Nov 13, 2021; Oxford, Mississippi, USA; Mississippi Rebels tight end Casey Kelly (81) is stopped short of the endzone by Texas A&M Aggies defensive back Demani Richardson (26) and defensive back Tyreek Chappell (7) during the second quarter at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports

No. 15 Ole Miss sinks No. 11 Texas A&M

Ole Miss’ embattled defense stepped up its game and shut down No. 11 Texas A&M on Saturday night, carrying the No. 15 Rebels past the Aggies 29-19 in Oxford, Miss.

Ranked 104th in total defense entering the game, the Rebels (8-2, 4-2 SEC) blanked Texas A&M in the first half and forced two second-half turnovers that produced 14 points.

Ole Miss held advantages of 408-91 in total yardage, 23-5 in first downs and led 15-0 in the first half.

Overall, Matt Corral (24-of-37) passed for 247 yards and a score to Dontario Drummond.

Jerrion Ealy churned out 152 yards on 24 carries, and Snoop Conner rushed for his team-leading 11th touchdown.

Texas A&M’s Zach Calzada went 24-of-41 for 237 yards with two interceptions. Devon Achane ran for 110 yards on 12 rushes with two TDs for the Aggies (7-3, 4-3).

After Caden Costa’s 33-yard field goal put the Rebels on the board, Ole Miss gambled on its next series.

Possessing the most fourth-down attempts and conversions in the nation (24-of-35), coach Lane Kiffin went for it on fourth-and-goal from the 2.

Corral found Drummond open over the middle for his seventh TD to make it 10-0 at 6:48, and Costa later tacked on a 32-yarder for a 13-0 advantage.

After the Aggies’ defense made a fourth-down stand at the 1 to force a turnover on downs late in the half, Isaiah Spiller was tackled in the end zone for a safety.

Texas A&M’s offense — which did not find the end zone in last week’s win over Auburn — sputtered again, punting on its first five possessions and surrendering the safety on the sixth.

Seth Small’s 30-yard field goal put the visitors on the board five minutes into the second half, and Achane’s 24-yard scoring run on the next series trimmed it to 15-10.

Early in the fourth, the Rebels failed on a fake field goal, and the Aggies made it 15-13 with Small’s second boot — a 43-yarder with 10:19 remaining.

With the Aggies at their own 12, Ashanti Cistrunk batted down Calzada’s pass. Then the defensive back pick off Calzada on the next play, and Conner’s ensuing 13-yard TD run made it 22-13 with 6:32 left.

A.J. Finley put the game away by stepping in front of Calzada’s pass and returning the interception 52 yards for a pick-six with only 4:50 on the clock.

Achane’s second TD rounded out the scoring.

–Field Level Media

Oct 30, 2021; Auburn, Alabama, USA; Auburn Tigers wide receiver Kobe Hudson (5) is tackled by Mississippi Rebels defensive back Deane Leonard (24) during the first quarter at Jordan-Hare Stadium.  Mandatory Credit: John Reed-USA TODAY Sports

Bo Nix leads No. 18 Auburn past No. 10 Ole Miss

Bo Nix rushed for two touchdowns and passed for one as host No. 18 Auburn defeated No. 10 Ole Miss 31-20 in an SEC game Saturday night.

Nix completed 22-of-30 passes for 276 yards for the Tigers (6-2, 3-1 SEC), who remained tied in the loss column with idle No. 3 Alabama for the West division lead.

Tank Bigsby added 140 rushing yards and a touchdown on 23 carries.

Matt Corral ran for a touchdown and passed for 289 yards but did not have a touchdown pass for the Rebels (6-2, 3-2), who fell into a three-way tie for third place in the West. Corral completed 21 of 37 passes and threw one interception, just his second of the season.

Jahcour Pearson caught seven passes for 135 yards to lead an injury-depleted Rebels receiving corps.

Caden Costa’s 49-yard field goal produced the only points of the third quarter and got Ole Miss within 28-20. The Rebels turned the ball over on downs at the Tigers’ 20 and 13 in the period.

