For an Auburn offense that has struggled to put first downs together this season, Saturday's game against the Ole Miss Rebels showed some signs of life for the group led by junior quarterback Clint Moseley. Inspiring the unit and playing mistake-free until a fourth quarter interception, Moseley's early throws kept the Rebels off balance and allowed the offense to put together its most impressive drive of the season.
Trailing 14-0 following an awful first quarter, the Tigers took over on their own 26-yard line with 5:39 left in the first quarter and got to work. Following a first down pass from Moseley to Travante Stallworth for 10 yards, Auburn ran the ball for nine, three and 11 yards before a run for no yards left the Tigers in a second and 10. A one-yard pass put the Tigers in a third and nine situation, and it was Moseley's legs that converted as his 10-yard gallop extended the drive.
Three more runs for 25 yards put Auburn at the Ole Miss 10, and following a three-yard loss by Jonathan Wallace, Moseley hit fullback Jay Prosch out of the backfield for eight yards down to the one. Tre Mason took it over the next play for the touchdown on the 13th play of the drive.
On the drive Mason touched the ball five times for a total of 23 yards, showing that when he gets the ball consistently good things happen for the Tigers.
Stick With It
The problem on Saturday and throughout the season has been not sticking with the running game and Mason more often. That was the case against Ole Miss as three different times Mason had runs of at least five yards on first down and failed to touch the ball again as the Tigers went three and out. With a passing game that continues to struggle and turn the ball over too much, grinding out yards is the best possible solution for Auburn's offense and Mason is the key to making that happen for the Tigers.
In the first half of the Ole Miss game, Auburn's offense gained 153 yards with Mason touching the ball 13 times for 46 yards on the ground. The final 30 minutes of action the Tigers managed just 60 yards of total offense. Of that 60 Mason had 36 yards on his only five carries.
Corey Lemonier tries to track down an Ole Miss runner, but can't break away.
Speed Is Killing The Tigers
Auburn's defense showed some signs of life against LSU and played much better in spurts against Arkansas the next time out, but when faced with an offense that uses speed in the backfield, along with a running threat at quarterback, the Tigers couldn't get the job done.
Jitterbug running back Jeff Scott torched the Tigers for 137 rushing yards on 21 carries and also caught three passes out of the backfield for 70 yards and a huge touchdown in the fourth quarter. Quarterback Bo Wallace added two rushing scores as well to continue a trend of Auburn's defense not getting the job done against spread offenses that put an emphasis on running the ball.
Fourth Quarter Blues
It's becoming a broken record, but Auburn's failures in the fourth quarter are becoming monumental. Outscored 17-0 by Ole Miss on Saturday, the Tigers were outgained 149-4 by the home team in the final 30 minutes. For the season Auburn trails its opponents 62-3 in fourth quarter scoring. Until the Tigers change their fourth quarter ways, this team will continue to struggle to win games.