Rebel kickoff to restart things. They were moving downfield until at the 2:34mark, an Ashford pass was intercepted by Deantre Prince to basically end this one in favor of the Rebels.

Ole Miss now heads to Baton Rouge, La., for a 2:30 p.m. CBS showdown with the LSU Tigers next Saturday.

Courtesy of Ole Miss Sports

Adam Brown
Adam Brown
Sports Editor

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