Anders Carlson, who missed a 43-yard field goal in the third quarter, made a 28-yarder to increase the lead to 31-20 with 10:52 remaining in the game.

Ole Miss reached a first down at the Auburn 14 early in the fourth quarter, but Jaylin Simpson intercepted Corral in the end zone.

The Rebels got the ball back on a fumble recovery, but Corral threw an interception on fourth-and-3 at the Tigers 18 with 4:42 left.

Nix concluded the first possession of the game with an 11-yard touchdown run.

Costa kicked a 29-yard field goal before Bigsby ran one yard for a touchdown that gave the Tigers a 14-3 lead at the end of the first quarter.

Snoop Conner’s 13-yard touchdown run pulled the Rebels within 14-10.

Nix ran seven yards for a touchdown and Corral answered with an 11-yard touchdown run.

A nine-yard touchdown pass from Nix to Jarquez Hunter gave Auburn a 28-17 halftime lead.

–Field Level Media

Oct 23, 2021; Oxford, Mississippi, USA; Mississippi Rebels quarterback Matt Corral (2) rushes for a touchdown during the first half against the LSU Tigers at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

No. 10 Ole Miss hopes to continue success vs. No. 18 Auburn

After snapping a five-game losing streak to a rival Tigers team last Saturday at home, No. 10 Ole Miss will try to duplicate the feat on the road a week later against another Tigers squad.

The Rebels (6-1, 3-1) will stay in SEC West play by visiting No. 18 Auburn (5-2, 2-1) on Saturday night.

Ole Miss is second in the division and Auburn is third. Alabama (7-1, 4-1) is first.

Ole Miss’ Lane Kiffin made history this week when he became the third Rebels coach to enter the top 10 in his second season — joining Houston Nutt (2009) and Johnny Vaught (1948).

After Kiffin’s squad beat LSU 31-17 in Oxford to break the Tigers’ reign of five straight wins in the series, the Rebels will try to do the same against Auburn.

The Rebels’ most recent win against the school was in 2015 when former Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze and quarterback Chad Kelly led the team to victories over both powerhouse programs in Alabama.

In vying for another streak-breaking win, Kiffin’s defense will try to contain a version of its star quarterback, Matt Corral, in Auburn’s shifty Bo Nix.

In addition to being sharp passers, Corral and Nix possess elite running skills. The Ole Miss quarterback is gutsy and more north-south, while the Auburn signal-caller is a devil-may-care gunslinger who darts out of the pocket and often zig-zags across the gridiron.

A common adage regarding Nix is who will Auburn get on any given Saturday — Good Bo or Bad Bo?

But Nix, a junior from Pinson, Ala., is trending up after passing for a season-high 292 yards and two scores and rushing for 42 — including a 23-yard touchdown run that sealed the Tigers’ 38-23 road upset of Arkansas two weeks ago.

He got a boost from his much-maligned receiving corps in Fayetteville and has taken care of the ball, tossing just two interceptions in 211 attempts after throwing seven in 2020.

“Basically, we have people like that, have to stay in your lanes, you got to push the pocket, you have to keep your eyes on him and not try to speed rush,” said Kiffin of controlling the evasive Nix, who has passed for 1,488 yards and rushed for 159.

With last week’s bye giving his Tigers two weeks to prepare, Auburn coach Bryan Harsin has had his attention on the cunning Corral, who has become the dominant variable in the Heisman Trophy equation after improving his ball security in 2021.

The Ventura, Calif., junior had 29 TD passes but 14 interceptions in performing inconsistently last season. This year, though, he has 15 TD passes and a lone interception while passing for 1,913 yards.

Corral, who has 474 rushing yards, is tied with backfield mate Snoop Conner and Missouri’s Tyler Badie with nine scores on the ground, second in the conference to Alabama’s Brian Robinson (11).

“A big part of that is their style of offense and their quarterback and his play,” said Harsin, whose squad will face its fourth ranked opponent of the season. “Front-runner for the Heisman. Completing about 70 percent of his passes.

“He runs the ball hard, he’s a physical player at that position, and he’s shown that throughout the entire season.”

