OXFORD - Contrary to what many may think Laquon Treadwell hasn't had the Auburn game circled on his calendar.
Not until this week.
The lead wide receiver for Ole Miss, Treadwell had his season abruptly cut short a year ago with a horrific injury against Auburn.
Adding insult to injury was the fact that he was inches from scoring what would likely have been a winning touchdown but fumbled.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to the Sun Herald
No. 19 Ole Miss visits a struggling Auburn team Saturday with an 11 a.m. kickoff. Treadwell says it will be an emotional game for him but a very important one for everyone on the Ole Miss side.
"It's the same situation. Our title hopes can get dashed if we lose this game. It's not just me that's going to be putting all my effort into it," he said.
Treadwell said he did not realize Auburn was this week's Ole Miss opponent until team meetings Sunday following the Rebels' 23-3 win over Texas A&M.
That victory improved the Rebels (6-2) to 3-1 in SEC play. They remain in control of their fate with regard to the conference race.
Treadwell sustained a broken leg and dislocated ankle in last year's Auburn game. That set in motion a comeback that's been well-chronicled for several reasons not the least being his status as a projected first-round draft pick and the fact that he shared several rehab moments through social media along the way.
He told everyone in August that he'd come back better than he was before the injury. He's got 54 catches for 756 yards and five touchdowns and has 100-yard games the last three weeks.
"I didn't even know we played them this week until after the A&M game. Once I found out it sparked a fire in me. I'll have an extra edge to me. I know my teammates will feel me all week, and I think they'll play with an edge also," Treadwell said.
Athletes support flag removal
Ole Miss athletes and administrators applaud the school's student leadership for its decision to remove the state flag from campus.
The decision was made last week, and the flag was removed without fanfare early Monday morning.
"I thought it was great to show that our university is moving in a positive direction, to kind of set the national stage as to what our university's about and the kind of coaches we have on this campus," said linebacker C.J. Johnson, a Philadelphia native.
The official flag of Mississippi hasn't flown at Ole Miss athletics venues since Ross Bjork was named athletics director in 2012.
Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze could not say with certainty that defensive lineman Robert Nkemdiche will play this week against Auburn.
Nkemdiche sat out last Saturday against Texas A&M when he awakened on game day with headaches. Earlier in the week he had been making progress. He will not have to re-start concussion protocol this week but will have to be symptom free before being cleared.
Defensive back Tony Conner, who has not played since sustaining a torn meniscus in Week 3, will begin running on grass this week.
Offensive lineman Christian Morris, who left the field by stretch at halftime against A&M, has been diagnosed with a neck and spinal cord contusion. There is no timetable for his return.