Aggressive vs. Assertive: The four-down battles that will define Ole Miss-Auburn

Derek Mason's defense is getting more confident each week. But Lane Kiffin's offense takes confidence to a completely different level.

DT Colby Wooden (Todd Van Emst/Auburn Athletics)

Seven years ago this week, Auburn played one of its wildest non-rivalry games at Jordan-Hare Stadium in recent memory — a 42-35 win over South Carolina.

Auburn entered that matchup fresh off its first loss of the 2014 season, when it fell to Mississippi State in a rainy Starkville.

South Carolina, led by Steve Spurrier, had won 11 games in three straight seasons but was scuffling at this point in his tenure. The Gamecocks were blown out by Kenny Hill and Texas A&M in a Thursday night opener, rebounded with wins over Georgia and Vanderbilt and lost back-to-back divisional games to Missouri and Kentucky by a combined eight points.

At 2-3 in the conference and facing a top-five Auburn team, Spurrier was willing to try anything to get a big road win. That night, South Carolina’s offense tried to protect its weaker teammates on defense by going for it on fourth down six different times. It was a strong strategy — even though the Gamecocks lost,…

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