Auburn leads the all-time series 34-11.

–Field Level Media

Oct 2, 2021; Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA;  Mississippi Rebels head coach Lane Kiffin reacts after turning the ball over against the Alabama Crimson Tide during the second half of an NCAA college football game at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports

Lane Kiffin apologizes for ‘rude’ scene with sideline reporter

Saying he just “got caught up in emotions” before his team’s game on Saturday, Ole Miss coach Lane Kiffin apologized Monday for cutting short an interview with a sideline reporter by urging the audience to “get your popcorn ready.”

The incident happened moments before the Rebels took the field against top-rated Alabama in Tuscaloosa, Ala.

Kiffin was being interviewed by CBS’ Jamie Erdahl when he blurted out the popcorn comment, perhaps hinting at a high-scoring game to come, and then tossed the headset he had been wearing toward a cameraman and headed for the Ole Miss sideline.

Kiffin, who is in his second season coaching Ole Miss, said it didn’t take long for him to realize that he “said something really stupid,” and remarked to his offensive coordinator, Jeff Lebby, who calls plays for the Rebels, “You better score a lot of points.”

Erdahl was about to ask another question when the incident occurred, and Kiffin said he didn’t realize until later how “rude” the scene came off.

“They were calling for kickoff return, there’s 30 seconds on the clock and the refs are calling for us. I didn’t know there was another question,” Kiffin said.

“When I found out afterwards that it looked rude, which it did, I contacted Jamie and made sure that she knew that was not on purpose,” he said. “I apologize for that. It was not done on purpose at all. Looked like it, though. I saw it.”

Kiffen said he actually referred to the comment again at halftime, when his team was down 28-0. He jokingly told Lebby that the Rebels apparently “didn’t plug the microwave in.”

Last season, Ole Miss put up 48 points and gained 647 yards against Alabama in a 63-48 loss, the most points and yards the Crimson Tide allowed all season.

The Rebels (3-1, 0-1 Southeastern Conference) lost 42-21 to Alabama in their league opener. They return home to face No. 13 Arkansas on Saturday.

–Field Level Media

Sep 18, 2021; Oxford, Mississippi, USA; Mississippi Rebels head coach Lane Kiffen looks on from the sideline during their game against the Tulane Green Wave at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

No. 13 Arkansas, No. 17 Ole Miss meet with tough tasks behind them

Following one-sided defeats against the nation’s top two teams last week, No. 13 Arkansas and No. 17 Ole Miss hope to return to the success they had before October arrived.

Both SEC teams lost for the first time this season and will square off in a West Division matchup Saturday at Oxford, Miss.

The Razorbacks (4-1, 1-1) were humbled 37-0 by No. 2 Georgia last week, while the Rebels dropped a 42-21 decision to No. 1 Alabama.

Much of the issues for both losing teams came down to offenses that could not produce against mammoth defenses.

Arkansas sputtered against Georgia’s ferocious defense, mustering just 162 yards as the Bulldogs authored consecutive SEC shutouts for the first time since their last national championship season in 1980.

“Guys,” Arkansas head coach Sam Pittman said, “I don’t want to simplify this, but they just whipped us physically. We’re just not where we need to be physically yet.”

Pittman and his defense — which yielded 273 of 345 yards in the ground against Georgia — will face a different type of foe in Ole Miss, with head coach Lane Kiffin’s fast-paced offense.

While the Bulldogs were physical, shoving around the Arkansas defenders for 4.9 yards per carry, the Rebels will present more of a tactical battle, with quarterback Matt Corral getting rid of the ball quickly while showing the defense multiple sets.

“We won’t have a problem regrouping,” Pittman said of his squad. “We won four games in a row, beat a 15th-ranked (Texas) and seventh-ranked (Texas A&M). … I think our kids will respond and play well versus a really good Ole Miss team.”

The Razorbacks have won five of the last seven meetings with the Rebels and hold a 36-30-1 record all-time against them.

Kiffin attempted to be all business before his Rebels clashed with Alabama last weekend.

