OXFORD, Miss. — Auburn's stellar, lockdown defense and Ole Miss' fast-paced, high-scoring offense looked to be the marquee matchup of this SEC showdown.
Auburn's defense, which struggled the week before against Tennessee, prompted many to believe that the Ole Miss offense might be too much.
Defensive linemen Nick Coe and Marlon Davidson's big days put an end to the questions in a 31-16 win over Ole Miss in Oxford.
Coe had a career day with three sacks — the first player to do so for Auburn since the late Quentin Groves in 2006.
Davidson had himself a day with his third blocked field goal of the season in his third straight game. Davidson, who was a game time decision due to the ankle injury he suffered against Tennessee, arrived in a walking boot and also left in the boot, but said it was just from playing hard.
Davidson spoke highly of his pass-rushing running mate after the game.
"Nick Coe, man, he'd been having this," Davidson said. "He just was hiding it. That's why I always want him as my backup or starting beside me. It's a great feeling that I've got a guy on the other side helping me with the quarterback, too."
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Davidson also had praise for the whole defense, which only allowed one touchdown the entire game — during garbage time of the fourth quarter.
"Man, I'm really proud," Davidson said. "It's crazy, man, the way that we fight. With the adversity that we're going through with the team, we just keep fighting for Auburn. We have that much pride for ourselves, to not lay down. I'm just proud of my defense. I'm proud of Deshaun, too. He got the record today. He beat Coach T-Will, and that's a great accomplishment."
Deshaun Davis led the team in tackles with 13, eight of which were for loss. Davis also passed his linebackers coach Travis Williams on the tackles list with 214.
The freshmen defensive backs stepped up in place of Jeremiah Dinson, who was ejected last game against Tennessee for a targeting call and could not play the first half of this game.
"They did a good job," Dinson said. "Tutt did a good job, Sherwood and Smoke. They did a good job when I was out and they stood up to the challenge. Like I said, the guys over there, the receivers over there, they’re real deal receivers."
Dinson said he spent the first half in the locker room watching the game on an iPad.
"It is pretty weird but it kinda helped me, too," Dinson said. "Extra two quarters of film for me. I’m in there writing different concepts they’re doing down, so when I get back on the field in the third quarter, I was kinda knew what they were doing."
The defense held up all game, but really showed up in the third quarter, allowing only 78 yards and three points to Ole Miss' offense. In the third quarter, Ole Miss averaged 4.1 yards a play and totaled -9 rushing yards.
Auburn has a bye this week to heal up and prepare before No. 17 Texas A&M travels to Auburn and Jordan-Hare Stadium on Nov. 3.
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