Auburn's Jonathan Jones says Ole Miss' passing game is a handful
By Charles Goldberg
AUBURN, Ala. ― Jonathan Jones figures Auburn will get Laquon Treadwell's best effort in Saturday's game in Jordan-Hare Stadium because, well, the Ole Miss receiver said so.
"They're going to feel my pain," Treadwell said this week. "I'm just going to play my hardest."
And so it is Treadwell, who leads the SEC in catches, will challenge Jones and his Auburn defensive mates in Saturday's 11 a.m. game in Jordan-Hare Stadium.
Treadwell's motivation for Saturday's game is this: He was within a heartbeat of putting Ole Miss on top of Auburn late in last year's game in Oxford, but suffered a broken leg and dislocated ankle after a reception and fumbled just short of the end zone. Auburn held on and won.
Auburn's Gus Malzahn said he communicated with Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze after the injury to "let him know that our thoughts and prayers are with him."
"He's a class young man and a great person and he's a great player."
Auburn defensive coordinator Will Muschamp says Treadwell seems motivated all the time, anyway. "Based on the film, he's pretty emotional every day. You really appreciate the way he approaches the game."
Jones said Treadwell will be a challenge.
"He’s a good player. I'm pretty sure it will be a big game for him since he got hurt in that game last year," Jones said.
"I expect him to come out fired up and with an intensity. We have to match and bring that same intensity.”
Treadwell leads the SEC with 54 catches for 756 yards. Ole Miss quarterback Chad Kelly leads the SEC in passing with the most attempts, completions, yards and touchdown passes. He's also tops in total offense and passing efficiency.
Auburn's defense allowed its fewest yards in regulation in two of its last three games. The Tigers may also get a boost if pass rusher Carl Lawson is cleared to play. He hasn't played since the first half of the first game after suffering a hip injury, but has been practicing this week.
A pass-rushing Lawson could make it easier for everybody.
"Anytime you can get a pass rush it throws the offense off," Jones said. "Carl is a great pass rusher. Anytime you’re playing a team that throws the ball as much as Ole Miss, and we have Texas A&M still coming up, the pass rush is going to be huge in those games.
"He's going to bring some extra juice and intensity that he always brings. It's going to be good to have a good player like him back out there."
Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @AUGoldMine