Balanced Offense, Special Teams lead Auburn to Road Win at Ole Miss
Auburn Runningback Kamryn Pettway (Photo: Auburn Athletics)
Despite a record-breaking performance by Ole Miss Quarterback Chad Kelly, Auburn used a solid running game and perfect special teams play to power past the home-standing Rebels, 40-29.
Running back Kamryn Pettway had the best game of his young career, by rushing for a personal-best 236 yards and rushing for a touchdown. In return from injury, Kerryon Johnson scored twice from the wildcat position. The combo has now combined to score 13 touchdowns.
Junior Daniel Carlson was perfect on the night, succeeding on 4-4 field goal attempts in the win.
Ole Miss used their solid passing game to their advantage in the first half. Rebel quarterback Chad Kelly and the Ole Miss passing game entered the game with Auburn ranked second in the SEC in passing yards per game with 304. At the end of the first half, Kelly threw for 297 yards and two touchdowns. Nine different receivers had at least 15 receiving yards.
The Rebels got on the board first nearly four minutes into the first quarter, when Kelly connected with favorite target, Evan Engram, for a 15-yard touchdown pass. The extra point was not successful, however, as Montravius Adams was able to block the attempt by Gary Wunderlich. Pettway picked up where he left off last Saturday, and he barreled his way to the end zone from 41-yards out with 7:27 remaining in the quarter. Daniel Carlson’s extra point attempt was good, and Auburn quickly grabbed their first lead of the night, 7-6. In the drive, Kerryon Johnson carried the football for the first time in two games. He rushed for six yards on two carries on his first drive back from injury.
The Rebels passing game was in full force during their second drive, as Kelly would throw his second touchdown pass of the night, this time to Demarkus Lodge. The extra point attempt by Wunderlich was successful, and Ole Miss regained the lead, 13-7, nearly two minutes after Auburn scored.
Auburn would cut their lead to three with 1:50 remaining in the quarter, as Carlson connected on a 45-yard field goal, to make the score 13-10 as the first quarter came to a close.
Ole Miss placekicker Gary Wunderlich would play a larger role for the Rebels in the second quarter, as he would succeed on three field goal attempts, including one as time expired, to give his team the 22-20 halftime lead. Kerryon Johnson would score his first touchdown of the night at the 12:33 mark, when he scored on a keeper out of the wildcat formation from 1-yard out. Carlson would also nail his second field goal attempt of the night with 2:15 remaining in the first half.
Auburn and Ole Miss would continue to trade blows in the third quarter, as each team would score a touchdown. In Auburn’s lone touchdown drive, Quarterback Sean White put the offense in prime position to score.
White converted a 3rd down and 13 situation into a first down by rushing for 16 yards. One play later, he completed a 33-yard pass to Marcus Davis. To cap the drive, White found tight end Jalen Harris in the end zone from 15-yards away to move Auburn ahead 27-22 with 3:11 remaining in the third quarter. The touchdown catch was the first of Harris’ career.
Ole Miss quickly regained the lead just 1:19 later, when Kelly tossed his third touchdown pass of the evening, this time to Damore’ea Stringfellow. Ole Miss took a 29-27 lead into the fourth quarter.
The Auburn defense showed signs of improvement in the third stanza. The Tigers stopped the Ole Miss offense twice, once when defensive end Devaroe Lawrence tackled quarterback Justin Pellerin on fourth down, and again when Jeff Holland and Marlon Davidson sacked Kelly to force a fourth down, and the Rebels first punt of the night.
Auburn pulled away in the fourth quarter, thanks to two Carlson field goals, and Johnson’s second touchdown of the night. Carlson converted field goals from 30 and 47 yards respectively, while Kerryon Johnson scored his second touchdown from the wildcat formation with 5:58 remaining in the football game to cap scoring for the game, with Auburn pulling out the win at Ole Miss, 40-29.
The win in Oxford was the first time since 2010 that Auburn won road games at Ole Miss and Mississippi State since 2010. Ole Miss quarterback Chad Kelly broke a single-game record for Ole Miss, by throwing for 465 yards. An eyebrow raising stat is that Auburn is 8-0 all-time when the opposing quarterback passes for more than 400 yards.
Auburn is now 6-2, 3-1 in SEC play. The Tigers look to match their 2015 win total next week when they return to the Plains to face Vanderbilt. Kickoff is scheduled for 11 A.M.