Postgame Points: Auburn 40, Ole Miss 29
Each week, The Rebel Walk’s Jeff Tetrick takes a look at the Ole Miss Postgame Points, examining the top five takeaways from the Rebels’ most recent football game. Here are the Postgame Points from the Auburn game.
Ole Miss fell to #15 Auburn on Saturday night to drop to 3-5 on the season and 1-4 in SEC play. The Rebels are 1-5 against ranked opponents this year and 0-4 versus ranked teams from the SEC West. While the Rebels have faced a daunting schedule, Ole Miss went into this season with high expectations from the coaches, players, and fans. With their major goals for the year out of reach, the Rebels must focus on finishing the season strong and accomplishing other goals.
If the Rebels were to win out, Ole Miss will finish the year with a 4-4 league record, which is still quite an achievement in the brutal SEC West. Ole Miss can end the year with 8 wins by winning out and getting a bowl victory, as well. Further, the Rebels can finish the 2016 campaign on a high note by retaining the Egg Bowl trophy in late November.
2. Chad Kelly and School Records
Chad Kelly put up some amazing numbers in the loss to Auburn. Kelly continues to shine in his senior season. Against the Tigers, Kelly threw for a school-record 465 yards and 3 touchdowns. The 465 yards broke the single-game passing record of 436 set by the legendary Archie Manning against Alabama back in 1969. When someone eclipses a record held by Archie Manning, that person has accomplished something noteworthy.
In addition, Kelly ran the ball 11 times for 40 yards to give him 505 yards of total offense. That mark is second in Ole Miss history in a single-game only to Manning’s total of 540 yards.
Kelly completed a pass to 10 different Rebels while attempting a school-record 59 passes against the Tigers. He has thrown a touchdown pass in an Ole Miss record 21 straight games. Kelly added another school-record with his twelfth career 300-yard passing game. Finally, Kelly stands in third-place in Ole Miss history with 6,574 career passing yards. Congratulations, Chad!
3. Evan Engram and School Records
Evan Engram had another outstanding game for the Rebels. The senior from Georgia continues to play like the best tight end in the country. Engram has a knack for being at his best for Ole Miss against ranked opponents, something he has done throughout this season and his career wearing the red and blue.
Engram led the Ole Miss receiving corps with 9 catches for 95 yards and a touchdown against Auburn.
With 700 receiving yards through just 8 games, Engram broke his own school-record for receiving yards in a season by a tight end. Engram set the previous record with 662 yards during his sophomore season in 2014.
By grabbing his sixth touchdown catch of the year, Engram established a new Ole Miss record for career touchdown receptions by a tight end with 13.
Finally, Engram became the eighth player in school history to surpass the 2,000-yard mark for career receiving yards. Engram now sits in sixth-place in the Ole Miss history books with 2,094 receiving yards in his Rebel career. Congratulations, Evan!
4. Third-Down Conversions
Ole Miss churned out 570 yards of total offense and 32 first downs against Auburn. Part of the reason for so much success on offense can be attributed to the fact the Rebels were able to move the chains on 7 of 16 third-down conversion attempts.
Converting on third-down plays is vital in big games against ranked opponents, especially when Ole Miss employs an offense predicated on tempo. These conversions give the offense more plays and chances to score points while providing the defense with some rest and time to make adjustments.
In this game, third-down success helped Ole Miss to run 90 plays to just 74 snaps for the Auburn offense. Typically, those numbers are a recipe for victory. Unfortunately, the Rebels struggled to make stops on defense all night long, which enabled the Tigers to make the most of their snaps. Auburn scored o.54 points per snap. Conversely, the Rebels were not as efficient on offense, putting up just 0.32 points per play. Thus, winning does not directly relate to how many plays a team runs but to what that team does with each opportunity it gets in a game.
5. Field Goals
Gary Wunderlich had a great night for the Rebels in the Auburn game. Wunderlich converted on all 3 of his field goal attempts in the second quarter to help Ole Miss take a 22-20 halftime lead on the Tigers.
For the season, Wunderlich has connected on 13 of 14 field goal attempts. As well, he has been successful kicking 31 of 33 PAT’s through the uprights for the red and blue. With important games on the horizon in November, it is very valuable to have a dependable kicker who has the leg and the accuracy to help the Rebels win when the game is on the line.