'Big plays when we needed them': Auburn sacks Ole Miss

 
Auburn
 
1st
2nd
3rd
4th
F
 (24) Ole Miss Rebels
3
3
10
6
22
 Auburn Tigers
13
7
7
3
30
Ole Miss
 
 
 Quick Stats
AU
Miss
 First Downs
19
24
 Rushing Yards
282
124
 Passing Yards
93
340
 Total Yards
375
464
 Total Plays
65
89
 Fumbles-Lost
2-2
0-0
 Penalties-Yards
2-23
4-34
 Interceptions-Yards
2-82
0-0
 3rd Down Conversions
5-13
5-19
 4th Down Conversions
0-0
3-5
 Field Goals
1-2
3-3
 Time of Possession
27:55
32:05

 Stat Leaders
 Passing
C-Att
Yds
TD
Int
 AU - Marshall
11-17
93
0
0
 Miss - Wallace
25-48
336
2
2
 Rushing
Car
Yds
TD
Long
 AU - Marshall
14
145
2
28
 Miss - Scott
6
68
0
52
 Receiving
Rec
Yds
TD
Long
 AU - Mason
3
62
0
34
 Miss - Moncrief
6
122
2
49

 AUHD
 Video Game Highlights: Auburn vs. Ole Miss
 Video Post-Game: Head Coach Gus Malzahn
 Video Verizon Locker Room Report
 Video Post-Game: DE Carl Lawson
 Video Post-Game: OL Reese Dismukes
 Video Post-Game: DE Dee Ford
 Video Post-Game: DB Ryan Smith
   
 
 Auburn | 4-1 Overall (2-1 SEC)
08/31
W
 31-24 vs. Washington State
09/07
W
 38-9 vs. Arkansas State
09/14
W
 24-20 vs. Mississippi State
09/21
L
 35-21 at (6) LSU
10/05
W
 30-22 vs. (24) Ole Miss
10/12
-
 vs. Western Carolina (HC)
10/19
-
 at Texas A&M
10/26
-
 vs. Florida Atlantic
11/02
-
 at Arkansas
11/09
-
 at Tennessee
11/16
-
 vs. Georgia
11/30
-
 vs. Alabama
   
By Charles Goldberg
AuburnTigers.com
 
AUBURN, Ala. -- Ole Miss was the ranked team, but the Rebels couldn't stand up to the pressure of a defensive line with mayhem on its mind and an Auburn football team that keeps distancing itself from last year's unhappy past.
 
Dee Ford, Gabe Wright and Carl Lawson each had two sacks and harassed Ole Miss quarterback Bo Wallace when it mattered the most in helping the Tigers to a 30-22 win over No. 24 Ole Miss on Saturday night in Jordan-Hare Stadium.
 
"The big sacks," said Auburn's Gus Malzahn, "were critical."
 
The Tigers improved to 4-1 overall and 2-1 in the Southeastern Conference in Malzahn's first year as Auburn's head coach as he moves his team past last year's 3-9 overall record and 0-8 stumble through the SEC.
 
"This was a huge win for us against a Top 25 team. We talk about getting better each week, and we have a chance at that," Malzahn said.
 
Auburn's defense came up big in the final minutes, but only after Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall helped the Tigers to a quick lead. He rushed for 140 yards and two touchdowns on 14 carries. Auburn led 20-6 at halftime, though it was the Tigers' defense that was left on the field to face most of the action. Ole Miss ran 51 plays in the first half. Auburn ran just 27. But the Tigers' defense, boosted by a rotating defensive line, stopped Ole Miss on its final three series, two of which came the Rebels had cut Auburn's lead to 27-22.
 
"I think that's one of our strengths, that we play a lot of guys," Malzahn said. "There were big plays when we needed them.
 
"I'm very proud of our defense, especially in the fourth quarter."
 
Robenson Therezie's 78-yard interception return for a touchdown in the first quarter was something to smile about, too. That pushed Auburn's lead to 13-3. It was Therezie's third interception of the year and the sixth for Auburn this year. That last year thing? Auburn had two interceptions in 2012.
 
There were big plays by Marshall, not so much passing but running. And there was a big punt from Steven Clark, who had a punt downed at the Ole Miss 1 with Auburn nursing a 5-point lead.
 
Before all of that there were Marshall and running back Tre Mason, who led Auburn through the first two quarters.
 
Ole Miss ran 89 plays. Auburn had 65. But the Rebels never caught Auburn.
 
Marshall had more yards rushing, thanks in part to a 16-yard scramble, a 28-yard run and a 5-yard touchdown keeper on an important drive that ended with 5:17 left in the second quarter.
 
Auburn commanded the scoreboard, 20-6 at the half, but the Rebels had most of the other numbers. The Rebels ran a whopping 51 plays and had the ball 21 minutes in the first half. Auburn ran just 27 plays and had the ball for nine minutes.
 
The stats didn't matter. Marshall's running ability and some early bursts from Mason put Auburn ahead early and the Rebels never could catch up.
 
The Tigers' first drive was a mix of run and pass. Marshall accounted for 61 total yards and Mason ran and caught for 48 yards and a touchdown to give Auburn a 6-0 lead. The Tigers' try for two failed, and Ole Miss' Andrew Ritter's 42-yard field goal cut the lead in half halfway through the first quarter.
 
But Auburn sped away with a bigger leader when Therezie intercepted a pass and raced 78 yards for a touchdown and a 13-3 lead with 1:39 left in the first quarter.
 
"It was really huge. That was a momentum play," Malzahn said.
 
The game stayed at 13-3 until Marshall ran Auburn in for a touchdown to make it 20-3. Ole Miss answered when Ritter hit a 44-yard field goal with 44 seconds left in the half. He hit a 22-yard field goal on the Rebels' first drive of the second half to cut Auburn's lead to 20-9.
 
Marshall made it 27-9 on a 5-yard TD run midway through the third quarter. But Wallace hit Donte Moncrief for TD passes of 49 and 23 yards and suddenly it was 27-22 with 8:29 left.
 
But Auburn's defense came back. Ole Miss' final three drives went like this: 3 plays, 3 yards and an interception; 3 plays, 0 yards and a punt; and six plays and 3 yards, ending with consecutive sacks that all but ended the game.
 
"We're going to get better each week," Malzahn said, "and I think we have a chance to continue that."