Oct 15, 2022; Oxford, Mississippi, USA; Mississippi Rebels head coach Lane Kiffin walks off the field during a timeout during the first quarter of the game against the Auburn Tigers at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports

Fast Lane? Kiffin drama spices up Egg Bowl

Ole Miss and Mississippi State are not where they wanted to be on Thanksgiving weekend, and it remains to be seen whether Lane Kiffin is coming to the party known in Mississippi as the Egg Bowl.

The Rebels (8-3, 4-3 Southeastern Conference) were ranked in the AP Top 10 after winning their first seven games, but they’ve lost three of their past four, and the defeats have come by an average of two touchdowns.

The Bulldogs (7-4, 3-4) were ranked No. 16 after starting the season 5-1, but they have lost three of their past five overall and three of their past four SEC games.

To add a dash of drama, reports Kiffin was on the verge of bowing out of his job at Ole Miss to accept an offer at Auburn surfaced Monday night. Kiffin himself replied to the report with a matter of fact “news to me,” to lead off a string of social media posts denying he’d be anywhere except the annual Battle for the Golden Egg on Thursday night in Oxford, Miss.

The winner’s season will look a whole lot better before the teams head off to their respective bowl games.

“It seems like there’s not a lot of love in the relationship, I guess is the positive, nice way of putting it,” Kiffin said of the rivalry. “It means a lot to a lot of people. We’ve been fortunate to turn it back our direction the last couple of years and trying to keep it that way.”

Kiffin and Mississippi State coach Mike Leach are both in their third seasons. The Rebels won 31-24 two years ago and 31-21 last season.

“I think we’ve come a long ways with the program,” Kiffin said. “I think we’ve turned over the roster, improved the roster. Obviously improved on-field production and made the program a lot more visible nationally to recruit to than where it was when we got here.”

Ole Miss took a 42-27 loss at Arkansas last Saturday.

Many of the Bulldogs, including record-setting junior quarterback Will Rogers, have yet to experience a victory in the rivalry game.

“It would mean everything,” Rogers said of winning Thursday. “That’s all I’m really worried about right now. Coach Kiffin has done a great job of getting their guys ready to play and getting them excited, so I know they will be ready to play.

“We have to answer the call and we have to be ready to go Thursday night.”

Leach has emphasized to his players the importance of avoiding getting caught up in the rivalry.

“The biggest thing is focusing on doing the best you can and being the best team that you can be and leave it at that,” Leach said. “Otherwise, if you distract yourself with a bunch of other stuff, you’re not going to help your approach or help what you’re trying to do.

“You just go out there, lock in, try to improve and try to get better this week to be the best team that you can be.”

But the players from Mississippi on both teams understand the importance of the game.

“This is the game that everybody thinks about every year,” said Rogers, who is from Brandon, Miss. “It doesn’t matter where we play it or who is ranked higher or what the records are. It’s the biggest game of the year, every year.”

–Field Level Media

Oct 8, 2022; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; Mississippi Rebels running back Quinshon Judkins (4) celebrates with quarterback Jaxson Dart (2) after scoring against the Vanderbilt Commodores during the second half at FirstBank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

No. 14 Ole Miss turns attention to struggling Arkansas

No. 14 Ole Miss looks to put a special season back on track Saturday night against a struggling Arkansas squad in Fayetteville, Ark.

The Rebels (8-2, 4-2 Southeastern Conference) stumbled at home against Alabama last Saturday, their second loss in three games, but still have the chance to reach double-digit wins.

The Razorbacks (5-5, 2-4) play their final home game of a roller-coaster campaign. Arkansas has lost two in a row and five of their last seven.

Last Saturday, Ole Miss failed to convert a fourth-down pass which could have kept their SEC West division title hopes alive with a win. Instead, Crimson Tide star safety Brian Branch reached out and knocked down Jaxson Dart’s pass intended for Jonathan Mingo over the middle.

That play — plus Georgia’s 45-19 domination of Mississippi State later that night — locked in the participants for the SEC title game in Atlanta on Dec. 3. It will be the top-ranked Bulldogs and the No. 6 LSU Tigers.

