OXFORD, Miss. (AP) — Kamryn Pettway smashed his 240-pound body into Mississippi's defensive line and then disappeared for a moment behind a pile of bodies. A second later, he appeared a few yards downfield, accelerated and was gone for 41 yards and a touchdown.
Auburn's broad-shouldered sophomore was well on his way to a career night.
No. 15 Auburn beat Mississippi 40-29 on Saturday, pulling away in the fourth quarter after a tight game for most of the night. Pettway finished with a career-high 236 yards rushing, beating his previous high of 192 set last week against Arkansas.
“The offensive line did a good job,” Auburn coach Gus Malzahn said. “But he also just ran over some people.”
Ole Miss' Chad Kelly threw for a school-record 465 yards, beating Archie Manning's previous mark of 436 yards set in 1969. Kelly also threw three touchdown passes and one interception.
But the Rebels couldn't keep up with Auburn, which finished with 554 total yards.
“I hate losing more than anything,” Kelly said. “I don't know what else to say.”
Auburn (6-2, 4-1 Southeastern Conference) won its fifth straight. Ole Miss (3-5, 1-4) lost its third in a row.
“The defense has picked us up at certain points this year,” Auburn quarterback Sean White said. “Tonight, we had to pick them up a little bit.”
Ole Miss took a 22-20 lead into the locker room and had its chances in the second half, but once again blew a halftime lead. The Rebels have five losses this season despite never trailing at the break.
The backbreaker for Ole Miss was midway through the fourth quarter when a wide-open Evan Engram dropped what would have almost certainly been a go-ahead touchdown. It marred an otherwise excellent night for the senior tight end _ he finished with a team-high nine catches for 95 yards and a touchdown.
“I was wide open,” Engram said. “Chad threw it on a line. It was low and I didn't get it. It was there for me.”
On the very next play, Kelly threw his only interception of the night and Auburn returned it to the Ole Miss 25.Three plays later, Kerryon Johnson scored on a 3-yard touchdown run and Auburn stretched its lead to 40-29.
“We battled toe to toe for most of the game,” Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze said. “But for whatever reason, in this game you have years where the margin of error for a team is just so small and one or two plays make such a huge impact.”
Auburn's offense got a big assist from kicker Daniel Carlson, who made all four of his field goal attempts, including a crucial one from 47 yards in the fourth quarter that gave the Tigers a 33-29 lead.
“He's the best kicker in the country,” Malzahn said. “Really made some pressure kicks.”
Ole Miss' Gary Wunderlich was nearly as good. He made all three of his field goals, including one that was a career-high 49 yards.
Auburn: The Tigers continued their impressive run despite looking a little shaky on defense. Auburn's running game has been absolutely dominant and the Tigers now have three winnable games against Vanderbilt, Georgia and Alabama A&M before what could be a very interesting Iron Bowl showdown against Alabama.
Ole Miss: The Rebels' season continues to turn sour. Two months ago, Ole Miss thought it might have a chance to win the SEC's Western Division. Now the Rebels might struggle to qualify for a bowl game.
Auburn: The Tigers host Vanderbilt next weekend.
Ole Miss: The Rebels host Georgia Southern next weekend.