Damore'ea Stringfellow

AP

No. 15 Auburn runs through Ole Miss for 5th straight win

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Neither team stopped the other in the first half, but Auburn’s defense eventually grabbed ahold of Ole Miss’s offense in the second half. Auburn’s offense never stopped churning.

As a result, the 15th-ranked Tigers topped the Rebels 40-29 in Oxford, securing Auburn’s fifth straight win and continuing their status as one of this season’s most improved teams.

This game was won where the others were for Auburn — on the ground. Kamryn Pettway led the charge, carrying 30 times for 236 hard-fought yards and a touchdown. Kerryon Johnson added 11 carries for 42 yards and two scores, and as a team the Tigers rushed 52 times for 307 yards. Combined with quarterback Sean White‘s 15-of-22 passing for 247 yards and a touchdown, Auburn ripped off 554 total yards on 7.49 yards per play.

After trailing 22-20 at the break, Auburn (6-2, 4-1 SEC) took the lead on a 75-yard drive that was mostly all White. He rushed for a 16-yard gain on 3rd-and-13, found Marcus Davis the next snap for a 33-yard connection, then hit Jalen Harris for a 15-yard score.

Ole Miss answered with a 75-yard drive of its own, ended by a 10-yard pass from Chad Kelly to Damore'ea Stringfellow to stake the Rebels back to a 29-27 lead, but that would be their only score of the half. Daniel Carlson knocked in two fourth quarter field goals — he was four for four on the night — to give Auburn the lead and a cushion, and Johnson put the game away with a 3-yard plunge with 5:58 remaining.

The Rebels’ (3-5, 1-4 SEC) porous defense wasted an all-timer of an effort from its mercurial quarterback. Kelly connected on 36-of-59 passes for a school-record 465 yards with three touchdowns and one interception while rushing 11 times for a team-high 40 yards. The rest of the Rebels’ offense accounted for only 65 yards on 20 carries.

No. 19 Ole Miss blows 21-point lead in shootout loss to No. 1 Alabama

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Hugh Freeze has accomplished a lot of things in his four-plus seasons at Ole Miss. He’s the only Rebels coach to beat Alabama two years in a row. Last year he became the first coach since Houston Nutt in 1998 to beat Alabama, Auburn and LSU in the same season. Today, he became the first SEC coach to build a 21-point lead over a Nick Saban-led Alabama team.

Those were nice moments, but that’s all they were. Moments. The back-to-back ‘Bama bashings failed to translate into a single SEC West title, and Saturday’s 21-point edge was erased as quickly as it came as Freeze’s 19th-ranked Rebels watched a 24-3 second quarter lead turn into a 48-43 loss to No. 1 Alabama.

After racing 75 yards in their first possession for a touchdown, Ole Miss nursed a 10-3 lead when Chad Kelly found Evan Engram for a 63-yard touchdown to push the lead to 14 with 4:40 to play in the first half. The Rebels’ defense ended the ensuing possession when Breeland Speaks sacked and stripped Jalen Hurts, and John Youngblood grabbed the loose ball and returned it 44 yards for a touchdown. The score stood despite Speaks hitting Hurts in the targeting area and blocking an Alabama player in the back before Youngblood crossed the goal line.

Rather than knock out Hurts, however, the fumble seemed to ignite Hurts — and the rest of Alabama’s roster. Hurts guided the Tide on a 3-play, 50-yard touchdown drive to pull within 24-10 just 30 seconds after Ole Miss pushed the lead to 21 points and, after a three-and-out, Eddie Jackson returned a punt 85 yards for a deficit-halving touchdown just a minute and five seconds later.

Alabama opened the scoring in the second half when Ryan Anderson sacked Kelly at his own 6-yard line and Da’Ron Payne recovered the loose pigskin for a touchdown. Hurts, who played like a true freshman for the majority of the first half, passed and threw for most of Alabama’s 51-yard field goal drive on the Tide’s next possession, but Ole Miss knotted the score with an 18-yard Gary Wunderlich field goal at the 1:47 mark of the third quarter.

Damien Harris, quiet for most of the season to that point, burst for a 67-yard rush on Alabama’s next possession, and Bo Scarborough gave Alabama the lead on a 1-yard plunge with 16 ticks left in the third.

Another Wunderlich field goal pulled the Rebels within 34-30, but Hurts (158 passing yards and a game-high 146 rushing) again engineered a touchdown drive, starting with a 41-yard run on the first play of the possession. Leading now 41-30, Alabama allowed the Rebels to push to their own 20-yard line when defensive end Jonathan Allen turned a quarterback pressure into a 75-yard pick-six, giving Alabama a 48-30 lead with 5:28 to play.

Ole Miss, though, responded. The Rebels moved 78 yards in 12 plays, capped by a five-yard strike from Kelly to Damore'ea Stringfellow, to pull within 48-37 with 2:59 remaining, and scored one play later when, after recovering an onside kick, Kelly (421 passing yards, three touchdowns) found A.J. Brown for a 37-yard touchdown. A 48-30 runaway had morphed into a 48-43 thriller — the Rebels’ two-point try failed after a bad shotgun snap sent the play off kilter — in two-and-a-half minutes.

The game would not flip completely, however, as Ole Miss could not force Alabama to surrender the ball over the final 2:51.

For Alabama (3-0), the win provides some actual adversity after Saban spent a week trying to create his own following wins by a combined 90-16 in the Tide’s first two games. Ironically, the win marks Alabama’s first victorious 21-point rally since Oct. 7, 1989, when the Tide turned a 21-0 hole into a 62-27 defeat of Ole Miss.

Ole Miss (1-2) saw its second loss follow a near identical script to the first. The Rebels opened the season by watching a 28-6 lead turn into a 45-34 loss to Florida State and now, two weeks later, witnessed a 24-3 edge turn into a 48-43 defeat.

Ole Miss strikes quickly, loses DB Ken Webster to gruesome leg injury

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In the final giant matchup of the greatest opening weekend in college football history, Ole Miss struck first with a quick touchdown drive led by quarterback Chad Kelly, but the major development in the first few minutes of the Camping World Kickoff in Orlando is the awful leg injury suffered by Ole Miss defensive back Ken Webster.

I’ll do you the courtesy of skipping any Vines or GIFs or any other visual of the injury. Let’s just say, his left leg is not supposed to bend that way. ESPN aired the replay of the injury once, and that was more than enough for most of the viewing audience. ESPN went to commercial as Webster was attended to on the field and when they came back from commercial there was a shot of Webster in agony and emotional disbelief that reminds you just how human these star athletes can be. At the same time, he was being carted off and dealing with the reality of the injury, Webster maintained his veteran role on the Ole Miss defense and yelled instructions or motivation to his teammates about to resume playing.

We’ll wait for more information on the injury, but it is very safe assumption to suggest he is going to be missing some considerable playing time as a result.

Ole Miss moved quickly down the field on the opening possession of the game, driving 75 yards on six plays. The key plays were a 36-yard pass from Kelly to Evan Engram, which was followed a few plays later by a penalty on Florida State’s Derwin James for unnecessary roughness, a late hit on Van Jefferson following a three-yard loss on a pass play that took the receiver to his knee. Kelly completed a short touchdown pass to Damore'ea Stringfellow to cap the touchdown drive.

Ole Miss is leading Florida State, 7-0, midway through the first quarter.