So what does it take to get over the hump and get to Atlanta?

“Make one more play,” Ole Miss coach Lane Kiffin said. “There’s not some magic formula of we got to go change all those things or do all these things different. Games come down to one possession, one-play games like that, one side makes the plays and finds a way to win. (Alabama has) been in a number of them this year.”

In order to duplicate last season’s 10-win regular season in 2021, the Rebels must win at Arkansas and return home to beat Mississippi State in the Egg Bowl. A third straight victory over its rival in that series would give them 10 and likely an appearance in a major bowl game.

Freshman Quinshon Judkins is ninth in rushing yards (1,171) and fifth in rushing TDs (15) in FBS play. The latter number set a school record for a single season, eclipsing the 14 of Brandon Bolden (2010), Deuce McAllister (2000), Archie Manning (1969) and Kayo Dottley (1949).

The Razorbacks aren’t looking for any magic at his point — one more win over their final two games (Ole Miss, at Missouri) to become bowl eligible would do just fine.

Coach Sam Pittman’s effort to beat the Rebels will likely depend on better quarterback play from regular starter KJ Jefferson or either Malik Hornsby or Cade Fortin.

Jefferson, a dynamic dual-threat signal caller, is a native of Sardis, Miss.

In last year’s game back in his home state in Oxford, he passed for 326 yards and three touchdowns and ran for 85 yards and three scores, but his two-point throw for the win fell incomplete, giving Ole Miss a 52-51 win in the wild affair.

“We anticipate him practicing and anticipate him playing on Saturday,” Pittman said Monday. “Those things certainly change, and they have over the last two weeks, but I know he feels better than he has since the Auburn game. … I know he feels better than he has the last two weeks.”

Hampered by injuries and missing two of the squad’s 10 games, Jefferson has thrown for 1,981 yards and 17 TDs with just three interceptions. He’s added 425 rushing yards and six scores.

–Field Level Media

Nov 12, 2022; Oxford, Mississippi, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide quarterback Bryce Young (9) passes the ball during warm up prior to the game against the Mississippi Rebels at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports

Alabama survives Ole Miss to return to win column

Will Reichard kicked two of his three field goals in the fourth quarter, Alabama’s defense stopped Ole Miss in the red zone late, and the No. 9 Crimson Tide held on for a 30-24 victory over the No. 11 Rebels in Oxford, Mississippi, on Saturday.

The Crimson Tide (8-2, 5-2 SEC) trailed 10-0 but fought back behind Bryce Young’s touchdowns to Cameron Latu, Jermaine Burton and Ja’Corey Brooks.

Ole Miss drove to the Alabama 14-yard-line, but on 4th-and-16 from the 20, defensive back Brian Branch broke up a pass in the end zone intended for Jonathan Mingo to seal the win with 46 seconds left.

The victory delivered the SEC West crown to LSU, which defeated Alabama and Ole Miss to earn a trip to Atlanta for the conference championship game.

Young was 21 of 33 for 209 yards and crafted his first 3-TD game since Sept. 24 against Vanderbilt when he tossed four. Jase McClellan rushed for 84 yards on 19 carries.

Jaxson Dart was 18 of 31 for 212 yards with a TD to Mingo. Malik Heath caught six passes for 123 yards, while Quinshon Judkins ran for 135 yards on 25 carries and tallied twice, giving him a school-record 15 rushing TDs in a season.

After Judkins shoved his way in for a score in the first quarter, the Rebels’ offense moved 32 yards to set up Jonathan Cruz’s 22-yard field goal and a 10-0 lead.

Young put the Crimson Tide on the board at 8:55 by firing a 19-yard strike to Burton. But Otis Reese’s fumble recovery at midfield led to another Ole Miss score, as Judkins — from the wildcat formation — punched it in from a yard out for a 17-7 lead.

Alabama’s Terrion Arnold recovered a fumble at the Rebels 23, and Young found Latu for an 8-yard score with eight seconds left for a 17-14 Ole Miss halftime lead.

