AP: Auburn 41, Ole Miss 23

AUBURN, Ala. — Mississippi played Auburn even in the first half, and then the third-quarter ills struck again.

The Rebels faltered coming out of the locker room, giving up two touchdowns they couldn't recover from in a 41-23 loss to the Tigers on Saturday night.

Ole Miss (2-6, 0-5 Southeastern Conference) has been outscored 61-0 in the third quarter of the last three games, including losses to No. 2 Alabama and No. 8 Arkansas.

"I don't have an answer," Rebels offensive coordinator David Lee said. "I don't know what's in their head or their hearts and why we're struggling in the third quarter. It's not because coach (Houston) Nutt didn't emphasize it and it's not because I didn't coach it and it's not because they weren't aware of it, but we're not playing well in the third quarter."

The result was another loss in an increasingly frustrating season.

Clint Moseley threw his first four career touchdown passes and Mike Dyer rushed for 177 yards for the Tigers (6-3, 4-2), who bounced back from last week's 35-point humbling by No. 1 LSU.

"I'm really starting to settle into it," said Moseley, who was 12-of-15 passing for 160 yards. "Last week, the whole situation was just really surreal for me. It never really hit me how big it was, because I think it was that big.

"This game was a completely different feel for me, personally."

The Rebels, meanwhile, have now dropped 11 straight league games, adding to their longest string since joining the SEC in 1933. They had rallied to send it into halftime tied at 17-17 before the bottom fell out.

"We're playing the first half trying to set the standard and set the stakes for the game," Ole Miss defensive end Kentrell Lockett said. "We're coming out of halftime, that kind of break, and it's like we're not able to get back to that level."

The Tigers got a boost from the return of leading receiver Emory Blake, who missed the last three games with an ankle injury. He had five catches for 71 yards and a 25-yard touchdown.

"You could see the impact that he has with our offense," Auburn coach Gene Chizik said. "You could see he's still playing a little bit banged up. Clint did a great job of getting the ball where he needed to get it most of the time."

Tight end Philip Lutzenkirchen caught two touchdown passes, including a one-handed snare late in the game.

Auburn has won nine of the last 11 meetings with the Rebels, who couldn't follow up a strong performance in a 29-24 loss to No. 8 Arkansas. They blew a 17-0 lead in that one

The Tigers dominated the third quarter with a 141-22 advantage in total yards. The Rebels gained only 42 yards after halftime before two final drives deep into Auburn territory in the closing 5 minutes.

Ole Miss finished with Randall Mackey's 10-yard touchdown pass to Nickolas Brassell on the final play.

Dyer, who had 27 carries, gained 115 yards in the second half after failing to reach 100 in the previous two games.

"I told him (Friday), ‘Your time's going to come,'" Chizik said.

Moseley got the Tigers going with two first-quarter touchdown passes, including a 45-yarder to Quindarius Carr to make it 14-0. He sparked them again in the third after a Rebels comeback.

The sophomore hit an open Blake in the end zone for the touchdown on a third-and-8 play midway through the quarter. Then Dyer set up his own 4-yard touchdown with a 48-yard scamper down the right sideline and added a field goal early in the fourth.

Lutzenkirchen, who came in tied for fifth nationally among current tight ends with 10 TD catches, had an early 13-yarder and then added a more highlight-worthy 4-yarder.

He almost nonchalantly reached his right hand back for the ball on his way to the end zone.

Mackey was 15-of-27 passing for 157 yards with an interception on a badly underthrown ball downfield. He got 64 of those yards on the final two drives.

"They were not going to let us go deep," Nutt said. "They really made us throw underneath, and he was a little off tonight. He missed some guys that he would normally hit."

The nation's No. 107 rushing attack had a big night. Brandon Bolden ran 13 times for 114 yards and two 1-yard touchdowns and Jeff Scott carried 14 times for 78 yards. The Rebels gained 220 yards on the ground, more than double their season average (108).

Nutt opted not to call time out and force Auburn to punt from deep in its own territory late in the first half, and then called two with the game all but over, drawing boos from Tigers fans.

"We had the momentum (in the first half), and one thing we didn't want to do is fumble the punt right there or have something go (wrong) when we have the momentum," Nutt said. "At the end of the game we were trying to stop them and get the ball."

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