Auburn, Alabama- The Tigers (3-4, 0-4) hung in with a tough Ole Miss (6-1, 3-1) offense, giving the Rebels a run for their money, holding a potent offense to a respectable 28 points. The defense once again tried their best to keep this Auburn team in a game against a scoring machine but the offense's failure to get in a groove after the first quarter took its toll on the defense, leading to a 28-21 defeat.
Running back Jarquez Hunter put togehter an impressive game, carrying the ball for 91 yards on 15 attempts and two touchdowns. Hunter was the workhorse of a sputtering offense. “There are just small things we need to work on as a group," Hunter said. "If we just get those things together, I think those three-and-outs would have been made into first downs."
The two-quarterback approach to the offense once again proved ineffective for 4 quarters. The first quarter was highlighted with an offense we have yet to see in SEC play this year from the Tigers, one that was effective and efficient, scoring one touchdown in the first quarter and again early in the second. However, this well-oiled machine ran out of gas soon after as Auburn threw only 17 times completing 12 of these passes for a total of only 122 yards and two interceptions between the two quarterbacks.
“I don't think that had anything to do with the outcome of the game," Auburn head coach Hugh Freeze said. “I think they both had a really good package. It’d be nice to have one for sure but we are searching to see what the best avenue for us to go to win is”
The Tiger's defense again shined and had some stars as well, Zion Puckett had the first interception of his Auburn career in the first quarter and Donovan Kaufman added an interception returning it to set up an Auburn touchdown via Jarquez Hunter.
Marcus Harris, the Kansas transfer, had a monster night on the defensive line recording a career-high seven total tackles. The defense played a lot of snaps tonight due to the offense's third-down struggles. Harris was quick to support his offense and take responsibility as a defense.
“This is what we train for,” Harris said. "
"We don’t have a problem getting back on the field, we don't use that as an excuse," Freeze added. “We continue to lose the battles on third and fourth down” making it hard to sustain a long drive and keep opposing juggernaut offenses on the sideline.
The defensive secondary looked strong behind the notable return of Keionte Scott who recorded five tackles four of which were solo. Scott played a key part in the defense's holding of Tre Harris to zero first-half receptions, a notable achievement considering Harris is likely the top draft prospect for the Rebels.
“The training staff did a good job of creating a plan and just trusting in it, going to work everyday.” Harris said about his recovery. “I had LSU circled…didn’t get that accomplished, Miss was for sure.”
Harris continued to add that he felt good after the game.
“Those guys bring so much energy and hope to the defense," Marcus Harris eledued to, referring to the return of both Autin Keys and Keionte Scott
The Tigers are back in action next week in Jordan-Hare Stadium as they host the Bulldogs of Mississippi State at 2:30 p.m. looking to begin an easier stretch of their otherwise gauntlet-like schedule. The game is set to be broadcasted on the SEC Network.