Saturday at 11:30 a.m. Duckworth's seventh-ranked Tigers will try to improve their record to 8-1 as they take on the 2-6 Ole Miss Rebels at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium in Oxford.
Duckworth was fired up for his first trip of his senior season back to his home state as Auburn shut out Mississippi State 34-0 in September. The offensive guard says he has no intentions of leaving the football field a loser on Saturday. "To me this is a must-win game," Duckworth says.
"This my Auburn-Alabama game so I take it to heart when I play these guys," the 6-4, 321-pounder adds. "If we don't win I can't go back to Mississippi because all of the people who live where I am from are either Ole Miss or Mississippi State fans."
Duckworth says he doesn't know many current Ole Miss players, but notes, "I have got a whole lot of friends from high school (Taylorsville High) who went there."
An All-SEC candidate who has 17 career starts for the Tigers, he watched last Saturday's 38-13 homecoming victory from the sidelines while Leon Hart filled in for him at right guard. Duckworth was ready to play if needed, but the Tigers controlled the action.
He says the time off enabled him to get back to full speed. "It helped me a lot," he says. "I am just looking forward to the Ole Miss game. I feel like I am ready to roll."
Auburn won last year's game vs. the Rebels 27-3 and the Tigers have won 22 of the 30 games in the series. Saturday's game will be televised regionally by Lincoln Financial Sports network as Auburn tries to keep in the hunt for the SEC West title. The Tigers are 4-1 in the SEC while Arkansas leads the division with a 4-0 mark. The Razorbacks play outside the league this week vs. Louisiana-Monroe.