FROM OLE MISS ATHLETICS
OXFORD, Miss. — The Ole Miss football team went toe-to-toe with the No. 2 ranked team in the country. They scored more points than Alabama has ever allowed to an unranked opponent in the AP Poll era. The Rebels (1-2) finished the night with 647 yards of total offense, the most ever given up by Alabama (3-0) in its storied history. At the end of the night, it still wasn’t enough. The Crimson Tide found the end zone eight straight times to outlast Ole Miss down the stretch 63-48 at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium on Saturday.
Matt Corral completed 21 of 28 passes for 365 yards and two touchdowns, both of which went to tight end Kenny Yeboah. His 181 receiving yards on seven catches were the most by a Rebel tight end since Evan Engram in 2014. Elijah Moore also added 11 catches for 143 yards.
On the ground, Snoop Conner and Jerrion Ealy combined for 40 carries and 248 yards with two scores apiece. With both Rebels going over the 100-yard mark, the duo joined Darren McFadden, Ezekiel Elliot, Todd Gurley and Dante Smith as ones who’ve rushed for over 100 yards with two touchdowns against a Nick Saban-led Alabama team. It’s also the first time a Nick Saban-led Crimson Tide has allowed two 100-yard rushers in a game.
Ole Miss also finished a perfect 4 for 4 on fourth down and 7 of 7 in the red zone.
Defensively, the Rebels were led by Momo Sanogo, who finished with nine tackles. Keidron Smith and Jakorey Hawkins each finished with eight tackles. Ole Miss surrendered 723 yards, including 417 yards through the air, in a shootout that started from the opening kickoff.
It only took four plays for the Rebels to get on the board first as Yeboah used a 52-yard catch-and-run to set up a a six-yard touchdown catch from Matt Corral in the back of the end zone, capping off a four-play, 75-yard drive. Just like that, the Rebels led the Tide 7-0 with 14:06 left in the first quarter.
Alabama answered. Quarterback Mac Jones found Jaylen Waddle three times with a pair of 20+ yard gains and responded with an 85-yard drive that ended with a 14-yard touchdown pass from Jones to Devonta Smith in the flat.
The Rebels again found Tide territory with a pair of first down throws from Corral, but a bad snap forced Ole Miss into third-and-long and led to a punt. Najee Harris and Waddle helped the Crimson Tide move the football seamlessly to the Ole Miss red zone. Alabama had first-and-goal on the Rebel one-yard line, but Ole Miss forced a goal line fumble for the second consecutive week. Hawkins jarred the ball loose, and the Rebels recovered at the 11-yard line.
Ole Miss capitalized as Snoop Conner began the drive with a 34-yard run, and the Rebels found themselves on the doorstep of the red zone. After a holding penalty set up another third-and-long Ealy got the Rebels within five yards of the first down, close enough for Lane Kiffin to go for it. The move paid off with Corral finding a wide-open Ealy to put the ball at the Alabama three-yard line. Ealy found the end zone from three yards out, capping off a 10-play, 93-yard drive that gave Ole Miss the lead back, 14-7.
Jones found Smith for a pair of first down throws for the Tide before the drive stalled. Sam Williams got in the backfield for a sack on third down, forcing Alabama to punt the football. However, the Rebels could not take advantage and had to punt.
Alabama’s Brian Robinson carried the football five times on a six-play, 72-yard drive and ended it with a goal line score to tie the game at 14-14 with 6:51 left in the first half.
On an 11-play, 75-yard ensuing drive, the Rebels ran the football every play, including a second fourth down conversion when Conner carried the ball 26-yards inside the Alabama 10-yard line. Two rushes later, Conner found the end zone from two yards out, and the Rebels led 21-14 with 3:15 left in the first half.
Alabama faced a 3rd-and-5 on the ensuing drive. Jones kept the football for a five-yard gain, but a defensive holding penalty by the Rebels put the ball at the Ole Miss 37-yard line. John Metchie caught a 32-yard pass on the Ole Miss sideline to set up Harris with a five-yard touchdown run to tie the game at 21-21 going into the locker room.
Receiving the second half kickoff, the Tide wasted little time taking their first lead of the game with Harris’ second rushing touchdown of the game from 33 yards out. Ole Miss used 50 seconds to answer as Corral found Yeboah across the middle of the field. The senior tight end raced 68 yards to the house to tie the game 28-28.
On the ensuing drive, the Tide were faced with third down inside Rebel territory. Jones’ pass to Smith fell incomplete, but a pass interference call on Ole Miss kept the drive alive. Alabama took advantage with Jones finding Miller Forristall on a rollout pass near the goal line.
Following a 27-yard reception by Moore, the Rebels used the ground game to cap off a 10-play, 75-yard drive in four minutes with Jerrion Ealy getting his second score of the game from nine yards out. Once again, the Tide answered with a Harris touchdown to give Alabama a 42-35 lead with 2:39 left in the third quarter.
Going into the fourth quarter, the Rebels converted their third fourth down conversion of the game to reach the Alabama goal line. On 4th-and-goal from the one-yard line, Conner broke the plane for his second touchdown of the game. The lengthy drive (16 plays, 75 yards) took 6:08 off the clock, and the Rebels tied the game once again, 42-42 with 11:31 left in the game.
Ole Miss attempted a surprise onside kick on the ensuing kickoff, but failed to recover. Alabama capitalized on the short field position four plays later as Harris scored his fourth touchdown of the game from 16 yards out, which kept the Tide ahead for good.
A Luke Logan 39-yard field goal cut Alabama’s lead to 49-45, breaking a streak of seven consecutive drives with a touchdown between the two teams. Getting the ball back, Alabama found the end zone again to increase its cushion to double digits.
Ole Miss didn’t throw in the towel. A 56-yard pass to Moore along with a targeting penalty put the Rebels in the red zone, but again were forced to kick a field goal. Logan connected on his second field goal to cut Alabama’s lead to 56-48 with 1:28 left. Alabama recovered the following onside kick and Harris found an open hole for his fifth score of the night to seal the visitors’ victory.
Next week, the Rebels travel to Fayetteville to face the Arkansas Razorbacks (Oct. 17). Kickoff time is set for 2:30 p.m. CT and will be televised by ESPN2.