Postgame Points: Ole Miss vs. Auburn
Point No.1: Great Game
While #4 Ole Miss fell to #3 Auburn by a final score of 35-31 on Saturday night, those in attendance were witness to a great game. It was a clash of SEC West heavyweights that went down to the wire. The Rebels played their hearts out and left everything on the field. Though Ole Miss came up a play or two short of the victory, Rebel fans have to feel very proud of the effort, fight, toughness, and determination shown by Coach Hugh Freeze’s squad.
At 7-2 on the season and 4-2 in the SEC, the Rebels are still in the SEC West race with 3 games left. Some very lofty postseason goals are still reachable if the Rebels can win the final 3 contests. As is typically the case in college football, crazy things happen in November. The Rebels need to just focus on winning their remaining games and let the other SEC West teams beat up on each other.
Point No.2: Laquon Treadwell
Sophomore Laquon Treadwell was spectacular for the Rebels on Saturday night. He caught 10 passes in the game for 103 yards and a touchdown. He made some great catches in clutch moments for the Rebels, and showed how gifted he is as a receiver with his great hands, his speed, and his strength. His ability to break tackles and gain valuable yards after the catch gave the Tigers fits all night.
Unfortunately, his season came to an end due to a leg injury late in the game, as Treadwell was making yet another huge play for the Rebels. Treadwell’s teammates and coaches, as well as Rebel fans, were left sitting silently and sadly as he was taken off the field. Our thoughts and prayers are with Laquon and his family for a speedy, full, and successful recovery. Injuries are a part of football, but it hurts when it happens to a good guy and teammate like Laquon Treadwell.
Point No.3: Receivers
In addition to a big game from Laquon Treadwell, the Rebels found a ton of production from Evan Engram and Vince Sanders against Auburn. Engram hauled in 8 receptions against the Tigers defense, gaining a career-high 123 yards. The Tigers had trouble containing Engram all night long, and Bo Wallace was able to take advantage of that fact and find Engram time and time again.
Engram’s 50-yard touchdown reception in the third quarter was a spectacular, gritty effort to reach the endzone. It appeared that he willed his way across the goal line to put the Rebels ahead 24-14 at the time, the biggest lead of the night for Ole Miss. The sophomore tight end continues to show Rebel fans why he is considered one of the best tight ends in the SEC and the country. He is a valuable weapon for Wallace in thepassing game, and his inclusion on the list of finalists for the Mackey Award as the nation’s best tight end is well-deserved.
Senior Vince Sanders had another super performance against Auburn. Sanders grabbed 6 passes for 105 yards and made a number of key catches for the Rebels to keep a drive alive. Sanders is having a fantastic final campaign wearing the red and blue, as this marks the third time this season that he has topped 100 receiving yards in a game. Sanders is another sure-handed weapon that Bo Wallace has at his disposal, and he has shown time and again this year that he makes big receptions when needed for his team. Sanders is a great example of senior leadership, a guy who plays with poise and steps up in important games.
It is worth noting that Treadwell, Engram, and Sanders all recorded at least 100 yards receiving versus the Tigers, a sign of the great depth and playmaking ability Ole Miss possesses on the perimeter. It is the first time the Rebels have had 3 receivers achieve this feat in the same game since Hugh Freeze took over as head coach.
Point No.4: Quarterback
Bo Wallace had a very good night directing the Ole Miss offense against Auburn. He connected on 28 of his 40 pass attempts. By completing 70 percent of his passes against an SEC defense and throwing no interceptions, Wallace gave the #4 Rebels a good chance to defeat the #3 Tigers.
Wallace threw for 341 yards and 2 touchdowns on the night, and he added 61 yards rushing and a touchdown. While outside critics may harp on his fumble late in the game, it should be kept in mind that he was reaching to make a first down for his team. The fumble was not due to reckless handling of the football, but rather a senior trying to make a play and get a first down deep in Auburn territory. The Tigers simply made a good play in knocking the ball out before Wallace could get on the ground.
Point No.5: Interception
Senquez Golson has made a habit of earning a mention in the Postgame Points week after week because he has made a habit of intercepting passes week after week.
Golson picked off his ninth pass of the season in the Auburn game, making it 32 consecutive games in which Ole Miss has created a turnover. As well, Golson nearly picked off a fourth quarter pass that he might well have taken into the endzone, but the ball bounced from his hands and into the hands of a Tiger receiver.
Golson had 5 tackles and broke up another pass in the game. Like Wallace and Sanders, Golson continues to be a super senior leader who makes major plays for the Rebels.
While Auburn gave the Ole Miss defense more trouble than any opponent this season, the Landsharks had a number of key performers on Saturday night. Serderius Bryant lead the Landsharks with 14 tackles, while Mike Hilton and Cody Prewitt contributed 8 and 7 stops, respectively.
Christian Russell, C.J. Johnson, and Tony Conner each tallied 4 tackles for the Rebels. Issac Gross was part of 3 tackles and 1 tackle-for-loss, while Marquis Haynes recorded 3 tackles, broke up a pass, and had 1 quarterback hurry on Saturday night.
With lots of playmakers on this defense, look for the Landsharks to rebound and play like champions in the next 3 games and give the Rebels a shot to have the final say in who wins the SEC West.