- Associated Press - Saturday, October 31, 2015

AUBURN, Ala. (AP) - Auburn quarterback Sean White played on a gimpy left knee. Leading rusher Peyton Barber wasn’t fully healthy either.

The Tigers overcame those injuries and played well enough to put up a fight against No. 19 Mississippi before losing 27-19 on Saturday.

Even with White’s status uncertain until pre-game warmups, he managed to throw for 258 yards and his first career touchdown, while getting occasional help from ex-starter Jeremy Johnson. Junior college transfer Jovon Robinson ran for 91 yards in his first significant action with Barber limited to eight carries.

Still, Auburn (4-4, 1-4) dropped its second straight after losing to Arkansas in four overtimes.

“We can play with anyone, and I think everybody can see that,” Tigers coach Gus Malzahn said. “We’ve just got to figure out a way to take that next step and get a victory. We’ve been close.”

Laquon Treadwell caught a 21-yard touchdown pass from Chad Kelly in the fourth quarter and Ole Miss kept its Southeastern Conference title hopes alive with the win. It’s the first time the Rebels have beaten both Auburn and Alabama on the road in the same season.

The Rebels (7-2, 4-1 SEC) made two straight defensive stands after grabbing the lead. Kelly hit Treadwell in the end zone with just over 10 minutes left and the league’s leading receiver held onto it even with cornerback Carlton Davis trying to rip the ball out.

Replay officials reviewed the catch and it stood. In last season’s meeting, Treadwell seriously injured his leg on a late pivotal play.

The Rebels defense stood firm, too, after that. The Tigers couldn’t punch it into the end zone after a first down from the 3. Auburn drove across midfield again before failing to convert on fourth down and Ole Miss ran out all but eight seconds.

Rebels coach Hugh Freeze wasn’t about to punt the ball away after recent special teams disasters around college football.

“After watching all the games the last few weeks, I was not going to punt that thing,” Freeze said. “I’ve seen too many bad things happen.”

Treadwell said earlier in the week he wanted to make the Tigers feel some of his pain, and he did. Treadwell had seven catches for 114 yards and completed a 21-yard pass to set up Gary Wunderlich’s third-quarter field goal to snap a 10-10 halftime tie.

Freeze and Treadwell preferred to focus on the task at hand not the past.

“I told him, ‘This game was about us moving one step closer to winning an SEC West (title),’” Freeze said.

The Rebels still control their own destiny in the SEC West. They’re the only team to beat No. 7 Alabama and still play No. 4 LSU. Alabama host LSU next weekend.

The league’s leading offense put up big numbers again.

Kelly completed 33 of 51 passes for 381 yards with two touchdowns and a pair of interceptions while also making plays on runs.

White was 12 of 28 and threw an interception after getting hurt late in the Arkansas game.

He wore a brace on his left knee and was limping at times.

“We didn’t know if he was going to be able to go until pre-game,” Malzahn said. “He’s a champion. He’s not 100 percent but he stayed in there and fought.”

White said he wasn’t fully healthy. “But I felt good enough to go for my teammates and play hard, and I think that I did that,” he said.

Robinson made his first big impact. The highly rated recruit gained 83 of his 91 yards in the second half after not playing in the past four games.

Auburn started defensive end Carl Lawson, who had been out since he suffered a hip injury in the opener.

“We probably had more hits on the quarterback than we did all year,” Malzahn said.


AP College Football: www.collegefootball.ap.org

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