No. 9 Mississippi runs wild and holds off Auburn 48-34

Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports
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OXFORD, Miss. — Jaxson Dart is warming up to the idea of being a running quarterback.

Dart ran for 115 yards, one of three Mississippi 100-yard rushers, and the ninth-ranked Rebels rolled up 448 on the ground in a 48-34 victory over Auburn.

It was the first time since 1976 the Rebels had three 100-yard rushers in a game.

“You don’t get that every week,” Dart said. “I think the best thing was just about every play you could feel Auburn wearing down more and more.”

Ole Miss (3-0 Southeastern Conference) is 7-0 for just the second time since 1962 and first time since 2014. The Rebels raced to a 21-0 lead and never trailed, although Auburn (3-4, 1-3) pulled as close as 28-24 in the third quarter.

Quinshon Judkins had 139 yards on 25 carries and scored on a 41-yard run with 6:26 remaining to build the final margin.

“The defense wasn’t up to our standards. But we had to stop them from running and it was good to see us finish,” Ole Miss coach Lane Kiffin said.

Dart, the Southern California transfer, finished 9 of 19 for 130 yards with three touchdown passes and ran for 115 on 14 carries. It was his second 100-yard rushing game of the season. He had only 43 yards rushing in six games last season at USC.

Zach Evans had 136 yards on 21 carries and a touchdown.

Tank Bigsby led Auburn with 179 yards on 20 carries with touchdown runs of 2 and 50 yards. The Tigers had 301 yards rushing, but three turnovers.

Robby Ashford scored on runs of 2 and 11 yards and finished 8 of 17 passing for 140 yards.

“These guys are fighting and obviously they want to find a way to win,” Auburn coach Bryan Harsin said. “We all want to find a way to win. Hard to do that every single week. Turnovers are still a factor.”

THE TAKEAWAY

Auburn: The coaching future of Bryan Harsin remains uncertain and this performance will only increase the noise surrounding the program. The Tigers played well after falling behind 21-0 in the opening 16 minutes. Ashford directed three consecutive scoring drives in the second half.

After an off week, three of the next four opponents come to The Plains and the possibility for a postseason bowl appearance remains.

Ole Miss: After six consecutive losses to Auburn, many in heartbreaking fashion, clearing this hurdle was a high priority.

What remains is a back-loaded schedule: Three of the next four games are on the road, with the only home games against No. 3 Alabama.

EXTRA POSSESSION PAYOFF

Leading 31-24, Ole Miss successfully executed an onside kick by Jonathan Cruz, recovered by Brandon Buckhaulter.

Seven plays later, Judkins capped the 54-yard scoring drive with a 4-yard touchdown run, giving the Rebels a 38-24 lead. The bonus offensive possession proved big in holding off Auburn.

“You know, we were looking for something to give us an edge,” Kiffin said. “It was huge for our players to make that play. Obviously, it helped in this game a lot.”

GROUND AND POUND

The 448-yard rushing performance by Ole Miss was the most productive single game since 1962. The best single game performance was 515 yards against Auburn in 1951, a 39-14 Ole Miss win.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

The No. 9 Rebels are not expected to drop, but a win over an unranked opponent may not be enough to move up significantly.

UP NEXT

Auburn: The Tigers have an open date before a home game against Arkansas on Oct. 29. Will Harsin, now 9-11, still be leading the Tigers by then?

Ole Miss: The Rebels begin a two-week road trip at LSU.

Texas State hires Incarnate Word coach Kinne to lead Bobcats

Chris Jones-USA TODAY Sports
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Texas State hired Incarnate Word coach G.J. Kinne on Friday to lead a Sun Belt program that has had only one winning season since moving up to the Bowl Subdivision in 2012.

The 34-year-old former Tulsa quarterback has made a fast rise in coaching since ending his professional career in 2017.

After three years as an offensive analyst at SMU, Arkansas and the Philadelphia Eagles, Kinne became offensive coordinator at Hawaii in 2020. He held the same role for UCF in 2021 before landing the head coaching job at FCS Incarnate Word this season.

Incarnate Word is 10-1 and averaging 53 points and 8.3 yards per play, both FCS highs, heading into its playoff game Saturday against Furman. Kinne will remain with Incarnate Word through their playoff run.

“It’s with great honor that I’m accepting the call to be next head football coach of the Texas State Bobcats,” Kinne said. “We are going to play fast, have relentless energy, and when the going gets tough, have the mental confidence to win tight games in the second half and represent the state of Texas. Eat ‘Em Up!”

Texas State fired Jake Spavital last week after the Bobcats won just 13 games in his four seasons.

Kinne signed a five-year contract, the school said. Terms were not immediately released.

“My goal was to hire someone with demonstrated leadership experience, success as a head coach, established relationships with Texas football coaches, and success with recruiting and developing players,” said Texas State President Kelly Damphousse. “I sought a leader with a plan to capitalize on our location in the heart of the best high school football in the country.”

Florida Atlantic hires Tom Herman as football coach

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BOCA RATON, Fla. – Former Texas and Houston head coach Tom Herman will take over at Florida Atlantic as it heads into its first season in the American Athletic Conference.

The hire comes just days after FAU fired Willie Taggart, who went 15-18 in his three seasons with the Owls. Details of the contract with Herman were not immediately available.

“We are incredibly excited to welcome Tom Herman to Paradise,” FAU Director of Athletics Brian White said Thursday. “Throughout the process and the more we talked with Coach Herman, the more it became apparent to me that he was the right person to lead our football program. Beyond his knowledge of the game, which is obvious by his success over the years, he also truly cares about the young people in his program.”

FAU’s final season in Conference USA ended with a 5-7 record and an overtime loss to Western Kentucky. The Owls will be in the American next season.

Herman returns to college football after spending the 2021 season with the Chicago Bears as an offensive analyst.

Herman was 22-4 at Houston, a mark that helped him land the head coaching job at Texas where he went 32-18 with four straight bowl trips in 2017-2020. He also was an offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Ohio State during the Buckeyes’ 2014 national championship season, as well as stops at Iowa State, Rice and Texas State.

“All the pieces are in place at FAU for us to be successful,” Herman said. “There are already great young men on this team, great facilities, a great location, a great recruiting base and great leadership, all of which are important to building a successful program.”