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Auburn comes up big in the clutch to beat Ole Miss
Oct. 29, 2016

Kamryn Pettway
Kamryn Pettway and Auburn rushed past Ole Miss in the second half

By Charles Goldberg

OXFORD, Miss. -- Auburn rode the see-saw with Ole Miss forever, then came up big in the fourth quarter to score a 40-29 victory Saturday night for its fifth straight victory.

A crowd of 65,927 -- the second largest crowd in Vaught-Hemingway Stadium history -- were treated all kinds of yardage and scores before Auburn took the lead and put the Rebels away despite a huge passing night from Ole Miss' Chad Kelly in a game in which the teams combined for more than 1,100 yards.

The craziness started in the first half and continued through the fourth quarter. Auburn finally took the lead, for good, on a 30-yard Daniel Carlson field goal to make it 30-29 with 12:25 left to play. He kicked 47-yarder four minutes later just to make sure.

A big Josh Holsey interception -- a pick that coach Gus Malzahn said was the play of the game -- set up a 3-yard Kerryon Johnson touchdown, his second of the game, to make it 40-29 with 5:58 left.

That was after a wild first half that simply would not stop in the second half. A 15-yard touchdown pass from Sean White to Jalen Harris -- his first career reception -- gave Auburn a 27-22 lead with 3:11 left in the third quarter. But Kelly answered that for a 29-27 Ole Miss lead with a touchdown pass with 3:11 left in the third. He passed for 465 yards. Auburn's Kamryn Pettway countered with 236 yards rushing on 30 carries.

White passed for 247 yards and ran for 27 more.

"He's got a little burst. He showed a lot of toughness," Malzahn said.

The first half was a crazy see-saw affair. Each team scored every single time it had the ball -- nine times in all -- on the way to a 22-20 Ole Miss halftime lead. By the time it was over, Ole Miss had 32 first downs and Auburn had 26.

Ole Miss had 570 yards. Auburn had 554. But the Tigers adjusted along the way. The Rebels scored only once in the second half.

Kelly, already the SEC's leading passer, negated Auburn's strong defensive line with quick passes. He passed for 297 yards in the first half on the way to 465 on a whopping 59 attempts. Ole Miss rolled up 351 total yards in the first half. Auburn countered with 272 yards, taking a different route to get there.

Pettway rushed for 148 yards and touchdown in the first half. 

Try to keep up with this first half: Ole Miss led 6-0, trailed 7-6, led 13-7, then 13-10, then 16-10, then trailed 17-16, then led 19-17, then trailed 20-19, then led 22-20.

Ole Miss had the halftime lead thanks to three Gary Wunderlich field goals and a 15-yard touchdown pass to Evan Engram and a 26-yard touchdown pass to DaMarkus Lodge.

Auburn countered with a 41-yard touchdown run by Pettway, a 1-yard run by Johnson and two Carlson field goals.

Auburn didn't score on its first drive of the second half. Neither did Ole Miss, though the Rebels surely tried, getting all the way to the Auburn 3 before the Tigers stopped them on fourth-and-1 from the 3. That goal-line stand, and Holsey's interceptions, were the two most important plays of the game, Malzahn said.

Check back for comments from coach Gus Malzahn...

Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at Follow him on Twitter:



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