Auburn Football: Tigers Use Run Game and Defense to Outlast Rebels
Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall rushed for 140 yards and two touchdowns as the Tigers beat no. 24 Ole Miss at Jordan-Hare Stadium Saturday night.
Auburn opened the scoring with a one-yard touchdown run by Tre Mason. The short run capped a six-play, 80-yard drive that included a 29-yard screen pass from Nick Marshall to Mason and a 28-yard run by Marshall. The Tigers failed to convert a two-point conversion attempt and led 6–0.
Ole Miss answered with a 42-yard field goal, but the Tigers turned the Rebels' next possession into a score of their own. Robenson Therezie, who entered the game as Auburn's leading tackler, intercepted Bo Wallace and returned the pick 78 yards to give the Tigers a 13–3 lead.
Auburn scored again in the second quarter on a five-yard run by Marshall. The Tigers quarterback kept the ball on a zone read and jogged into the end zone untouched. The play mimicked the success of another zone read earlier in the drive, when Marshall ran for 26 yards to the Ole Miss 11.
The critical play of the drive, however, was earlier still, when Auburn faced third-and-six at their own 35. Marshall dropped back to pass and surveyed his receivers but found no one open. He pulled it down and ran for 16 yards, keeping the drive alive.
Ole Miss later kicked another field goal, making the halftime score 20–6.
The Rebels opened the second-half scoring with their third field goal of the game, but the Tigers answered with another touchdown drive, this time covering 75 yards on nine plays. Marshall again finished the drive with a five-yard touchdown run.
With a 27–9 lead, Auburn appeared ready to run away with it, but Bo Wallace and the Rebels were not about to lay down. Ole Miss asserted their playmaking ability with a 49-yard touchdown pass from Wallace to Donte Moncrief.
The Rebels scored the first points of the fourth quarter when, after a long completion to Moncrief, Wallace found the athletic receiver again on a short route, and Moncrief found the end zone for a 12-yard touchdown, making it a 27–22 game.
The teams traded turnovers and punts in the fourth quarter before Auburn's Cody Parkey kicked a 23-yard field goal to give Auburn a 30–22 lead.
The Tiger defense, which featured outstanding play throughout the game by defensive ends Dee Ford and Carl Lawson, linebacker Anthony Swain and tackle Gabe Wright, shut down the Rebels in the final minutes to seal the victory.
Auburn is now 4–1 overall, 2–1 in SEC play. The Tigers face Western Carolina next week for Homecoming at Jordan-Hare Stadium.
Josh Dowdy is a contributor to Bleacher Report and the author of Orange Is Our Color: The Tuberville Years through Navy-tinted Glasses.
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