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Auburn Downs Ole Miss! (Grading Auburn’s 44–23 win over Mississippi)

By on October 8th, 2017 in Football, News 23 Comments »

Rebel Scum Can’t Stop Kerryon Johnson!
(John Reed-USA TODAY Sports)

     War Eagle everybody! It’s time now for the Acid Reign Report on Auburn’s 44–23 home win over the Ole Miss Rebels. Last week, Auburn used the deep passing game to run out to a big lead. This week, it wasn’t necessary as a dormant running game awoke, and Auburn was able to grind out considerable yardage on the ground and via short passes against a backed-off Ole Miss defense. On offense, Ole Miss was able to complete pass after pass but kept bogging down in the red zone. Auburn ripped out to a 35–3 halftime lead and coasted home from there.

     We are now halfway through Auburn’s football season, and the Tigers are 5 wins versus 1 loss and undefeated in the SEC. Auburn has wins of 37, 39 and, now, 21 points over SEC rivals. Auburn will face formidable tests in the coming weeks, traveling to Baton Rouge next weekend to take on LSU. Fortunately, that will be the CBS afternoon headliner, and Auburn will have a great chance to take down LSU in the bayou for the first time since 1999. A road trip to slumping Arkansas follows, then a bye week and another road trip to Texas A&M. A lot of folks had written the Aggies off, but they surely gave Alabama all it wanted last night.

Auburn finishes its season in November with 3 straight “amen corner” games at Jordan-Hare Stadium.

     Auburn continues to introduce new facets to an offense that was stagnant early this year but has been getting stronger and stronger. Ole Miss played a lot of Tampa-2 zone defense, determined not to allow Auburn to burn it with long passes. The Rebels paid a price for that with only 6 defenders in the box. The Auburn running game gashed Ole Miss for 326 yards, with over 200 coming in the first half. When Auburn threw the ball, it was carving up a secondary underneath. Numbers fell off a bit in the second half as Auburn was content just to run the ball up the middle and use as much clock as possible with the big lead.

     A couple of Auburn offensive players this week really caught my eye. The first was running back Kerryon Johnson. Still hobbled a bit by a hamstring injury, Kerryon had a career day with 204 yards on the ground and a couple of receptions for 23 yards. What doesn’t show on the stat sheet was some great blitz pickup on Johnson’s part, too. The first defender never gets Johnson down. Johnson can run over them, or around them, every time. Then, I have to tip my hat to Austin Golson on the line. He was playing left tackle at the start of this game, then had to move in to play left guard after Mike Horton was banged up. This season, Golson started at center, then moved to right tackle, then left tackle, and finished yesterday at guard. A lot of guys can’t even play one position on the line well. Golson has done it all! My favorite play that Golson had yesterday was on Ryan Davis’ 75-yard quick screen catch and run. At tackle, Golson was able to sprint all the way to the sideline and bury Davis’ defender on a reach block. That pass gains nothing if not for Golson.

     Defensively, Auburn took a bit of a step back against probably the best receiving corps the Tigers have seen this season. Ole Miss was able to protect quarterback Shea Patterson, and he methodically carved up the Auburn secondary, which had to make tackle after tackle. Ole Miss attempted 51 passes on the day, and Auburn managed 1 sack and 4 quarterback hurries. Where Ole Miss got nothing done was on the ground. Auburn held the Rebels to just 83 rushing yards.

     Special teams highlights included 3 field goals in the second half to account for all of Auburn’s scoring after halftime. Daniel Carlson became the all-time scoring leader in SEC history, passing Georgia’s Blair Walsh. Carlson still has at least 7 more games to pile on the points, too! Noah Igbinoghene had the first long kickoff return Auburn has managed in a while, starting the 3rd quarter with a big 70-yard return that got Auburn off to a good start.

Unit grades after the jump!

Defensive Line: B+. The highlight of line play in this game was the play of tackle Derrick Brown. Ole Miss had to double team him, and even then it had had to roll the quarterback away from Brown as he was really disruptive. Brown had 6 tackles on the day, including 2 of Auburn’s 3 tackles for loss. The message, I think, was for the line to slide and contain and not allow Ole Miss to get around the corner, and for the most part, I think they were successful. The longest Ole Miss run of the day was 26 yards, and it came in the 4th quarter against the Auburn scout team. The defensive line contributed 15 total tackles.