After Reichard tied it with a 39-yard field goal, Dart zipped a 3-yard ball to Mingo for a 24-17 advantage at 7:28. Young rolled out and tossed a 5-yarder to Brooks to knot the contest at 24 after three quarters.

Reichard connected again, from 23 yards, the visitors’ first lead with 11:19 left and added another from 49.

–Field Level Media

LSU Tigers running back Josh Williams (27) throws a stiff arm to Florida Gators cornerback Jaydon Hill (23) in the second half at Steve Spurrier Field at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, FL on Saturday, October 15, 2022. LSU defeated the Gators 45-35. [Doug Engle/Gainesville Sun]

Ncaa Football Florida Gators Vs Lsu Tigers

LSU looks to hand No. 7 Ole Miss first loss

It was just two weeks ago that LSU hosted a top-10 team in a Southeastern Conference game.

Things didn’t go well for the Tigers, as then-No. 8 Tennessee rolled to a 40-13 victory.

But LSU (5-2, 3-1 SEC) has a chance to redeem itself on Saturday when No. 7 Ole Miss (7-0, 3-0) makes the trip to Baton Rouge, La.

“Nobody really wants to be learning lessons after a loss,” LSU coach Brian Kelly said. “But they learned a lot about intentionality and purpose in terms of their preparation.

“I think two weeks later, it’s — I don’t want to say a different team, but it’s a team that has confidence. It’s a team that knows that if they don’t play clean, if they don’t have an attention to detail, they’ll have similar results that they did against Tennessee.”

The Tigers bounced back from the loss to the Volunteers to win on the road against Florida last week, 45-35, in what Kelly called the team’s “best performance offensively.”

Jayden Daniels threw for three touchdowns and ran for three more.

“Now we got to be consistent,” Kelly said. “Can’t do it one week and then turn it off the next week and expect to win.”

The Tigers had a 528-395 advantage in yards but allowed enough explosive plays to keep the Gators in the game.

LSU gave up a 51-yard touchdown pass on the second play of the contest and a 39-yard touchdown run later in the first quarter. An 81-yard TD scramble by Florida quarterback Anthony Richardson on the first play of the fourth quarter helped cut a 42-21 deficit to 14 points, and the Gators brought it to within seven before the Tigers kicked a late field goal.

“We just have to be better at tackling,” Kelly said.

If LSU doesn’t tackle better, it’s going to have a difficult time slowing down Ole Miss’ high-powered offense. The Rebels lead the SEC in rushing offense (271.4 yards per game) and are fourth in total offense (502.9).

Ole Miss had 448 rushing yards and three scores on the ground in a 48-34 victory against visiting Auburn last Saturday.

“Obviously, you’ve got to be realistic at any level, but especially the SEC,” Rebels coach Lane Kiffin said. “That’s not going to happen (every week).

“We’ve got to be consistent and run the ball really well. The numbers aren’t going to be like that every week. People coach. They gear up to stop certain plays once you run them. It’s not like we were just running normal inside zone and making all those yards.”

Ole Miss, like LSU, allowed a series of big plays that kept its opponent in the game. The Rebels saw a 21-0 lead shrink to four points before they regained control.

Auburn’s Tank Bigsby ran 50 yards for a touchdown and had another 50-yard run that led to a field goal.

Additionally, Auburn had pass completions of 32, 46 and 28 yards that led to touchdowns.

“We jumped out of some gaps and missed some tackles,” Kiffin said. “That’s usually what goes on in the run game for explosive runs.”

The Rebels are the only team in the SEC West that hasn’t lost a conference game, but LSU (tied with Alabama at 3-1) can match their record with a victory Saturday.

–Field Level Media

Oct 15, 2022; Oxford, Mississippi, USA; Mississippi Rebels quarterback Jaxson Dart (2) is tackled by Auburn Tigers safety Donovan Kaufman (1) during the first quarter at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports

No. 9 Ole Miss runs past Auburn 48-34

Quinshon Judkins, Zach Evans and Jaxson Dart each rushed for over 100 yards as No. 9 Ole Miss beat Auburn 48-34 on Saturday in Southeastern Conference play at Oxford, Miss.

