OXFORD, Miss. — Auburn’s second trip to the Magnolia State was more thrilling, but just as successful, as its first.
Though Ole Miss quarterback Chad Kelly was unstoppable in the air, Auburn was overpowering on the ground and dominating defensively, managing a 40-29 win over the Rebels in Oxford.
Earlier this season the Tigers bulldozed Mississippi State 38-14 during their first SEC road trip.
Auburn’s stock will rise slightly. Here’s why:
- Kamryn Pettway seems to be bigger, stronger and better every time he takes the field. The sophomore running back had his fifth-straight 100-yard game, carrying the ball 30 times, scoring one touchdown and amassing 236 total yards of offense. To this point in the season the bruising back has racked up 933 yards. Pettway is leading the Tigers to wins each week, getting more confident with every handoff.
- Josh Holsey has come close to nabbing a couple of interceptions in Auburn’s last few outings, but grabbed one that counted on Saturday. With just over seven minutes remaining in the third quarter, the senior defensive back picked off Kelly, setting up an Auburn scoring drive a few plays later. Auburn’s defensive backs struggled to contain Kelly for most of the evening and that included Holsey, who was targeted several times early. Holsey rebounded with the poise that has earned him recognition as one of Auburn’s overall defensive leaders.
- Jalen Harris hasn’t been very busy this year, but his first career touchdown was one to remember. The 6-foot-4, 260-pound Harris caught a pass and scored on a trick play that put the Tigers up 27-22. There have been questions about Auburn’s tight ends throughout the season, but Harris provided a correct answer on the road.
- The Tigers faced Clemson’s Deshaun Watson and Texas A&M’s Trevor Knight earlier this year, but Chad Kelly gave the Tigers fits like no one else has so far this season. Though Auburn’s front four pressured the quarterback early and often — even managing to tip some passes and sneak a few sacks, Kelly shredded Auburn’s linebackers and defensive backs. The Ole Miss quarterback finished the night with 3 touchdowns, 1 interception and a new Ole Miss single-game passing record (465 yards).
- Auburn’s second defensive line group has been steadily improving, but sophomore Andrew Williams made a key error near the end of the game. Williams was penalized for a late hit, which could have easily led to an Ole Miss scoring drive. Ole Miss wide receiver Evan Engram luckily dropped the pass, but Williams can’t afford mistakes like that for the rest of the year.
- Daniel Carlson is impressive and skilled, but most importantly he’s consistent. The junior nailed 4 field goals in Oxford, scoring 12 critical points in Auburn’s victory. Carlson drilled kicks from 45, 32, 30 and 47 yards.