AUBURN, Ala. — Ole Miss dug themselves a 14-point halftime hole, and it was too much overcome, as the No. 24-ranked Rebels (3-2, 1-2 Southeastern Conference) fell to Auburn (4-1, 2-1 SEC), 30-22 Saturday night from Jordan-Hare Stadium.
The Rebels were able to move the ball offensively, but two interceptions from junior quarterback Bo Wallace and poor offensive line play frustrated the Ole Miss offense that missed out on several scoring opportunities throughout the game.
“Obviously, it was a disappointing,” Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze said. “I thought they were well prepared and a good football team, but we had our chances. You can’t give them points off turnovers like we did, and we have to score touchdowns when we have the opportunity.
“It was the little things that they did better than us tonight.”
Auburn got off to a hot start offensively, going 80 yards in six plays in 1:33 on their first possession of the game to build an early 6-0 lead. The score came on a one-yard run by junior running back Tre Mason. The Tigers missed a two-point attempt.
On the ensuing possession, Ole Miss responded with a 42-yard field goal from senior Andrew Ritter. The Rebels had a chance to put more points on the board on their next drive, but junior defensive back Robenson Therezie returned a Wallace interception 78 yards for a score.
Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall kept the Ole Miss defense chasing, and the junior quarterback scampered into the end zone on a five-yard run to put the Tigers up 17. Ritter nailed a 44-yard field goal to make the halftime score 20-6.
The Rebels did exactly what they needed to do to start the second half by forcing an Auburn punt and getting in the red zone on a 52-yard run from senior running back Jeff Scott. However, Ole Miss shot themselves in the foot again and settled for a 22-yard Ritter field goal.
The Tigers responded with another Marshall touchdown on the next drive. This one was also from five yards out. Marshall ended the game with a career-high 145 rushing yards on 14 carries. He had just 93 passing yards.
On the next Ole Miss possession, a 49-yard touchdown pass from Wallace to junior Donte Moncrief gave life to the Rebel sideline. The score cut the deficit to 27-16 before Wallace found Moncrief for a 13-yard score. Ole Miss went for two to cut the lead three, but failed.
With Auburn leading 27-22, junior safety Cody Prewitt forced an Auburn fumble and put the Rebels in good field position at the Ole Miss 40-yard line. However, Wallace’s second interception of the night gave the Tigers the ball.
From there, Ole Miss’ chances were limited.
The Rebels had a possession start from their own one-yard line after a perfect punt by senior Cody Parkey, and Ole Miss went three and out.
Auburn, then, added a field goal to put the score at 30-22, and Ole Miss had a chance for the tie.
However, Wallace was sacked on the last two plays for the Rebel offense and ended their chances of the comeback. Auburn ended the night with six sacks, the most sacks the Tigers have had since 2005.
From here, Ole Miss returns to the friendly confines of Vaught-Hemingway Stadium for six consecutive games. However, the schedule doesn’t get any easier with Texas A&M and LSU coming to town the next two weeks.
“We’ll keep fighting” Freeze said. “I know that’s a hurting locker room right now.”
Total Yards: Ole Miss – 464, Auburn – 375
Rushing Yards: Ole Miss – 124, Auburn – 282
Passing Yards: Ole Miss – 340, Auburn – 93
Total Plays: Ole Miss – 89, Auburn – 65
Turnovers: Ole Miss – 2, Auburn – 2
Bo Wallace: 25-for-28 for 336 yards, two touchdowns, two interceptions
Donte Moncrief: six catches for 122 yards and two touchdowns
Jeff Scott: six carries for 68 yards
Denzel Nkemdiche: nine total tackles, one fumble recovery
Nick Marshall: 14 carries for 145 yards and two touchdowns; 11-for-17 for 93 yards passing
Tre Mason: 21 carries for 78 yards and one touchdown
Carl Lawson: six total tackles, two sacks, 3.5 tackles for loss
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