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Gritty Effort Leads Ole Miss Football to 28-21 Win at Auburn

The defense showed up when it counted and the offense found timely scores to give Ole Miss its first back-to-back wins against Auburn in more than a half century, as the Rebels edged out the Tigers, 28-21, at Jordan-Hare Stadium on Saturday night.

Ole Miss (6-1, 3-1 SEC) stifled Auburn (3-4, 0-4 SEC) to just 275 yards of total offense, and combined with holding Arkansas to 286 on Oct. 7, this marks the first time the Rebels have held consecutive SEC opponents to fewer than 300 yards since 2009. That defensive effort was helped greatly by a no-fly zone from the Rebel secondary, which shut down the Auburn passing attack to just 122 yards through the air – the fewest against an SEC opponent for Ole Miss since 2019.

The Rebel win marks just their fourth ever at Auburn in games played on the field (first since 2015), and combined with last year’s win in Oxford, Ole Miss has now won consecutive games against the Tigers for the first time since 1951-52. Ole Miss is now at least 6-1 to start for the third year in a row, the best such streak since 1960-62.

It was a complete team effort on defense, with eight different Rebels contributing toward nine tackles for loss, in addition to two sacks and two interceptions. Senior linebacker Jeremiah Jean-Baptiste had a career night, tying his career best with 2.0 tackles for loss on top of an Ole Miss leading seven total tackles. Senior defensive backs John Saunders Jr. and Zamari Walton each chipped in an interception, giving Ole Miss its first set of consecutive games with multiple interceptions since 2014.

On offense, sophomore running back Quinshon Judkins led the Ole Miss charge with 124 yards and one touchdown rushing. Quarterback Jaxson Dart ended the night with 246 yards of total offense, going 10-of-17 for 202 yards and one touchdown through the air, while adding 44 yards and a career-high two rushing touchdowns on the ground.

The Rebel defense set the tone early, forcing Auburn into a turnover on downs on its first possession of the game thanks to a key 4th-and-1 stop for no gain by linebacker Khari Coleman. Ole Miss didn’t waste all that hard work, charting course on a nine-play, 48-yard drive that consumed a season-long 6:07 – capped by an 11-yard touchdown catch by wideout Zakhari Franklin at the 4:55 mark, his first score as a Rebel.

Auburn responded in kind, though, knotting the game 7-7 after Tiger running back Jarquez Hunter broke free for a 53-yard scamper with 2:59 to go in the first. Ole Miss got right back on the board on its next drive, with Dart finding the endzone on a keeper from 29 yards out to push the Rebel lead back up to 14-7 with 24 seconds to go in the opening frame.

The second quarter turned out to be a defensive tug-of-war, with five combined punts and an interception apiece by the Rebels and Tigers, with the lone score being a one-yard touchdown by Auburn’s Hunter with 11:44 to go in the half to tie the game 14-14.

Defense ruled the beginning of the second half as well, with the Rebels stalling out on downs on the first drive, which was followed by five consecutive punts. Ole Miss broke through on its fourth drive of the half, with Dart punching in from one yard out as time expired in the third quarter for his second score of the game – capping off a season-long 90-yard drive that took 2:32 on eight plays.

Ole Miss entered the final frame with a 21-14 lead thanks to Dart’s rushing score, and Judkins added to that edge in the fourth, finding the endzone from four yards out at 7:51 to play to push the Rebel lead to 28-14.

Auburn made it interesting late, though, as its offense marched 67 yards down the field in just 1:38 with under three minutes to play. Quarterback Payton Thorne found Rivaldo Fairweather from eight yards out to make it a 28-21 game with just 56 seconds to play, but the ensuing onside kick failed, giving the Rebels the ball and the win.

Ole Miss now returns to Oxford for its Homecoming matchup next Saturday, Oct. 28, against Vanderbilt (2-6, 0-4 SEC). Kickoff is set for 6:30 p.m. CT at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium and live on SEC Network.

Courtesy of Ole Miss Athletics

Adam Brown
Adam Brown
Sports Editor

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