Or maybe it was just Ole Miss.
More than likely, all those factors played into Auburn’s 41-23 thumping of the Rebels Saturday night at Jordan-Hare Stadium.
“This is a good football team that we beat tonight,” said Auburn coach Gene Chizik. “And I truly believe, … I said going into the game this is the best 2-5 team in the country, and I believe that. I think that they are extremely talented, but we played well tonight.”
It was the 11th consecutive SEC loss for the Rebels (2-6, 0-5 SEC), but they didn’t so much fall apart against Auburn as get picked apart.
With Dyer rushing for 177 yards, Auburn (6-4, 4-2) rolled up 254 yards rushing on 50 carries.
Auburn’s big lift came in the passing game where Auburn quarterback Moseley completed 12 passes in 15 attempts for 160 yards and four touchdowns.
A week after being sacked six times in a 45-10 loss to No. 1-ranked LSU, Moseley was sacked once by the Rebels.
“It sounds a lot better than it actually was,” Moseley said.
“Some of those were long drives running the ball, and I just got to cap it off. So, a lot of the credit goes to the line. I told them they won the game, and I really mean that. Having as much time as I did on a few of those passes, and a few of those running lanes for Mike and Onterio (McCalebb) and all the rest of them.
When they’re that big, it just makes it easy for us. Obviously, I’m happy I threw four. But there are some things I wish I had back, and some negative plays. I’m going to fix that this week.”
Auburn had been averaging 13.2 points per game over its last four games so Saturday night’s performance was particularly pleasing for the Tigers.
Blake, who has missed the majority of the last four games with a sprained ankle, came up big in his return, catching fives passes for 71 yards, including a 25-yard touchdown reception.
“It was awesome, first game back,” Blake said. “We were really clicking tonight. Had some turnovers the first half and that was really the only thing that stopped us. Besides that, the offense played really well.
“It has been very tough being out, especially when you know you can have an impact on the game and change the game for the better for us. It has been very tough for me to sit there and watch.”
The game was tied 17-17 at halftime, but Blake’s touchdown catch sparked a 24-0 run by the Tigers.
Dyer scored on a 4-yard run, Cody Parkey kicked a 31-yard field goal and Philip Lutzenkirchen caught a 4-yard touchdown pass.
Ole Miss didn’t score again until the final play of the game.
“At halftime, we made a lot of great adjustments, adjusting defensively to some of the run game that we needed to get under control that in the first half got away from us a little bit,” Chizik said.
“Coach (Ted) Roof and the defensive staff did a really nice job with that. Offensively I felt like at that point we really kind of understood what their game plan was and really knew how to attack them in the second half both running and throwing the football.”
Ole Miss moved the football, finishing with 382 yards in total offense on 72 plays, including 220 yards rushing.
“One thing we thought we could do was run the ball on these guys,” said Ole Miss coach Houston Nutt. “They did a good job of coming off the ball, but again, you can’t turn the ball over. We have to get pressure and not give up easy touchdowns. We were right there in the first half, but it got away from us.”
Blake’s impact upon returning to the lineup was immediate. He had four catches in the first half, three for first-down yardage.
His ability to give the Tigers a vertical threat in the passing game was never more evident than on a third-and-20 play where Moseley connected with Blake for a 22-yard gain and a first down.
“That’s something we’ve needed and haven’t had in recent weeks,” said Auburn offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn. “It’s good to have Emory back.”
However, it was Moseley’s passes to Lutzenkirchen and Quindarius Carr that produced points for the Tigers in the first half.
Moseley completed a 13-yard touchdown pass to Lutzenkirchen to put the Tigers ahead 7-0 and a 45-yard scoring pass to Carr to move the Tigers ahead 14-0.
Ole Miss countered with a drive that resulted in a 1-yard touchdown run by Bolden.
Dyer fumbled on the Tigers’ ensuing possession and the Rebels took advantage for a 39-yard field goal to cut Auburn’s lead to 14-10.
An interception and 41-yard return by T’Sharvan Bell set up a 40-yard field goal by Cody Parkey, but Ole Miss 60 went yards in nine plays with Bolden scoring on a 1-yard run to tie the game 17-17 with 3:48 to play in the half.
Charles Bennett covers Auburn University sports for The Star. Follow him on Twitter @AUTigers_Star.