In defeating Auburn at home for the first time since 2012, with one victory later vacated, the Rebels led 21-0 but saw the Tigers make it a one-score game three times in the second half.

Judkins ran for 139 yards on 25 carries with two TDs on the ground and one receiving for Ole Miss (7-0, 3-0 SEC), while Evans notched 136 yards on 21 attempts with a rushing and receiving score.

Dart went 9 of 19 for 130 yards with three touchdowns and an interception, while also rushing for 115 yards on 14 carries. Dayton Wade caught a TD pass for the Rebels.

Ole Miss rushed for 448 yards on 69 carries and totaled 578 yards of offense.

Tank Bigsby carried 20 times for 179 yards and two scores for Auburn (3-4, 1-3), while quarterback Robby Ashford was 8 of 17 for 140 yards and two interceptions. He rushed for 35 yards and two TDs.

On its third series, Ole Miss was set up when safety A.J. Finley made a diving interception of Ashford. Dart then found Wade from 35 yards out for a TD and a 7-0 lead with 6:42 remaining in the opening quarter. Dart pushed it to 14-0 when he hit Evans for 23 yards with 2:43 remaining in the first quarter.

Following three ineffective series, Auburn replaced Ashford with T.J. Finley, who hadn’t played since Sept. 17 with a shoulder sprain. Early in the second quarter, a fumble recovery by defensive end Jared Ivey on a sack of Finley, in the quarterback’s only series, led to Evans’ 3-yard run and a 21-0 lead early in the second quarter.

Auburn answered with a pair of 2-yard scoring runs from Ashford and Bigsby to trim the deficit to 21-14 in the second quarter. Judkins’ 7-yard catch for Ole Miss and Anders Carlson’s 42-yard field goal for Auburn had the Rebels up 28-17 at halftime.

After Bigsby’s 50-yard TD run early in the second half got Auburn to within 28-24, Jonathan Cruz booted a 23-yard field goal for a 31-24 edge. Following a successful onside kick, the Rebels cashed in on the extra possession with Judkins’ 5-yard run for a 38-24 lead.

Ashford’s second TD cut it to 38-31, but Cruz (42 yards) and Carlson (28) traded field goals as Ole Miss led 41-34.

Judkins’ 41-yard burst with 6:26 remaining provided the final margin, but Ole Miss had to wait out a nearly hour-long weather delay to snap its six-game losing streak in the series.

–Field Level Media

Brett Favre played 20 seasons in the NFL.

Syndication Usa Today

Brett Favre: ‘I did not know’ Miss. funds were earmarked for welfare

Brett Favre responded to reports that he was involved in a widespread welfare fraud scheme in his home state of Mississippi.

Favre told Fox News Digital that he had no knowledge that any funds he requested for a volleyball facility at the University of Southern Mississippi were being diverted from welfare causes for the state’s poorest residents.

“I have been unjustly smeared in the media,” Favre said in the statement. “I have done nothing wrong, and it is past time to set the record straight.

“No one ever told me, and I did not know, that funds designated for welfare recipients were going to the University or me. I tried to help my alma mater USM, a public Mississippi state university, raise funds for a wellness center. My goal was and always will be to improve the athletic facilities at my university.”

Mississippi Today reported last month that former Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant helped Favre receive funding for the volleyball center. Favre’s daughter was a member of the Southern Miss team at the time, and Favre played his college football at the university.

Text messages showed Nancy New — who has already pleaded guilty to 13 felony counts of bribery, fraud and racketeering for her role — discussing with Favre and Bryant how to divert the welfare funds for the project. New founded the Mississippi Community Education Center, which was tasked with spending millions in federal welfare funds to help the state.

“If you were to pay me is there anyway the media can find out where it came from and how much?” Favre asked New in 2017.

After telling Favre that “we never have that information publicized,” she got back to him the next day.

“Wow, just got off the phone with Phil Bryant! He is on board with us! We will get this done!” New told Favre.