He took just one question from a sideline reporter, tossed aside his headset and sprinted away. The demeanor suggested supreme focus in his return to face a school he coached for three years as offensive coordinator.

Except that business was mostly bad against the top-ranked Crimson Tide, especially during the most crucial moments.

The Rebels (3-1, 0-1) gambled five times on fourth down, failing on three of them. They also lost a fumble.

Alabama scored four touchdowns off the exchanges, owned a 28-0 halftime advantage and was never threatened.

“I’m sure I got killed going for it on fourth down,” Kiffin said. “but that’s analytics. We believe in our players and it doesn’t work all the time. When it doesn’t work and you follow the book, it doesn’t look good.”

The Ole Miss offense generated just 291 yards, the lowest total in the second-year coach’s 14 games in Oxford. The Rebels rushed for just 78 yards on 34 attempts (2.3 yards per carry).

The wide receiving corps was without second-leading performer Jonathan Mingo (foot), who is also unlikely to play Saturday.

Last season in a 33-21 loss at Arkansas, the Rebels netted 442 yards, including 242 on the ground on 53 tries (4.6 per carry).

–Field Level Media

Sep 18, 2021; Oxford, Mississippi, USA; Mississippi Rebels quarterback Matt Corral (2) scores against Tulane Green Wave at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

Matt Corral (7 TDs) leads No. 17 Ole Miss in rout

Matt Corral tied an Ole Miss record by producing seven touchdowns — four rushing, three passing — as the No. 17 Rebels throttled Tulane 61-21 in a weather-delayed contest Saturday night in Oxford, Miss.

Corral — 23-of-31 for 335 yards and no interceptions — tossed a scoring pass for his 15th straight game and added 68 yards rushing on 13 carries. He did all of his scoring in three quarters.

The Rebels (3-0) received two touchdowns from Dontario Drummond (rushing, receiving), and a scoring reception from Jonathan Mingo (six catches, career-high 136 yards) and Braylon Sanders. Henry Parrish Jr. rushed for one. Jerrion Ealy rushed 15 times for a game-high 105 yards.

Drummond scored via the air for the eighth consecutive contest — the longest active streak in the FBS.

Ole Miss won for the 12th straight time in the series, moved to 13-2 against Tulane in Oxford, and started a season with three wins for the first time since 2015.

Cameron Carroll, Shae Wyatt and Tyrick James scored for the New Orleans-based Green Wave (1-2), who have been training in Tuscaloosa, Ala., at the Crimson Tide’s facility in the wake of Hurricane Ida.

Michael Pratt played three quarters and finished 10-for-18 for 166 yards with two TDs and no picks.

In a matchup featuring two of the top FBS offenses, Ole Miss notched 707 total yards to Tulane’s 305.

Kickoff between the former SEC foes was delayed nearly two hours because of day-long rain and lightning, but Ole Miss showed the soaked home fans that the wait was worth it.

In an explosive first half, Parrish dashed 19 yards for the first score. Corral called his own number on a 9-yard draw and again later on a 15-yard run.

After Carroll put Tulane on the board with a plunge, Corral rushed for one and threw for another to give the Rebels a 26-7 lead.

Pratt’s 39-yard strike to Wyatt with 7:21 left before halftime gave the second-year freshman quarterback a passing TD in all 13 games of his career.

But Corral hit Mingo for 50 yards and Drummond scampered in as the Rebels led 40-21 at the half.

In the second half, Corral ran for two more scores and the Rebels were never threatened in the nonconference victory.

–Field Level Media

Sep 6, 2021; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Mississippi Rebels quarterback Matt Corral (2) passes the ball against the Louisville Cardinals during the first half at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Matt Corral’s 381-yard passing performance leads Rebels over Cardinals

Matt Corral passed for 381 yards and a touchdown and added a rushing touchdown as Ole Miss rolled past Louisville 43-24 in the season opener for both teams Monday night in Atlanta.

Corral completed 22 of 32 passes and threw his touchdown to Dontario Drummond, who finished with 9 catches for 177 yards.

