Auburn game sparks fire in Ole Miss wide receiver

Laquon Treadwell hasn’t had the Auburn game circled on his calendar for a year.

For a few days? Sure.

Treadwell didn’t realize the Tigers were the next opponent until well after Ole Miss took down Texas A&M. But on Sunday, when the team held its weekly “hard truth” meeting, all the emotions of the last year came storming back.

And he’s ready to play.

“They’re going to feel my pain,” he said. “I’m going to play my hardest and play with my heart, like I did last week. My team will do the same. We’re looking to get a ‘W’.”

Treadwell suffered a broken fibula and dislocated ankle at the end of the Auburn game last season. The play, a 19-yard catch, was initially ruled a touchdown. Replay proved otherwise, and Ole Miss was ultimately dealt one of the most agonizing losses in school history.

Gone was Treadwell, the engine that drove the Ole Miss offense, as well the Rebels’ national and SEC title hopes. They had entered the game No. 4 in the initial College Football Playoff rankings.

“It brings the fire to me, honestly,” he said. “Sunday, (Ole Miss head) coach (Hugh) Freeze was talking in the meeting, and he wasn’t even talking about Auburn. But it was in the back of my head, and I started feeling it Sunday after last week’s game. I’ll have an extra edge to me. I’ll play with an edge. I know my teammates will feel me all week, and they’ll feel where I’m coming from. I think they’ll play with an edge also.

“I didn’t even know we played them this week until after the A&M game. Once I found out, it sparked a fire in me, a drive. I don’t know where it came from, but I’m going to be ready to play. All my teammates know it.”

Auburn linebacker Kris Frost and defensive back Jonathan Jones were credited with tackling Treadwell, the SEC leader in receptions per game (6.8) and receiving yards per game (94.5). The preseason All-American has caught 54 passes for 756 yards and five touchdowns.

Treadwell said Frost, who adjusted off his blitz assignment to pull Treadwell down from behind, reached out a couple of days later to wish him well and let him know he’ll be praying for him.

“I really don’t have a real relationship with those guys outside of talking to them after my injury,” Treadwell said. “If I see them, I’ll say what’s up to them or whatever. But I’m there to win the game.

“SEC West title. Nothing else to really be talked about. Auburn is another opponent in the way. Our team still has our goals ahead of us. We’re hungry for another win, so we’ll attack practice this week and go out and compete.”

Ole Miss is 6-2 (3-1 SEC) on the year and very much in control of its own destiny. If the Rebels win each of their last four games, they’ll punch their ticket to Atlanta, Ga., for their first-ever SEC championship game appearance, and they'll keep their playoff hopes alive.

But they’ll have to go through Auburn (4-3, 1-3 SEC) first. Sound familiar?

“It’s the same situation,” Treadwell said. “Our title hopes can get dashed if we lose this game. It’s not just me that’s going to be putting all my effort into the game, the whole team will. If they beat us, they’ll have to beat us fighting. I don’t think that’s possible if we all go out there and we play together like we did this last weekend.”

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