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October 13, 2012

AUBURN FOOTBALL: Rebels use 4th-quarter spree to keep Tigers winless in SEC

OXFORD, Miss. — The fourth quarter woes of the Auburn Tigers showed up again Saturday.

Mississippi, with a 17-point blitz in the fourth quarter, defeated Auburn 41-20, snapping a 16-game Southeastern Conference losing streak. The Tigers (1-5, 0-4) have been outscored 62-3 in the fourth quarter this season and have lost six consecutive SEC games.

“This team is very disappointed. At that point in time, we had the game in hand, only down by seven (27-20), but we could not get a stop,” Auburn coach Gene Chizik said. “We have to get back to it next week and try to get our first SEC win.”

The Rebels (4-2, 1-2) got a decisive performance from quarterback Bo Wallace, who scored four touchdowns receiving, passing and rushing. He accounted for 290 of the 451 total offense yards, including 17 of 22 for 226 passing yards, but most importantly to Mississippi head coach Hugh Freeze, no turnovers.

“No turnovers. Bo protected the ball and no turnovers,” Freeze said. “We felt like we could move it and be effective. Bo made the plays and was efficient.

“Our defense was great in the second half.”

Wallace caught a 25-yard scoring pass on a throwback from running back Randall Mackey, scored on runs of 1 and 2 yards, respectively, and delivered the game clincher, a 55-yard scoring pass to Jeff Scott with 5:02 left

The Tigers, tied at halftime 17-17, were within striking distance, pulling within 24-20 on the second of Cody Parkey’s two field goals, a 36-yard kick with 4:38 left in the third quarter. Ole Miss answered with 17 fourth quarter points while Auburn had only one first down in its final five possessions.

The fourth quarter outburst was highlighted by the 55-yard strike to Scott, who was apparently tackled by linebacker Ashton Richardson at the Auburn 42-yard line after a short gain. Instead, Scott rolled through the attempted tackle without touching the ground and raced the remaining distance for the touchdown that built an insurmountable 34-20 lead.

Scott finished with 137 rushing yards on 21 attempts and added 70 receiving yards on three catches. Auburn’s Tre Mason had 18 carries for 82 rushing yards, including first half touchdown runs of 1 and 6 yards.

Auburn quarterback Clint Moseley was 11 of 18 for 112 yards, but struggled in the second half, connecting on 3 of 10 for 22 yards. The Tigers finished with 213 total yards, but only 60 in the second half.

“We’re not changing anything,” said Chizik when asked about his postgame message to his players. “We’re going to go back and work harder to get better.”

The loss was a serious blow to the postseason hopes of the Tigers, but Chizik did not offer to speculate on that possibility. “We’re just looking forward to the next opportunity to play and win a game. That’s it. We’re just taking it one day at a time.”

Mike Marry led the Rebel defenders with six tackles, a sack and an interception in the final four minutes that set up Wallace’s final touchdown run with 3:26 left. Auburn linebacker Darren Bates led all tacklers with 16, including two for a loss.

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