Rebels drop hard-fought game to No. 15 Auburn, 40-29
OXFORD, Miss. – Ole Miss must get back to work this week, as the Rebels find themselves 1-4 in the Southeastern Conference following a 40-29 loss to Auburn Saturday.
The Rebels fought hard in a back and forth game with the Tigers, absorbing blows from Auburn’s juggernaut running back Kamryn Pettway and dishing out counterpunches of their own in the form of an aerial attack led by quarterback Chad Kelly.
Ultimately, however, Auburn converted on an Ole Miss turnover with a three-yard run up the middle by Kerryon Johnson to seal the victory for the then-15th ranked Tigers (6-2, 3-1). Pettway finished with 236 yards on 30 carries.
The loss is the Rebels’ third straight in conference play, following defeats at the hands of Arkansas and LSU.
Record-breaking night for Engram and Kelly
Kelly was brilliant for most of the game, completing 36 of 59 passes and breaking Archie Manning’s 47-year-old Ole Miss single-game passing record in the process with 465 yards. He threw three TDs and added 40 yards rushing to lead the game with 505 yards of total offense, which is the second highest total in school history–behind only Manning’s total of 540 yards.
Tight end Evan Engram added two milestones to his portfolio also. He eclipsed his own single-season school record for yards by a tight end with 700. He had 662 yards in 2014.
After a first quarter touchdown, Engram also took control of first place of the school record for most touchdowns by a tight end with 13.
“I’m just thankful,” Engram said after the game. “God is so good to me and no matter what goes on with this team, no matter what the results say, I’m thankful for my time here. I’m thankful for the things I have done and it’s an honor to be at that level with all of the great talent that’s been here, especially at the position.
“But I would not be able to do it without God and my teammates. They are my brothers. I am so thankful for them. Without them, it’s not possible. It’s tough to think about but I’m really thankful.”
Ole Miss had three new starters on the offensive line with freshman Greg Little at left tackle, junior Daronte Bouldin at right guard, and freshman Alex Givens at right tackle.
Senior running back Akeem Judd played with a turf toe. Sophomore offensive lineman Sean Rawlings came off the field limping in the second quarter but returned in the second half. While Rawlings was on the sideline, senior Robert Conyers, also hampered by injury, took over duties at center.
Junior linebacker DeMarquis Gates was hurt all week, dealing with a knee injury, but managed to play, finishing with nine tackles, a tackle for a loss and a forced fumble.
The Rebels will host Georgia Southern on November 5 at 11 a.m. on ESPNU. This will be the first meeting between both programs.