OXFORD — As satisfying as Ole Miss’ 48-34 win over Auburn was — a win that snapped a six-game Rebels losing streak in the series — it wasn’t perfect. And the Tigers’ rushing stats tell that story.
Star running back Tank Bigsby ran for 179 yards and two touchdowns, part of a 301-yard, four touchdown performance on the ground for Auburn. The Tigers had 11 rushes of 10 or more yards, which helped Auburn hang around. Auburn had 441 yards of offense in the game.
Junior defensive end Cedric Johnson did not play.
“That was not up to our standards, no matter who is in there,” head coach Lane Kiffin said. “ … Guys have to step up like we tell them, because it’s the middle of the season, you’re going to have injuries. Obviously, we did not tackle well again.
“ … I guess the guys today announced we have lightning within eight miles of here. I said, ‘Well we ain’t got any run defense within eight miles of here.’ So, maybe we’ll have 30 minutes to go figure it out.”
Dart didn’t know the onside kick was coming, either
Ole Miss sophomore quarterback Jaxson Dart said he had no idea the Rebels were attempting an onside kick in the third quarter, which, when combined with a field goal from senior Jonathan Cruz before the onside try, turned a four-point game into a two touchdown game in a matter of minutes.
He was meeting with the rest of the quarterbacks following the field goal and was just as surprised as everyone else watching the game.
“No. I had no idea,” Dart said. “ … “I thought it was huge. Extra possessions are massive, especially in a game like this. It’s a huge momentum shift. We were just talking about the previous drives as the quarterbacks, and we looked up on the big screen and saw that we kicked it onside. That got us all fired up for sure.”
Key number: 23
Ole Miss held Auburn to 23 yards of offense in the first quarter. The Rebels racked up 225 in the period, a difference of 202 yards between the teams.
The Rebels face LSU in Baton Rouge at 2:30 p.m. Saturday on CBS.
“Really just sticking to what was working, I guess. They couldn’t stop our running game, and we put it on our O-line’s shoulders. Coming into this week, last week we didn’t run the ball the way we wanted to so we had to throw it a little bit. I think it just shows how versatile our offense is and how we can do so many different things and put the defense on their heels. We could run it up even when they knew we were running it. It was fun. I think it’s pretty demoralizing for defenses. You just get pushed back each and every play. We just put our big guys up front and lean on them.” – Jaxson Dart
Ole Miss is 7-0 for the first time since 2014 … The Rebels ran a season-high 88 plays and picked up a season-high 29 first downs … The 65,243 fans at Vaught-Hemingway were the sixth-most all time … Ole Miss’ three forced turnovers were the second-most for the Rebels this year … Ole Miss has had 575 yards or more offense in consecutive games.
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