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Auburn Cruises Past Ole Miss, Wins 44-23

Tigers win fourth straight game, improve to 3-0 in the SEC.

NCAA Football: Mississippi at Auburn John Reed-USA TODAY Sports

Kerryon Johnson ran for 204 yards on 28 carries, Jarrett Stidham had another exceptionally efficient day, and the Auburn defense played up to its standard once again as the Tigers dominated Ole Miss and avoided the Saturday morning hangover in a 44-23 victory.

Ole Miss quarterback Shea Patterson racked up the yards, but they were largely empty and between the twenties, as the Tigers employed the bend-but-don’t-break strategy we’ve seen plenty of times before. Patterson’s legs, a huge part of his appeal, were held in check and the Auburn defense turned him into a pocket passer for the most part in today’s win.

On the other side, Auburn’s offense didn’t grab the big plays the way they’ve done in wins over Missouri and Mississippi State. Instead, a ground-and-pound approach was the order of the day, as Johnson and Kam Martin both gained ample yardage, and the short/intermediate passing game paid dividends as well for Stidham and the rest of the offense.

After Ole Miss started the game with the ball and missed a field goal on its opening drive, the Tigers went to work just as they have the past two weeks -- quickly. Auburn leaned on the running abilities of Kerryon Johnson early, as he carried the ball six times for 53 yards on the first possession of the game, including a 17-yard touchdown. The drive took over five minutes off the clock and covered 74 yards in ten plays.

The Rebel Scum did earn points on their second drive of the game, after delving deep into Auburn territory, they settled for a 27-yard field goal. The Tigers responded with a one-play drive, a screen pass from Jarrett Stidham to Ryan Davis went for 75 yards and a touchdown to put Auburn on top 14-3 as we still sat in the first quarter. Ole Miss’ third drive of the game went nowhere, and a punt gave Auburn the ball back at their own 26.

Auburn’s running game, led by Johnson and Kam Martin, moved the Tigers down inside the red zone as the quarter ended, and then Stidham hit Darius Slayton on a toe-tapping touchdown in the South end zone on the first play of the second quarter to give Auburn a 21-3 advantage early on.

Drive number four for Ole Miss also ended in a punt, and a personal foul targeting penalty against the Rebels as Stephen Roberts fielded the kick gave Auburn fantastic field position at their own 43. On a third-and-one, Kerryon Johnson rumbled 48 yards for the fourth score of the day to give Auburn a 28-3 lead. Ole Miss once again drove into the Tiger end of the field but failed on a fourth down near the midway point of the second quarter.

Kerryon Johnson once again led the way on Auburn’s fifth successful drive of the first half — he ran for 33 yards on the excursion, including a five-yard jaunt into the south end zone for his third touchdown that gave the Tigers a 35-3 lead, and that’s how things stood at halftime.

One of the few things missing from a fabulous first half was a Daniel Carlson field goal, which he nailed from 49 yards to open the third quarter after a drive stalled. At that point, the Tigers had scored on six of their seven drives.

However, to begin the second half, Auburn’s defense wasn’t playing up to the standard they set during the first thirty minute, as Ole Miss drove for a touchdown on its opening possession of the third quarter, cutting the lead to 38-10. Carlson added another field goal late in the third to make it 41-10, that came on a drive during which Kerryon Johnson hit the 200-yard mark with his 28th carry of the afternoon.

Auburn cruised during the fourth quarter, sprinkling in backups on both sides of the ball, but Daniel Carlson’s third field goal of the day with a little more than six minutes to play gave him 413 points for his career, which is tops in the SEC all-time.

Ole Miss did post some garbage numbers late, scoring two fourth quarter touchdowns while down several scores, but it at least gives Auburn something to work on as we look forward to Baton Rouge next weekend.

Jarrett Stidham finished 14-21 for 235 yards and two touchdowns, and Ryan Davis led the Tiger receivers with 75 yards and a touchdown on two catches. Shea Patterson went 34-51 for 346 yards and two touchdowns, while A.J. Brown led all receivers with 109 yards on ten catches.

The Tigers will head to Baton Rouge next Saturday, but Auburn and LSU’s kick time will not be announced until tomorrow. It will come at either 2:30, 6:00, or 6:15 CST on either CBS, ESPN, or ESPN2. Auburn improves to 5-1, 3-0 in the SEC, while Ole Miss drops to 2-3, 0-2 in conference play.