Chad Kelly is a fantastic quarterback. We all knew that going into this one.
Kelly did all he could to keep the Rebels in the ballgame against Auburn, amassing over 500 yards of offense by himself. But the one man show would not be enough to defeat Auburn on this night, as Pettway and company ran over and though a porous Ole Miss defense to earn the 40-29 defense.
Reading the open thread comments during the game, many of us were dismayed at the way Auburn's secondary played, but I felt like it was more Kelly making ridiculous throws than anything else. Sure Auburn missed some tackles here and there, and got lit up, but it was a far cry from Auburn defenses we've seen over the last 5 years. They made adjustments and held Kelly and Ole Miss to 7 points in the second half.
Offensively, I become more and more impressed with Sean White with each game. He really makes good decisions and his ability to run the football is so underrated. He made a couple of huge escapes in this game when the pocket broke down, and picked up key yardage to keep drives going. I honestly wish he'd keep it a little more often on zone reads, but...
When you have a tank to hand the ball to, it makes a big difference in decision making. Pettway is the best running back in the conference right now not named Fournette. Oh to think how the Clemson game might have been different had he gotten 20 carries.
In that vein, all the credit to Rhett Lashlee who has turned this offense and this team around. The routes are better designed, the nice mix of running inside and out, throwing to the H back, using the talent we have one offense, I could go on for days.
The bottom line here is that a team that was left for dead in September by many (including yours truly) is in the hunt for the SEC title. Auburn will be favored in the next 3 games and should head to Tuscaloosa in the top ten at 9-2. As I said last week, Vandy is Vandy. Georgia hung around for a half in their biggest rivalry game against Florida, but their offense is pathetic. How can Nick Chubb be held to 20 yards rushing? Kirby Smart appears to need Nick Saban more than Nick Saban needs him at this point.
So savor the flavor Auburn fans. The Tigers are trending up!