Linebackers: A-. The Auburn linebackers continue to do a good job of filling lanes and hunting the football down. We got to see a bit of Tré Williams back in the game, which was good to see, as the unit soldiered on. Deshaun Davis tied for the lead in tackles with 7. Linebackers were credited with 27 total tackles.

Secondary: C+. The starters in this one played decently, the reserves not so much. Last week, Auburn broke up lots of passes. This week, Nick Ruffin, Jamel Dean, Stephen Roberts and Carlton Davis had 1 pass breakup each. Ole Miss completed 34 passes in this game, which meant a lot of tackling work for the Tigers on the back end.

Punting: B. New punter Aidan Marshall punted 3 times for 41.0 yards, an average improvement of over 4 yards per punt against last week’s average. However, one touchback on a punt brought the net down to just 34 yards. Marshall hit the ball pretty high and did not allow a punt return.

Punt Returns: B. On 6 Ole Miss punts, Stephen Roberts made 3 good fair catches and returned a couple for 9 yards. Roberts took a vicious hit to the head on one return but shook it off admirably. Roberts hasn’t broken anything big this year, but he has fielded most punts and prevented punters from piling up “rolling yardage.” Roberts is a key piece in the field position battle thus far.

Kick Returns: A. Noah Igbinoghene has established himself as a serious threat in the return game with 2 returns for 87 yards, including a 70-yarder to start the second half. I expect that we will see teams start to kick away from him in the future.

Place Kicking: A+. Daniel Carlson hit all 3 of his field goal attempts and all of his extra points. Carlson has not missed an extra point in his entire career. Carlson also boomed 7 of 9 kickoffs for touchbacks. On the season, Carlson has 37 touchbacks on 43 kickoffs.

Offensive Line: A. I felt like the line improved dramatically in recent weeks in pass protection, but this week it took another step forward in terms of run blocking. Even into the second team, this unit kept the Ole Miss line off of Auburn runners. Kerryon Johnson averaged 7.2 yards per carry, Kam Martin averaged 5.6, Malik Willis 8.0, and Devan Barrett 5.0. And, Eli Stove averaged 18 yards per carry on a couple of speed sweeps. That’s some good run blocking to compile those numbers.

Running Backs: A. With Kerryon Johnson getting healthier, numbers are trending up. Auburn piled up 326 rushing yards on the Rebels and pretty much had its way on the line of scrimmage. With both running and passing games clicking, Auburn shapes up to be one of the most dangerous offensive teams in the SEC.

Receivers: A-. I counted off for a couple of dropped passes this week, but both drops were with the game well in hand. Yards per catch were down in this game, but that was by design on Ole Miss’ part. Six different receivers caught balls in this one.

Quarterback: A. The passing game wasn’t featured as much in this game, but Jarrett Stidham did hit 14 of 21 passes for 11.2 yards per pass. The torrid completion percentage of recent weeks was down a bit this week. Stidham’s average was hurt by a couple of dropped balls, and Stidham also threw a couple of balls away. That is the right thing to do, protecting a big lead. No turnovers for Stidham and the passing game this week. Halfway through the regular season, Stidham has hit 99 of 139 passes, with 7 touchdowns and only 2 interceptions. Stidham has 1,345 passing yards and is averaging 9.7 yards per pass.

     I’ve seen some grumbling about Auburn giving up 23 points in this game, but I can’t be unhappy about a 3-touchdown blowout of Ole Miss. A few weeks ago, I was wondering how Auburn would get to 6 wins and a bowl game. After a shaky, turnover-plagued homecoming, Auburn has beaten 3 SEC teams by the combined score of 144 to 47. These are good times!

     Next week, I see a great effort on the way from LSU. The purple tigers got waxed at Mississippi State and beaten on homecoming by Troy. But, yesterday in Gainesville, they toughed out a win against the luckiest team in football. This gives the bayou Tigers hope for the future. Personally, I think they will find Auburn’s defense a big problem. LSU relies on a lot of presnap shifting and motion. Auburn has seen a good bit of that already and hasn’t seemed fazed. If Auburn can avoid turnovers and give a good effort, I think the crowd can be quieted and a successful day had in Baton Rouge.


