The No. 19 Ole Miss Rebels (7-2, 4-1 SEC) put together a strong second half on the road to keep their SEC championship game hopes alive Saturday afternoon at Auburn (4-4, 1-4). A pair of explosive scoring plays off the arm of Ole Miss quarterback Chad Kelly to Derrick Jones and Laquon Treadwell led Ole Miss to a 27-19 victory.
This was a special game for Treadwell of course. Last season Treadwell’s season came to a painful end against the Tigers when he broke his leg trying to reach for a score. He has had some time to think about his next game against Auburn, and it may have been worth the wait. Treadwell hauled in six passes for 93 yards before delivering the knockout blow, in the fourth quarter, on a 21-yard touchdown catch. He ended his game with seven catches for 114 yards, his fourth consecutive game with at least 100 yards receiving.
Kelly completed 33 of his 51 pass attempts for 381 yards and two touchdowns, with two intercepted passes. Damore’ea Stringfellow caught eight passes for 71 yards to serve as a nice complement to Treadwell’s production. The leading receiver in the game though played on the losing side of the football. Ricardo Louis led all players with 137 receiving yards, including a 47-yard touchdown catch that slipped by the Ole Miss defense over the middle of the field in the first half. That gave Auburn a 10-3 lead at the time, but the Rebels regained some momentum later in the first half and continued using it to their advantage in the second half.
Ole Miss has now won two straight games since tripping up on the road at Memphis a few weeks ago. The Rebels are still also in position to win the SEC West, although it must finish strong and take care of their own schedule to continue making a trip to Atlanta a possibility. That backend of the schedule still includes a game against LSU after a bye week and a road trip to rival Mississippi State in the Egg Bowl. Still, Ole Miss holds a head-to-head tiebreaker over Alabama, which could come in handy. Alabama faces LSU next week in a game Ole Miss fans will be paying very close attention to.
Auburn is now faced with a rather difficult path to the postseason, which would be a shocking development to those who hyped the Tigers leading into the season. The Tigers make a visit to Kyle Field next Saturday to take on the Texas A&M Aggies and then return home the following week to face Georgia. Assuming a win in either would be unwise, but the next-to-last game against Idaho should be a win. That could, hypothetically, mean Auburn will have to beat Alabama in the Iron Bowl in the final game of the season in order to clinch bowl eligibility. Auburn needs to win two of their final four games in order to meet the NCAA minimum victories to qualify for a bowl game.