Bryant explained to Favre in a 2019 text that federal funds for the “low income community” was tightly controlled.

“Any improper use could result in violation of Federal Law. Auditors are currently reviewing the use of these funds,” the ex-governor told Favre.

But Favre is denying that he knew the money was illegally diverted.

“State agencies provided the funds to Nancy New’s charity, the Mississippi Community Education Center, which then gave the funds to the University, all with the full knowledge and approval of other State agencies, including the State-wide Institute for Higher Learning, the Governor’s office and the Attorney General’s office,” Favre’s statement said.

“I was told that the legal work to ensure that these funds could be accepted by the university was done by State attorneys and State employees.”

Favre also had been paid $1.1 million from Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) money to make speeches that, according to an auditor, Favre never made. Favre paid back the money, but the state filed a civil lawsuit against Favre seeking to recoup $228,000 in interest.

Favre’s attorney, Eric Herschmann, told Fox News that his client was never paid for a “no-show appearance.”

–Field Level Media

Oct 8, 2022; Nashville, Tennessee, USA;  Mississippi Rebels wide receiver Jonathan Mingo (1) runs up the field with a 71 yard touchdown pass against Vanderbilt Commodores linebacker De'Rickey Wright (43) during the third quarter at FirstBank Stadium.  Mandatory Credit: George Walker IV - USA TODAY Sports

Record-setting Jonathan Mingo, No. 9 Ole Miss host Auburn

Wide receiver Jonathan Mingo was superb last Saturday in leading Ole Miss to a 52-28 victory over Vanderbilt in Nashville.

Mingo will look for another strong performance Saturday when the No. 9 Rebels host struggling Auburn in Southeastern Conference action in Oxford, Miss.

Against the Commodores, Mingo totaled a school-record 247 yards receiving on nine receptions — two for scores — breaking the mark held by former teammate Elijah Moore. Two years ago, Moore established the record, also at Vanderbilt.

The conference’s leading receiver with 507 yards this season, Mingo earned SEC Co-Offensive Player of the Week honors for his play in Ole Miss’ comeback win over Vanderbilt. He shared the award with high school teammate Will Rogers, the quarterback at rival Mississippi State.

“I think that’s really cool for a guy that’s been here a long time and never complains about catches or playing time,” said Ole Miss coach Lane Kiffin, whose squad outscored Vanderbilt 35-8 over the last 30:21 of game time. “It’s awesome to use those stories (for) guys to understand there’s something to be said for working hard and doing the little things.”

Ole Miss (6-0, 2-0) hasn’t won in the series since its 27-19 road victory in 2015. Its last home win was 41-20 in 2012 — one of the Rebels’ 33 vacated victories from 2010 to 2016. Auburn is 13-2 in Oxford.

Auburn (3-3, 1-2) leads the SEC rivalry 35-10 and has six straight wins, though the 2022 season has been torturous for second-year coach Bryan Harsin, who finds himself parked on the hot seat after every loss.

After suffering a 42-10 thrashing at then-No. 2 Georgia last week, Harsin will need to master the tempo against the Rebels’ fast-break offense.

“For Ole Miss, they go fast — they’re not going to talk about time of possession,” he said. “For us, it’s just about execution and staying on the field. We need to sustain drives.”

Last season’s 31-20 win by then-No. 18 Auburn over No. 10 Ole Miss on Halloween weekend was a high point for the Tigers and a low one for the Rebels.

Both schools owned a 6-2 slate following that game, but Ole Miss quarterback Matt Corral get injured. Meanwhile, upon rising to No. 12 in the polls, Auburn lost five straight to close Harsin’s inaugural season.

This year has continued the descent for the Tigers, who have been outscored 77-47 in the second half.

With No. 1 passer T.J. Finley out with a sprain in his throwing shoulder, Robby Ashford is 59-for-123 for 874 yards with four touchdowns vs. three interceptions. Ashford, who transferred in from Oregon with four years of eligibility remaining, has rushed for 275 yards on 59 carries with a score; he has been sacked eight times and has fumbled seven times.

