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Did SEC again bail out Auburn? Kiffin: From our vantage, he touched it

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Perhaps SEC Network play-by-play ace Tom Hart said it best Saturday in the aftermath of Auburn's 35-28 escape at Ole Miss.

“If you're Auburn, you've got to feel like you're living right,” Hart said.

The backstory: The Tigers, again, had at best a bang-bang play go in their favor in the closing quarter of their come-from-behind win against Lane Kiffin's Rebels.

After Ole Miss had taken a 28-27 lead inside the final frame, it kicked deep to the Tigers. Auburn tailback Shaun Shivers was in position to field the bouncing football, but it glanced past Shivers and into the end zone.

Replay appeared to show the ball had made contact with Shivers, who did not move to recover it in the end zone. Officials blew dead the play and ruled the kick a touchback.

Kiffin and Ole Miss wanted a thorough replay review; the SEC crew said the play was reviewed upstairs but play was not stopped on the field.

“I don't know [why the game wasn't formally stopped and the kickoff reviewed]. These guys stop everything in the world,” Kiffin told Ole Miss Radio Network postgame. “We have 100 stops throughout the game. They stop every scoring play. That's really a scoring play, potentially.

“I don't know why. I asked why on a critical play like that would you not stop. And they said, 'Well, someone looked at it upstairs and said he didn't touch it.' It looked like from our vantage point he did touch it.”

SEC Network sideline reporter Cole Cubelic, a former standout offensive lineman for the Tigers, said in his post-game report that a large video screen inside Ole Miss' Vaught-Hemingway Stadium showed “it did appear a finger moved.”

This call/no-call comes just two weeks after Auburn similarly benefited from a play that officials admitted was so poorly officiated that the rule was changed. Auburn quarterback Bo Nix spiked the ball backwards in the waning seconds against Arkansas, and it should have been ruled a fumble. Instead, Auburn retained possession and kicked the game-winning field goal to top the Hogs.

Even still on this day, Ole Miss had one final fling toward the end zone at game's end with a chance to tie or win the game. Kiffin said the Rebels already had made up their mind.

“We were going for two,” Kiffin said.

Following the game, Lane took to the Twitter....

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