Snoop Conner rushed for two touchdowns and Jerrion Early rushed for one for Ole Miss. The Rebels played without head coach Lane Kiffin, who did not attend the game after announcing Saturday that he had tested positive for COVID-19.

The Cardinals didn’t score until James Turner kicked a 38-yard field goal early in the third quarter, but Caden Costa answered with a 38-yarder of his own that gave the Rebels a 29-3 lead.

Malik Cunningham threw a 4-yard touchdown pass to Braden Smith on fourth and 3 to get Louisville within 29-10 at the end of the third quarter.

Conner’s 11-yard touchdown run increased the lead to 36-10 less than a minute into the fourth quarter.

Cunningham, the Cardinals’ leading rusher with 79 yards, ran a yard for a touchdown on fourth and goal midway through the period. He completed 22 of 37 passes for 191 yards with one touchdown and one interception.

Corral and Drummond teamed on a 6-yard touchdown pass and Cunningham scored on a 9-yard run to complete the scoring.

The Rebels received the opening kickoff and drove 94 yards in 11 plays. Early rushed 1 yard for a touchdown and a 6-0 lead.

Costa added a 47-yard field goal that increased the lead to 9-0 at the end of the first quarter.

Ole Miss had another long drive in the second quarter as Corral’s 6-yard touchdown run completed a 9-play, 93-yard march that produced a 16-0 lead.

Deantre Prince intercepted Cunningham, leading to Conner’s 1-yard run and 23-0 lead.

Costa’s 22-yard field goal gave the Rebels a 26-0 halftime lead.

Dec 19, 2020; Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA;  Mississippi Rebels wide receiver Dontario Drummond (11) is tackled by LSU Tigers linebacker Josh White (10) at Tiger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

LSU forces 6 turnovers, rallies to defeat Ole Miss

Max Johnson passed for 435 yards and three touchdowns to Kayshon Boutte, who had an SEC-record 308 receiving yards, as LSU defeated Ole Miss, 53-48, in an SEC game Saturday in Baton Rouge, La.

Johnson and Boutte connected on a 45-yard game-winner with 1:34 left and the Tigers held on when JaCoby Stevens recovered Matt Corral’s fumble at the LSU 27 with 40 seconds left.

It was the sixth turnover for Corral, who passed for 251 yards and three touchdowns and rushed for 158 yards and a touchdown. However, he threw five interceptions before the fumble.

LSU finished 5-5 a year after winning the CFP Championship with a 15-0 record. The Tigers have self-imposed a postseason ban amid an NCAA investigation into the program.

The Rebels fell to 4-5, but still are likely to receive a bowl bid.

Ole Miss overcame a 16-point third-quarter deficit and led 48-40 before Johnson started the LSU comeback by running one yard for a touchdown, though his two-point pass attempt fell incomplete.

LSU led 34-21 at halftime and on the first possession of the third quarter, Corral threw his fifth interception, Jay Ward grabbed his second, leading to Cade York’s 23-yard field goal.

Henry Parrish Jr.’s 10-yard touchdown run and Corral’s 5-yard touchdown pass to Dontario Drummond pulled the Rebels within 37-34.

York kicked a 50-yard field goal before Corral threw a 25-yard touchdown to Braylon Sanders to give the Rebels a 41-40 lead at the seven seconds into the fourth quarter.

Corral threw a 20-yard touchdown pass to Sanders on the first possession of the game.

The Tigers drove to York’s 34-yard field goal and Ward intercepted Corral and returned 31 yards for a touchdown that gave them a 10-7 lead at the end of the first quarter.

Johnson’s 1-yard touchdown run increased the Tigers’ lead to 17-7, but Jerrion Ealy returned the ensuing kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown.

LSU answered with Johnson’s 32-yard touchdown pass before Parrish ran one yard for a touchdown that pulled Ole Miss within 24-21.

Johnson connected with Boutte for an 18-yard touchdown pass that gave the Tigers a 31-21 lead. York’s 34-yard field goal increased LSU’s lead to 34-21 at halftime.

–Field Level Media