AUBURN | For the first three quarters of Saturday’s game, Auburn’s defense was in complete control.
Ole Miss put together two fourth-quarter touchdown drives against the backups, but the outcome was already decided well before then as the 12th-ranked Tigers go to 3-0 in the conference with a 44-23 win.
“If we had stayed in the game they never would of scored again,” said defensive Marlon Davidson.
Rebel quarterback Shea Patterson was a handful. The sophomore completed 34-of-51 passes for 346 yards and two touchdowns. Auburn, however, limited the Ole Miss rushing attack to just 83 yards on 30 carries.
“We still have a lot of things we need to clean up on,” senior safety Tray Matthews said. “Could of had a little tighter coverage in some situations. We were in zone at the beginning and they had a couple of different zones to throw in behind the linebackers. We did pretty good for the most part.”
Going into the game, Auburn was the only team in the country that hadn’t allowed more than 14 points in one game. That streak ended in the fourth quarter as Ole Miss kept Patterson and most of the starters in for the entire game.
“You could see on the sidelines that we were kind of disappointed,” linebacker Deshaun Davis said. “That was a little swagger that we had about ourselves as the only team in the nation that could hold guys under 14 points.
“I know we had some twos in but that’s no excuse. When you’re on the field on the defensive side of the ball, you have to play Auburn defense.”
Davis, Jamel Dean and Nick Ruffin led Auburn with seven tackles apiece. Derrick Brown had six tackles, 2.0 tackles-for-loss and 0.5 sacks.
No. 12 Auburn (5-1, 3-0 SEC) plays at LSU next Saturday.
“The team executed outstanding defense in the first half of the season, and with that level of performance they can compare to any group in the country. Our defense has an edge about them, and I am thankful they are playing for Auburn,” said Auburn coach Gus Malzahn.