Ole Miss was clinging to a 20-19 lead with 12 minutes left and the ball on their own 25. Someone had to make a play, or plays, if the Rebels were to walk out of Auburn with a victory.
It took two plays to find that someone.
After a four yard rush by Jaylen Walton, putting the Rebels on their own 29, junior quarterback Chad Kelly found Laquon Treadwell for a 33 yard gain, putting the Rebels at Auburn’s 38 yard line.
Three plays later, facing a second and 7 from the Auburn 21, Treadwell struck again. Kelly threw a go route to the corner of the end zone, and Treadwell, with an Auburn corner draped on his back, made an acrobatic catch giving the Rebels a 27-19 lead, the eventual final score.
“In those situations, you want to step up. I think every player on the team wants to make that play,” Treadwell said. “When you get that opportunity, you got to make it. The team is counting on it. The ball came to me, and I just had to make a play.”
In the first half of the contest, Auburn rolled much of its coverage to Treadwell’s side and played two safeties, limiting Treadwell to one catch. In the second half, Auburn started to play more one safety looks, giving Treadwell more opportunities, such as the last touchdown.
“They were moving coverages and trying to take me out of the game,” Treadwell said. “The coaches ran the ball and ran the ball. And finally we got one high, and I made a play.”
Junior quarterback Chad Kelly said that the touchdown to Treadwell was simply one on one coverage.
“It was just one on one,” Kelly said. “I just had to give him a chance and that time I did and he scored.”
Treadwell finished the day with seven catches, 114 yards and one touchdown. He also had crushing blocks on the perimeter to spring outside runs.
The game clinching touchdown came almost a year to the day that Auburn linebacker Kris Frost dragged Treadwell down short of the goal line causing the star wide receiver a gruesome leg injury and negating a go-ahead touchdown late in the fourth quarter.
After the game, head coach Hugh Freeze said while Treadwell’s injury did occur against Auburn, the true meaning of this game was the step that the Rebels’ took in winning the SEC West.
“This game is about us getting one step closer to winning the SEC West,” Freeze said.
On Tuesday, Auburn defensive back Jonathan Jones said Treadwell was just “a regular receiver like everybody else.”
On Saturday, Treadwell made sure he was anything but “regular.”