Editor’s note: Each week this football season, Auburn University Journalism Instructor and The Auburn Plainsman Adviser Austin Phillips will break down the greatest games against that week’s opponent or notable games in that week’s history (for previous weeks, go here) Break it down, Austin.
Although Auburn owns the series with Ole Miss 27-9, the Tigers don’t own anything this season. Case in point, this is the first time in series history that the Tigers are the Rebels’ homecoming opponent. The Tigers have taken the last three in the series, but reeling from a 1-4 record and inconsistent offensive play, Ole Miss head coach Hugh “Mr.” Freeze will look to confuse the AU offense and play keep away with the AU defense. But until then, we’ll look back at some of the glory days in the series that once opened the first month of the season for 12 years in a row.
No. 5: Jan. 1, 1971 — Jacksonville, Fla.
Ole Miss 28
Pat Sullivan passed for 351 yards, including 143 to receiver Terry Beasley, as the Tigers improved to 9-2 on the season with the Gator Bowl victory over the Rebels and finishing 12th in the AP Poll and 5th in the UPI Poll. The Rebels, led by Archie Manning, had a chance to score with just over a minute remaining in the game, but an Ole Miss fumble ended the Rebels’ chance at tying the game. Despite the Tigers opening a 21-0 lead, the Rebels pulled the game to 21-14 at the half behind the stingy Ole Miss defense. Sullivan threw two first-quarter touchdowns, but the Rebel defense stopped the Tigers three times in the game inside the 5-yard line. Although missed opportunities plagued the Tigers following the first quarter, Sullivan was able to lead Auburn to a record-breaking performance in Jacksonville.
No. 4: Sept. 9, 2000 — Oxford, Miss.
Ole Miss 27
In the second game of the season, David Cutcliffe’s Ole Miss Rebels entered the season as the No. 19 team in the country. Despite Deuce McAllister’s 257-yard all-purpose effort, the Tigers were able to hang on to win the first SEC contest of the season. The win proved to be a deciding factor in leading the Tigers to their second SEC Western Division title in four years.
No. 3: Oct. 29, 1932 — Montgomery
Ole Miss 7
Chet Wynne’s 9-0-1 Tigers played one of the closest games of the ’32 season against the Rebels in Montgomery. During the ’32 Southern Conference Championship season, the Tigers tied South Carolina in the final game in Birmingham, 20-20, but came within a touchdown of losing only three other times during the season, including the Ole Miss matchup Oct. 29. The Tigers outscored opponents 275-54 during the championship run.
No. 2: Sept. 2, 1993 — Auburn
Ole Miss 12
The Tigers used a defensive stand in the fourth quarter to open the season with a win at home against the Rebels. The win proved to be a huge stepping stone for the unranked Tigers, who reeled off 10 more consecutive wins en route to an undefeated 11-0 season. The loss was the beginning of the end for Ole Miss head coach Billy Brewer, who was dismissed at the end of the season due to “unethical conduct.” He was replaced by Tommy Tuberville.
No. 1: Oct. 7, 1972 — Jackson, Miss.
Ole Miss 13
The No. 17 Tigers battled to the end vs. the No. 18 Rebels, reeling off win No. 4 on the season a week after downing No. 4-ranked Tennessee in Birmingham, 10-6. While the win was a huge boost for the undefeated “Amazins,” the following week was not. Just a week after defeating the Rebels, the No. 9-ranked Tigers lost their only game of the season at No. 8 LSU, 35-7, for the sole loss of the season. The Tigers finished the season ranked 5th in the AP Poll and 7th in the UPI poll.
Nov. 2, 2002 — Oxford, Miss.
Ole Miss 24
Ole Miss scored 21 second-half points, but it wasn’t enough as the Tigers picked off Ole Miss quarterback Eli Manning three times en route to the road victory. The win followed up a dominating 31-7 over Nick Saban’s No. 10-ranked LSU Tigers, 31-7, at Jordan-Hare.
Sept. 3, 1994 — Oxford, Miss.
Ole Miss 17
The No. 11-ranked Tigers faced the Rebels for first game of season, and held on to an early lead to improve the Auburn win streak to 12 dating back to the ’93 season.
Oct. 6, 1984 — Oxford, Miss.
Ole Miss 13
No. 18 AU reeled off the Tigers third win in a row after dropping the first two games of the season to Miami and Texas. The win was the third of six in a year, helping the Tigers to a 9-4 record and a 14th-place finish in both the AP and UPI polls.
Oct. 2, 1976 — Jackson, Miss.
Ole Miss 0
The No. 16-ranked Ole Miss Rebels faced an unranked Auburn team, but it was the Tigers who pitched the shutout in Jackson, Miss. Although Auburn limped to a 4-7 record, the win over Ole Miss was the next to last on the season for the Tigers.
Oct. 3, 1953 — Auburn
Ole Miss 0
Ralph “Shug” Jordan’s third Tiger team got off to a hot start by downing the No. 15-ranked Ole Miss Rebels in the second game of the season. The unranked Tigers ended up finishing No. 17 in the nation with a 7-3-1 record.
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