  1. ATL_AU_FAN ATL_AU_FAN says:

    I’m with you, Acid, in that the 23 points are of no real concern. The true starters only gave up 10 of those points (I think) with the remainder coming while Auburn was on “cruise control” and playing a lot of new faces. Getting these younger and less experienced guys some playing time far outweighs the points Ole Miss scored in the second half. Auburn’s coaches knew the game was well in hand, IMO, and utilized the second half to their advantage.

    If you were not at the game on Saturday, Auburn held a Military Appreciation Day complete with a flyover that sounded AUsome but couldn’t actually be seen due to the extremely low cloud cover.

    But, putting the win and the flyover aside, the halftime show was amazing and brought tears to the eyes and “goose bumps” to the arms. Check out the link and, if you did witness it in person, take another look – it’s worth it.

    As always — It’s Great to be an Auburn Tiger…


    • ATL_AU_FAN ATL_AU_FAN says:

      And the way early opening betting line has Auburn as a 6-point favorite heading into Baton Rouge to take on the Bengal Tigers of LSU…

      What does this mean? Absolutely nothing. Vegas makes an attempt to have an even number of bets on each side with the intent being making their money from the VIG.

      But, it is still nice to be the “favorite” on the road!


    • Acid Reign Acid Reign says:

      …..I’ve been to a couple of those “military appreciation days,” in recent years. I get chills on the flyovers, and they’ve had guys parachute into the stadium. I was envious, though, listening to Eli Gold on the radio driving around, after the game. Apparently at College Station, they had 4 A-10 warthogs fly over. I’ve never seen one, live!

      • sullivan013 sullivan013 says:

        I actually have seen an A-10, only on the wrong end.

        When I was a tank commander during force on force training maneuvers in the mid-80s our CO led us onto a bluff at Fort Carson with no safe path down other than the way we came up. While we were turning around and trying to do so all 14 tanks were pounced on by a couple of A-10s on the OPFOR side who repeatedly banked and did gun runs on us, over and over.

        It left little wonder why the Soviets always referred to them as ‘the Devil’s Cross’ (for their appearance on the horizon as they turn to hit you again).

  2. War_Eagle_2010 War_Eagle_2010 says:

    I would be more worried about LSU if they had lost the Florida game. I think they were able to get there frustration out on them and will settle back into what we’ve see the first 5 weeks. In any case Florida is pretty bad too so it’s not that impressive.

    Still, Baton Rouge has been a tough nut to crack….

  3. ATL_AU_FAN ATL_AU_FAN says:

    I concur — As worried as I am about visiting Death Valley, I would be more worried if LSU had lost to Florida. I hope I am wrong, but I don't see this game as being "easy" in any manner. Why do I feel this way? LSU now has some level of confidence, a win on the road, some degree of momentum, etc. and they get to host AU…

    I just don't know —

    We are flying down Friday morning to NOLA and then taking a shuttle from there to the game and back.
    We don't fly back to ATL until Monday morning so really pleased with the afternoon kickoff. For those who have not been to DV, the night time games are the absolute worst.

    BUT, if AU takes care of business as they should, then we will stay on track–

    As aways — War Eagle!!

  4. sparkey sparkey says:

    What bothers me about Saturday is the play calling in the second half. I felt the change and I felt Gus coming back. I realize we had it won, but he still stepped back in and started meddling. At this point, I think he will give it back to Lindsey but he broke the timing off the blocking schemes the way he took over again.

    The offense we run is predicated a great deal on the timing of our blocking schemes. Once you get a dancer out of their rhythm, it is incredible difficult for them to find it again. In this case, you have multiple dancers trying to find their rhythm again. I just don’t like it. Gus needs to continue to let it go and watch the offense do its thing.

    • AubieCE AubieCE says:

      Here is $0.25 buy yourself a clue.
      That or some new glasses if you can’t see CCL is calling the plays.
      The game was in hand, no need to just RUTS for RUTS.

      • sparkey sparkey says:

        Here is $.50 and you can bugger off. If you don’t like what I , then just pay me no attention. That would be much more beneficial than your underroos being in such a twist that you are so angry. I am not going anywhere so how about you take some chill pills and calm down some. I have been here a long time and I am here to stay.

    • jlobailey says:

      Ridiculous. Can we not just congratulate our team and coaching staff on a great win? If you hate CGM and ADJJ so much, go buy a crimson jersey.

