Auburn Hangs On to Beat Ole Miss, 31-24
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November 2, 2002
RB Ronnie Brown
OXFORD, Mississippi (AP) -- Travaris Robinson caught Eli Manning's third interception of the second half in the end zone with 1:52 left Saturday to seal Auburn's 31-24 victory over Mississippi.
Ronnie Brown rushed for 224 yards on 33 carries and three touchdowns for the Tigers (6-3, 4-2 SEC). Brown's third touchdown, a 21-yard run in the third quarter, gave Auburn a 22-17 lead.
The loss was the third straight for the Rebels (5-4, 2-3) and marked their first home loss in six games. Mississippi dropped consecutive SEC road contests to Alabama and Arkansas.
Manning finished 23-of-46 for 284 yards and three touchdowns after going 2-of-9 for nine yards in the opening 20 minutes.
Chris Collins caught all three scoring passes from Manning and finished with eight receptions for 106 yards.
However, the three interceptions proved decisive, as the Tigers padded their SEC-leading total to 18.
Auburn took a 14-0 lead midway through the first half on scoring runs by Brown of 1 and 49 yards. Brown capped consecutive second-quarter scoring drives of 92 and 71 yards and accounted for 152 yards on 16 carries in the first half.
Ole Miss pulled within 14-3 at halftime on a 30-yard field goal by Jonathan Nichols. The Rebels cut it to 14-10 on a 41-yard touchdown pass from Manning to Collins to open the second half.
Auburn came up with a safety for a 16-10 lead, set up by Damon Duval's 45-yard punt that pinned Ole Miss at the 1. On third down, center Ben Claxton stepped on Manning's right foot, forcing him to fall in the end zone.
The Rebels took their only lead, 17-16, on a 12-yard pass from Manning to Collins with 5:11 left in the period. The touchdown was set up by Auburn's only turnover, as Eddie Strong recovered a fumble by tight end Silas Daniels at the Auburn 44.
Auburn's Jason Campbell finished 11-of-21 for 113 yards and one touchdown and didn't throw an interception.
Manning pulled Ole Miss within 31-24 on an 8-yard pass to Collins with 11:17 left.
The Rebels had one final opportunity, moving from their 33-yard line to the Auburn 8 before Robinson's interception sealed the game.