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Gamer: Ole Miss drops Homecoming game to Auburn, 35-28

Gamer: Ole Miss drops Homecoming game to Auburn, 35-28

OXFORD, Miss. – In its five games this season, Ole Miss has been in the hunt for a victory in the fourth quarter. Three times before, the Rebels could not close the deal — and Saturday became the fourth such occasion.

Ole Miss held a one-point advantage in the fourth quarter, but Auburn came back to claim a 35-28 win at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium.

The Rebels fall to 1-4 on the season.

“I think that’s always the case when guys aren’t used to winning and I talked to them about it; there’s no pixie dust,” Ole Miss coach Lane Kiffin said when asked if part of what he is doing is helping his players learn how to win. “We’ve got to make more plays than they (opponents) do and execute the situations and that’s what great teams do.”

Auburn took over for its last chance at its own 25 with 2:25 left. It only took the Tigers 1:14 to get to paydirt. Bo Nix hit Seth Williams with a sideline pass and he took it 42 yards for the touchdown. The two-point conversion worked, and Auburn held a 35-28 lead.

However, should the Tigers had even had a shot at the game-winning drive?

After Ole Miss took a 28-27 lead, Luke Logan kicked off short for the Rebels. The ball bounced to Auburn’s Shaun Shivers who came up to field it. It appeared the ball touched Shivers’ hand – and he must have thought so, as well, as he chased the ball initially – and the Rebels’ Tylan Knight fell on the loose ball in the end zone for an apparent Ole Miss touchdown.

But the officials ruled the ball had not been touched — and, inexplicably, there was no official stoppage for review, so Auburn took over for what became the game-winning drive.

“Well, they (the officials) said they did (review the play), but you don’t really challenge anymore in college because they review everything, supposedly, so there’s no use in challenging,” Kiffin said. “So, I go to the guy who said they looked at it and he said they didn’t see anything, so even when they don’t stop it, they’re still looking. Now why they didn’t stop it and look closer, I have no idea.” 

Regardless, Ole Miss still had the opportunity to seal the win with a defensive stop. But Nix was able to navigate the field for the winning score.

Again, the Rebels could not close the deal.

Auburn opened the final period by reclaiming the lead with an 18-yard touchdown run. The Tigers dropped the snap on the conversion, so the lead was only 27-21.

Ole Miss took advantage of the special team miscue. The Rebels took the kickoff and drove 77 yards in 13 plays. Ealy had the honors of scoring on a five-yard sprint up the middle to tie the score and Logan put Ole Miss back in front 28-27 with 5:43 remaining.

Once the officials decided there was not a fumble on the kickoff, the Tigers had the ball and a chance to score to go ahead, which they did, including converting the two-point conversion that gave them the 35-28 lead.

The game was a back-and-forth affair all afternoon.

After going three-and-out on its first possession, the high-flying Ole Miss offense took to the ground driving deep into Auburn territory. The Rebels drove 68 yards – all through rushes – but decided to go to the pass at the Tigers’ five. Corral’s pass to Elijah Moore in the end zone was picked off by Jordyn Peters to end the scoring threat.

After taking over at its own nine, Auburn decided to take the Rebels’ game plan for itself. The Tigers took to the ground and methodically pounded the ball downfield to a Tank Bigsby four-yard scoring run. Andres Carlson’s kick gave Auburn a 7-0 lead.

The drive was 14 plays and covered 95 yards. It consisted of ten runs, the first eight coming before Auburn attempted a pass.

John Rhys Plumlee spelled Corral on the ensuing drive. He immediately completed his first pass to Kenny Yeboah and followed that up by running for 37 yards on his first rushing attempt. During the drive the first quarter ended, and Corral returned when the second period began.

Plumlee returned for one play, before Corral then found Moore on a six-yard touchdown pass. Luke Logan’s kick tied the score at 7-7. 

On its next drive, Auburn again dipped into the Rebels’ playbook and went up-tempo. The Tigers were able to quickly move the ball into Ole Miss territory. It only took Auburn 4:28 to get into the end zone on a Bo Nix four-yard scamper. The kick gave the Tigers a 14-7 edge.

The Rebels answered on the ensuing drive. Ole Miss drove 78 yards in 16 plays, including a crucial fourth-down conversion, and Corral capped it all off with a five-yard run and Logan’s kick tied the score again, 14-14.

That score held at the half.

After each team netted just one yard each on its first drive, the offenses did find their footing. Ole Miss ended the half with 209 total yards, while Auburn had 200.

An errant punt snap on Auburn’s first drive of the third quarter gave Ole Miss a great opportunity with starting field position on the Tigers’ 25.

Ole Miss could not capitalize. The Rebels opted against a 37-yard field goal for a fake attempt. Logan took an over-the-shoulder flip from his holder but was dropped well short of the first down and the score remained tied.

“It (the fake field goal) was just something we practiced during the week and the special teams’ guys felt good about it,” Kiffin said.

The flip was a little bit short and he (Logan) had to come back for it so he could come back around the edge. I don’t mind fake field goals when they don’t work because it’s not the end of the world because you can miss the field goal. And I think we missed (a field goal) on the same exact spot and same hash against Florida. 

Coach Kiffin on the fake field goal

After stopping Auburn on the ensuing possession, the Rebels exploded. On the first play of the drive, Snoop Conner ran for 19 yards and on the next snap, Corral found Yeboah on a wheel route that turned into a 60-yard gain to the Auburn 10. 

Corral followed that with his second touchdown run. Logan nailed the extra point and Ole Miss had its first lead, 21-14.

Auburn had the answer though. The Tigers drove 88 yards to a Shivers’ one-yard run and Carlson’s kick tied the game, 21-21.

Auburn opened the final period by reclaiming the lead with an 18-yard touchdown run. The Tigers dropped the snap on the conversion, so the lead was only 27-21.

Ole Miss took advantage of the special team miscue. The Rebels took the kickoff and drove 77 yards in 13 plays. Ealy had the honors of scoring on a five-yard sprint up the middle to tie the score, and Logan put Ole Miss back in front, 28-27, with 5:43 remaining.

Three Rebels ran for over 70 yards, Corral had 88, Conner 75 and Ealy 74. Plumlee added another 48.

Corral paced Ole Miss with 154 yards through the air. 

The Rebels will try and rebound as they travel to Vanderbilt next week. Kickoff is set for 3:00 p.m. (CT).

About The Author

Steve Barnes

Steve Barnes joins The Rebel Walk staff as a senior writer and brings a trifecta of journalistic experience. As a writer, he has covered college sports for Rivals.com, Football.com and SaturdayDownSouth.com as well as served as a beat writer for various traditional newspapers. He has been a broadcaster for arena football and several national tournament events for the National Junior College Athletic Association as well as hosting various shows on radio. A former sports information director at Albany (Ga.) State University and an assistant at Troy and West Florida, he has helped host many NCAA conference, regional and national events, including serving five years on the media committee of the NCAA Division II World Series. Barnes, a native of Pensacola, Fla., attended Ole Miss in 1983-84, where his first journalism teacher was David Kellum. The duo has come a long way since that time. He will bring a proven journalistic track record, along with a knack for finding the out-of-the-ordinary story angles to The Rebel Walk. Barnes continues to reside in Pensacola a mere ten minutes from the beach because he does have taste and a brain.

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