The Tigers opened as a 13-1/2 point underdog for Saturday’s contest — their largest margin in the series since 2001, when Ole Miss was a two-touchdown favorite but lost 27-21 at Auburn.

–Field Level Media

Oct 1, 2022; Oxford, Mississippi, USA; Kentucky Wildcats quarterback Will Levis (7) scrambles in the back field as Mississippi Rebels defensive end Tavius Robinson (95) attempts to make the tackle during the second quarter at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports

No. 14 Ole Miss gets defensive, beats No. 7 Kentucky

Ole Miss defensive lineman Tavius Robinson recovered a fumble with 51 seconds left in the game Saturday afternoon to help the No. 14 Rebels hold on for a 22-19 win over No. 7 Kentucky in in Southeastern Conference play at Oxford, Miss.

Down to the Ole Miss 12-yard line with 58 seconds left, defensive end Jared Ivey hit Kentucky quarterback Will Levis to force a fumble. Robinson pounced on the ball to seal the victory.

Quinshon Judkins rushed for 106 yards on 15 carries with a touchdown, and Zach Evans ran for a score for the Rebels (5-0, 1-0 SEC). Jaxson Dart was 15 of 29 for 213 yards with one interception.

For the Wildcats (4-1, 1-1), Will Levis went 18 of 24 for 220 yards and tossed TD passes to Tayvion Robinson and Justice Dingle. But the quarterback lost crucial fumbles on his team’s last two drives.

The SEC’s second-leading rusher last year, Chris Rodriguez Jr. made his season debut with 72 yards on 19 carries and a score.

In the first meeting as ranked teams since 1959, the Rebels scored on their second series when Evans bulled his way between the tackles from 4 yards out.

After Kentucky kicker Matt Ruffalo was wide on a 39-yard field goal attempt, Judkins dashed 48 yards for a 14-0 lead.

On the ensuing kickoff, Barion Brown’s 85-yard return set up Rodriguez’s 10-yard scoring run, but the extra point was blocked.

After a Rebels punt backed up Kentucky to its own 1, Tavius Robinson finished a blitz by forcing Levis to throw the ball away while in the end zone for a safety, making it 16-6 with 10:28 left in the first half.

Following Jonathan Cruz’s 53-yard field goal for a 19-6 Ole Miss lead, Tayvion Robinson scored on short pass from Levis, but Kentucky’s second letdown on special teams — a bobbled snap — led to another failed PAT.

In the third quarter, Dingle’s 17-yard reception and his team’s first successful extra point at 6:22 tied it at 19, but Cruz’s second field goal from 26 yards proved to be the game-winning score.

–Field Level Media

Sep 24, 2022; Oxford, Mississippi, USA; Mississippi Rebels running back Quinshon Judkins (4) runs the ball as Tulsa Golden Hurricane linebacker Brian Johnson (8) attempts to make the tackle during the first half at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports

No. 7 Kentucky gets Chris Rodriguez back vs. No. 14 Ole Miss

In a matchup of ranked Southeastern Conference teams on Saturday, No. 7 Kentucky and No. 14 Ole Miss will try to shake off last weekend’s sluggishness when they meet in Oxford, Miss.

The Wildcats (4-0, 1-0) ultimately took care of their non-conference business with Northern Illinois — a 26-point underdog — but it wasn’t easy. The Mid-American Conference’s Huskies tied the game at 14 just before halftime.

In the first minute of the second half, Kentucky quarterback Will Levis found Barion Brown for a 70-yard touchdown, and the Wildcats held on to win at home in Lexington, 31-23. Levis went 18-for-26 for 303 yards with a career-high four touchdowns.

The 300-yard game was the senior’s third this season, but he was pressured by the Huskies most of the game and was sacked five times. He connected for plays of 40, 69 and 70 yards, all for touchdowns.

“Overall, just a sluggish game,” Kentucky coach Mark Stoops said. “Good to get it behind us. … We knew it wasn’t going to be easy, and I thought we did some good things.”

