Ole Miss notches historic victory against Auburn

Published 11:27 pm Saturday, October 21, 2023

AUBURN, Ala. (AP) — Ole Miss stayed on track in the Southeastern Conference West Division race, and made a little history in the process.

Jaxson Dart had 246 yards of offense and three touchdowns to help No. 13 Ole Miss beat Auburn 28-21 on Saturday night.

The win marked the first time Ole Miss has beaten Auburn in back-to-back seasons since 1951 and 1952. Ole Miss had also been winless in Jordan-Hare Stadium since 2015.

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The two teams have played each other annually since 1990, but won’t face each other in 2024 as the SEC expands to 16 teams.

“I don’t care what the records are going into it, this place at night is a hard to play at,” Ole Miss coach Lane Kiffin said. “Look at percentages — a lot of people lose in here. For our guys to take over in the second half is awesome.”

Dart led the Rebels (6-1, 3-1 Southeastern Conference) to touchdowns on their first two drives before plunging into the end zone from a yard out on the final play of the third quarter for a 21-14 lead Ole Miss held onto.

“The energy changed on the last play of the third quarter,” Kiffin said. “The fact that we scored and took the air out of the stadium really changed the energy as we headed into the fourth quarter.”

Quinshon Judkins added 124 yards rushing and a fourth-quarter touchdown run for the Rebels. Tre Harris had 102 yards receiving.

As a freshman in 2022, Judkins led the SEC with 120.38 rushing yards per game. He didn’t top 65 yards in any of Ole Miss’ first four games of the season, but the Alabama native now has two 100-yard performances in his last three games.

“I think he’s always something against this state,” Kiffin said. “That was awesome, to see him play that well and play really physically.”

Auburn (3-4, 0-4) answered Ole Miss’ first score with a 53-yard touchdown run from Mississippi native Jarquez Hunter, who finished with 91 yards.

Hugh Freeze’s Tigers tied it at 14 with a 1-yard score from Hunter, taking advantage of a short field that was set up by Donovan Kaufman’s interception.

The teams then combined for 13 consecutive scoreless drives before Ole Miss’ second-half surge. Auburn, which alternated quarterbacks Robby Ashford and Payton Thorne, went three-and-out six times.

Thorne threw an 8-yard touchdown pass to Rivaldo Fairweather with 56 seconds remaining, but Ole Miss recovered the ensuing onside kick to seal it.

“I think our kids played hard,” said Freeze, who was the head coach at Ole Miss from 2012-16. “But I feel like we’ve got to coach them better, and that starts with me.”

Auburn’s offense only generated 275 total yards against Ole Miss. That marked the fourth time in five games against power-conference competition that the Tigers have been held to fewer than 300 yards.

The Tigers entered Saturday ranked No. 111 nationally in total offense against Power 5 opponents.

“Everything is up for evaluation,” Freeze said when asked about potential changes on offense. “It should be, with the numbers we’re putting up.”