AUBURN, AL (EETV) -- It wasn't easy, but Auburn was able to hold off the Ole Miss Rebels 20-14 in a cold and windy night in Jordan-Hare Stadium.
Points came at a premium for an Auburn offense that was averaging 45 points a game at home. The Ole Miss defense got the nod for the classic 'bend don't break' aphorism.
Gus Malzahn's Tigers did rack up 507 total yards: 340 passing and 167 rushing.
There was some concern going into halftime as the Tigers had only scored 10 points. Add in some jeering from the crowd as the players were going into the locker room, and you get fans leaving early to go back to the warmth from their tailgates.
Let's take a look at some of the key takeaways from the victory:
1. Bo knows the Plains
Quarterback Bo Nix was a sniper during Saturday night's game against Ole Miss. He finished the game 30-of-44 (68.2%) and 340 yards passing.
This was a much-needed performance by Nix after a less-than-ideal showing against LSU on Oct. 26. This was Nix's second 300-yard passing effort with the first coming against Mississippi State.
"I felt like I was in a great rhythm," Nix said. "We had some short passes and low, intermediate passes I could feel comfortable with and they were open, so it was just playing catch with my guys and they did the rest."
Nix's most successful games have come in front of the home crowd, averaging a 65% completion rating, with seven touchdowns (four passing and three rushing) and zero interceptions at Jordan-Hare.
When you compare those stats to how the road games have fared, things become a little murky.
Nix is averaging a 48% completion rating, with 10 touchdowns (eight passing and two rushing) and six interceptions.
"It was great to get back in front of our own crowd and actually hear myself think on third down," Nix said. "That's always good."
Nix is still undefeated at home (4-0) and will look to continue to improve with a bye week next Saturday before welcoming in Georgia on Nov. 16.
2. D.J. Williams is the obvious starter in JaTarvious Whitlow's absence
During Whitlow's injury, running back D.J. Williams has picked up where Whitlow has left off.
Williams had a career-high 24 carries for 93 rushing yards and picked up his first career touchdown on a one-yard run from the goal line.
In Whitlow's absence, Williams has carried the ball 48 times for 271 rushing yards which comes out to an impressive 5.6 yards per carry compared to Whitlow's 4.9 yards per carry.
It will be interesting to see what Malzahn will do with the depth chart once Whitlow returns as he is expected to be back fully against Georgia.
The ground-and-pound back has proven enough to be the starter even when Whitlow returns.
3. Miscues almost come back to bite Auburn
While there wasn't sloppy play from the offense, there were missed opportunities from the Tigers to put the game away early.
Kicker Anders Carlson missed a trio field goals and had a key miss from 49 yards with 1:14 remaining in the fourth quarter. The miss put the Ole Miss offense in great field position as they had a chance to win the game.
So, what went wrong on the missed field goals?
"You know, I don't know. That's uncharacteristic," Malzahn said. "As well you know, he's an excellent kicker... Now, we did have a new snapper out there, so that possibly could've had something to do with the timing."
Nix had a fumble early in the first quarter, and per the usual, the defense forced a punt on the ensuing possession.
4. Up Next
Auburn will look to clean things up on the offense and special going into the bye week next Saturday. The Tigers will then host Georgia in the 'Deep South's Oldest Rivalry' on Nov. 16.