The Wildcats will need better things — starting with pass protection — against the Rebels, whose defense was suffocating through its first three games before showing a few cracks in a 35-27 home win over Tulsa on Saturday.

Ole Miss (4-0, 0-0) couldn’t put away Tulsa, which arrived on the Oxford campus as a three-touchdown underdog.

The Golden Hurricane played most of the game without outstanding quarterback Davis Brin, who left in the second quarter with an injury, yet nearly matched the SEC school in yardage (462-457).

Ole Miss scored 28 points in the second quarter to take a 35-17 halftime lead, but the Rebels went scoreless in the second half.

“You would’ve thought after watching the first half of that game there’s no way we’re not going to score in the second half,” coach Lane Kiffin said. “Like anything here, we try to take negatives and turn them into teaching lessons. That was a really good one.

“You cannot expect, just because you score 35 points and have a bunch of yards in the first half, that the second half is going to go that way.”

The Rebels and Wildcats last met in 2020, when the game went to overtime, 35-35 in Lexington.

After Kentucky scored with its first possession, kicker Matt Ruffolo missed the PAT, and the Rebels took advantage as Elijah Moore caught a TD pass from Matt Corral and Luke Logan booted the extra point for a 42-41 Ole Miss victory.

Kentucky will welcome back top returning rusher Chris Rodriguez Jr., who has finished serving a four-game suspension. In his absence, Kentucky has averaged just 81.5 yards rushing — a 2.4-yard average. Kavosiey Smoke has averaged 5.2 yards on his 51 carries with one touchdown.

Last season, Rodriguez totaled 1,379 rushing yards on 225 carries with nine TDs and scored three more times with pass receptions. Against Ole Miss in 2020, he posted 133 yards and two touchdowns.

For the Rebels, true freshman Quinshon Judkins earned SEC Co-Freshman of the Week honors after gaining a career-high 140 yards on 27 rushes against Tulsa. A native of Pikeville Road, Ala., the 5-foot-11, 210-pound rusher has reached 100 all-purpose yards in three of his first four outings.

–Field Level Media

The Mississippi Department of Human Services on Monday sued retired NFL quarterback Brett Favre along with several other people and businesses to try to recover millions of misspent welfare dollars that were intended to help some of the poorest people in the U.S.

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Texts reveal ex-gov. helped Brett Favre divert welfare funds for stadium

An investigative report by Mississippi Today revealed Tuesday that former Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant helped NFL legend Brett Favre receive funding that was supposed to go to the state’s welfare agency in order to build a new volleyball center at the University of Southern Mississippi.

Text messages from 2017 and 2019 were filed this week by an attorney representing Nancy New, who has already pleaded guilty to 13 felony counts of bribery, fraud and racketeering for her role in the scheme. New was the founder of the Mississippi Community Education Center, which was tasked with spending millions in federal welfare funds to help the state.

The texts show Favre, New and Bryant discussing how to divert the welfare funds to build a $5 million volleyball stadium at Southern Miss. Favre played football at Southern Miss, and his daughter was a volleyball player there at the time some of the texts were sent.

“If you were to pay me is there anyway the media can find out where it came from and how much?” Favre asked New in 2017.

After telling Favre that “we never have that information publicized,” she got back to him the next day.

“Wow, just got off the phone with Phil Bryant! He is on board with us! We will get this done!” New told Favre.

In another text sent in July 2019, Bryant told New he had just finished meeting with Favre and asked her if they could help him with his project.

Bryant, who left office in January 2020, had previously denied helping with the scheme.

Last year, Favre paid back $600,000 to the state of Mississippi, an amount he had been paid for speeches he never gave. Favre was commissioned in 2017 and 2018 to promote a state poverty-fighting initiative, receiving $1.1 million. The State Auditor’s Office reported that he initially gave back $500,000 of the amount, but earlier this month, Favre was asked in a letter to repay the remainder plus interest.

Then, in May, the Mississippi Department of Human Services filed a civil lawsuit against Favre because he had not paid back interest on the $1.1 million that amounted to $228,000.

–Field Level Media