Nix, defense power No. 18 Auburn past No. 10 Ole Miss, 31-20

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AUBURN, Ala. – When Bo Nix got close to the end zone, he mostly found a way to reach it either running or passing in the first half.

Matt Corral, normally quite adept at that himself, and Mississippi couldn’t cash in on any chances to muster a comeback after that.

Nix passed for 276 yards and a touchdown and ran for two more scores and No. 18 Auburn’s defense made a number of big stops in a 31-20 victory over 10th-ranked Mississippi on Saturday night.

“It was a huge statement game,” Nix said. “Beating a Top 10 team at home, there’s just nothing like it.”

The Tigers (6-2, 4-1 Southeastern Conference) remained the top challenger to No. 3 Alabama in the Western Division with Nix winning a quarterback duel with the Heisman candidate Corral.

The Rebels (6-2, 3-2) had their three-game winning streak end after squandering four second-half scoring chances, three with failed fourth down passes inside the 20. Plus Jaylin Simpson intercepted a pass in the end zone – only Corral’s second this season – midway through the fourth.

“That’s points. They’re not going to take points on special teams,” Auburn coach Bryan Harsin said. “They’re going to go for it and we get the ball back. You kind of think of that as a turnover.

“Those were critical moments in the game that we were able to win.”

Nix completed 22 of 30 passes and ran for 30 yards. Tank Bigsby ran for 140 yards and a touchdown for the Tigers.

Auburn led 28-17 at halftime and both teams only managed a field goal after that.

“Bo made a lot of plays for them, especially early on,” Ole Miss coach Lane Kiffin said. “I thought our defense after struggling early played especially well, gave us a bunch of chances offensively to win.

“That’s four times in the red zone with no points. That’s going to be hard to win.”

Corral had his 19-game streak with a touchdown pass end with a 21-of-37, 289-yard performance. He did run for a score, returning after getting carted to the locker room with an injury to his left ankle, previously hurt against Tennessee.

“It was the same thing that happened in the Tennessee game,” Corral said. “I couldn’t feel my ankle. I heard a pop, but honest to God, I don’t know what it was. I couldn’t feel it for like five minutes.”

But, he added: “No excuses for not executing.”

Walk-on Jahcour Pearson caught seven passes for 135 yards for the Rebels, who have been short-handed at wide receiver. The Western Kentucky transfer came in with 30 yards this season. Top receiver Dontario Drummond sustained an undisclosed injury in the game and Jonathan Mingo and Braylon Sanders already hurt.

Ole Miss stayed alive late with an Auburn fumble across midfield. But the comeback bid ended on a fourth-and-3 incompletion from the 18 when the Rebels also were flagged for two penalties.

THE TAKEAWAY

Mississippi: A team that had attempted and converted more fourth down plays than anybody in FBS lost its mojo in key situations. In their two losses, including to Alabama, the Rebels are 3 of 9.

Auburn: Has beaten two straight ranked SEC West teams to remain in control of its own destiny in the division. Nix has been superb against both Arkansas and Ole Miss after getting benched against Georgia State.

ZAKOBY’S BIG GAME

Auburn linebacker Zakoby McClain had 14 tackles, 10 solo, and two sacks. The Tigers also got back defenders Owen Pappoe and TD Moultry after missing multiple games.

“Owen, he’s a captain and he just brings the energy,” Simpson said. “He’s the heartbeat of the defense and I’m glad to have him out there.”

POLL IMPLICATIONS

The Tigers should jump a few spots in the rankings. The Rebels’ first visit to the Top 10 since the final poll in 2015 was short-lived.

UP NEXT

Mississippi hosts Liberty and former Rebels coach Hugh Freeze on Nov. 6.

Auburn visits No. 14 Texas A&M on Nov. 6.

Clemson gives raises, contract extensions to staff

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CLEMSON, S.C. — Clemson’s board of trustees approved raises for special teams coordinator and cornerbacks coach Mike Reed and defensive tackles coach Nick Eason.

Reed and Eason also received one-year extensions keeping them tied to the Tigers through Jan. 31, 2026.

Reed, who’s been with the Tigers since 2013, had his yearly salary increased $50,000 to $800,000. Eason, the former Clemson standout defensive lineman, joined the staff this past season. He also had his compensation upped by $50,000 to $800,000.

Seven other assistants were given one-year extensions by the trustees’ compensation committee, but without a raise in salary.

Co-defensive coordinators Wes Goodwin and Mickey Conn had their contracts extended through Jan. 31, 2026.

Defensive ends coach Lemanski Hall, tight ends coach Kyle Richardson, offensive line coach Thomas Austin, running backs coach C.J. Spiller and wide receivers coach Tyler Grisham all got one-year extensions through Jan. 31, 2025.

New offensive coordinator Garrett Riley last month received a three-year contract at $1.75 million per season.

Clemson will pay its 10 on-field assistants $7.475 million this season, an increase of $925,000 from the total for 2022.

The Tigers went 11-3 last season, winning the Atlantic Coast Conference title for the seventh time in the past eight seasons.

South Carolina’s Beamer suspends three freshmen from program

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COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina coach Shane Beamer said freshmen Monteque Rhames II, Anthony Rose and Cameron Upshaw were suspended from the football program.

There was no reason given for the suspensions in the school’s statement Friday. Online records showed Rhames, 18, was booked last night and was being held at the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center on charges of carrying weapons on school property and obstructing justice.

“Our student-athletes know what is expected of them,” Beamer said. “They know that both the university and the football program will hold them accountable for their actions and decisions.”

None of the three have played for the Gamecocks.

Rose is a 6-foot-1, 190-pound defensive back from Miami who enrolled in January 2022 and redshirted this season. Rhames and Upshaw were part of South Carolina’s latest recruiting class and enrolled last month.

Rhames is a 6-5, 235-pound defensive lineman from Sumter and Upshaw is a 6-2, 193-pound safety from Perry, Florida.