October 30, 2004
OXFORD, Miss. (AP) -- Jason Campbell rushed for two touchdowns and threw for another, and No. 3 Auburn clinched a spot in the Southeastern Conference championship game with a 35-14 win over Mississippi on Saturday night.
Campbell, the league's most efficient quarterback, was 11-of-22 for 234 yards and had two 1-yard touchdown runs for the Tigers (9-0, 6-0), who scored 28 points after halftime to lock up the Western Division title before their first off week of the season.
The Tigers have won or shared four of the past five division crowns, but are 0-2 in league championship games since the SEC split into divisions in 1992. Some Auburn players celebrated their latest achievement by leaping into the orange-clad section of the crowd -- a la the Lambeau Leap -- and dancing as flashbulbs popped in the stands.
Auburn wrapped up a spot opposite either No. 10 Georgia or Tennessee in the league title game in Atlanta -- and more importantly, the Tigers can keep dreaming of a possible perfect season and national title.
The Tigers are off next week before hosting No. 10 Georgia and visiting Alabama before the SEC title game Dec. 4.
Ronnie Brown ran for 100 yards and a touchdown, and Carnell Williams had 96 yards rushing and a 29-yard TD run.
Campbell's 1-yard sneak with 0:26 left in the first half gave Auburn a 7-0 lead. His second short touchdown run early in the fourth quarter restored the Tigers' 14-point lead.
Auburn never trailed, but the Rebels were thinking upset early in the fourth. Ethan Flatt's 25-yard touchdown pass to Taye Biddle pulled Ole Miss within seven.
That didn't last long. Williams set up Campbell's second TD when he returned a punt 38 yards to the Ole Miss 25. The Rebels didn't threaten the rest of the way.
Flatt was 12-of-20 for 225 yards and two touchdowns for Ole Miss (3-5, 2-3), which is in serious danger of missing the postseason. The Rebels must beat Arkansas, LSU and Mississippi State just to qualify for their third straight bowl.
Flatt's 64-yard touchdown pass to Bill Flowers pulled the Rebels to 14-7, but Campbell answered with a 9-yard scoring pass to Courtney Taylor.
Ole Miss managed to keep it close in the first half because the Tigers seemed out of sync. Campbell threw seven straight incompletions during one ineffective stretch, and Auburn failed to score on a first-and-goal from the 2.
But Auburn was too fast and too strong for the Rebels, who once again couldn't beat their former coach at home.
Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville hasn't lost in three games as a visitor to Oxford. Tuberville coached at Ole Miss for four years but bolted for Auburn in 1998.