      • sparkey sparkey says:

        I support Auburn University. I love Auburn University. I have no allegiance to Gus or especially Jay Jacobs. Just because somebody isn’t a Jay Jacobs fan or a Gus fan, it certainly is a leap of logic to think they are a Bammer. I hate Bammer with every fiber of my being. I want them to lose at anything they do from the moment they wake up until the time they turn out the lights. I don’t trust Gus and Jay Jacobs needs to be out of the AD for sure. He is becoming a farce.

        Again, I didn’t like the play calling in the second half. I thought we toned it down way too much and we ran Kerryon too many times. I love to see the backups get playing time! That’s a great thing! That said, let the backups get to run the actual offense and not Zone Read half back dive behind Braden twice then have Jarrett pass it. Let the backups have free reign to run the dang offense.

        I will say this much, I am happy to have this kind of problem. When you have this kind of issue, that’s a good thing because it means you are so far ahead it is hard to know exactly how to manage things without running up the score on the other team. Again, I love Jarrett and Kamryn (both of them) Kyle and Nate. I love Braden and Austin along with Will and Ryan. I treasure Marlon and Jeff along with Deshaun and Montavious. I get joy watching a huge kid named Nick who wrestles and another named Derrick who left Georgia and turned down the yellow flying submarine.

        If you want some classics, my earliest memories are of watching Sir Charles and Bo Jackson as a child. Patrick was my hero the way he could come in and take down Bama in 93 like he did. Dameyune was my favorite in the mid to late 90s and coming up short against Peyton Manning like we did in the SEC championship game meant I would never pull for Mr. Manning. I have loved the running backs taught so expertly by Eddie Gran and now presently Tim Horton. I hangout with Shannon Shuttle on a weekly basis and talk to Coach Joe Whitt sometimes at the Torch where you can always find Pat Fayne Die if you get there early enough in the morning. I even had a soft spot for Markeith Kooper and enjoying the way he looked like a lizard on the field.

        My all time favorite player was Jason Miska whom I consider to be the emotional spark plug for that underrated 93 defense! Jimmy Brumbaugh was another favorite of mine, though God bless him, his knees were completely destroyed. Rudi Johnson was yet another one along with Rodney Daniels. Daniels is one of only two receivers to ever gain 1000 yards receiving along with Terry Beasley at Auburn by the way. I could keep going for a lot longer than this.

        The point I am making here: I support those guys and the school. I went to the school. I owe no allegiance to Gus or Jay Jacobs, however. I love Auburn. I owe them nothing.

    • Third Generation Tiger Third Generation Tiger says:

      In addition to the reasons you cite, taking the foot of the gas in the second half left many in the media with the impression that there was something wrong with Auburn’s offensive and Auburn’s defense. Now if these media types would educate themselves they would know what really happened but we know that they won’t. If ‘04 taught us anything it would be that you can’t take your foot off of the gas.

      • sparkey sparkey says:

        THANK YOU!

        • friedca friedca says:

          To be fair college football is in a bit of a different place than it was in 04 because of what happened to us then. If we win out (I hate looking ahead like this) and we win the SEC Champ there is no way we are left out. Especially when our only lose would be to the defending champions. Control is in our hands no matter what the final score at the end of the game, as long as its a W.

          I don’t think it is a terrible thing to take the foot off the gas and put some back ups in for some good playtime. I did have a problem keeping KJ and JS in so long. If Gus has taken his hands off the offense then he is now managing the bigger picture, and the bigger picture is we need those guys healthy. Keeping them in halfway through the 4th was poor decision making.

          • jlobailey says:

            Right– if anything, the backups needed to be put in sooner. Especially if we were trying to run the clock out. I thought the Rebs actually matched up favorably against AU. Their WR’s are all huge and athletic, and they have an exceptional Quarterback. Our biggest weakness is out secondary. SO… all things considered, I was tickled pink with how the game played out– all four quarters.

        • Third Generation Tiger Third Generation Tiger says:

          Some of those guys look for any reason they can find to devalue a team. I say when the chance presents itself, take those excuses away from them. Remove all doubt, then ease up that team you are so handily beating. In my opinion it seemed like we eased up a little too soon. Other than that I thought the coaching staff did an outstanding job.

  5. Tiger4Life says:

    2nd toughest road test of the year so far coming up… Poise and Determination needed! Fortunately, DEFENSE travels…
    War Eagle!

  6. […] in last Saturday’s blowout of Ole Miss, running back Kerryon Johnson had a career day rushing for 204 yards and three touchdowns while […]