Nov 25, 2021; Starkville, Mississippi, USA; Mississippi Rebels running back Snoop Conner (24) dives into the endzone against the Mississippi State Bulldogs during the second quarter at Davis Wade Stadium at Scott Field. Mandatory Credit: Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports

No. 9 Ole Miss gets to 10 wins with victory over rival Mississippi State

Snoop Conner rushed for two touchdowns as No. 9 Ole Miss set a school record for regular-season wins by topping host Mississippi State 31-21 Thursday in the Egg Bowl in Starkville, Miss.

On a rainswept night against its rival, the Rebels’ defense contained the Bulldogs’ Air Raid offense led by Will Rogers for the majority of the game and helped the visitors lock up second-place in the SEC West.

The victory resulted in the first 10-win regular season in school history.

Ole Miss (10-2, 6-2) owns seven 10-win seasons but all include bowl wins.

Junior Matt Corral was 25 of 33 for 229 yards with a TD and an interception. He rushed for 45 yards and a score.

Dontario Drummond grabbed a season-high 13 catches for 133 yards for the Rebels, who claimed their second straight series win and own a 64-46-6 advantage in the 120-year rivalry.

In his 10th consecutive 300-yard passing game, Rogers was 38-for-58 for 336 yards with a TD for the Bulldogs (7-5, 4-4).

Mississippi State stuffed Jerrion Ealy on a fourth-down run at the Ole Miss 33 on the game’s first series, and Bulldogs kicker Nolan McCord drilled a 34-yard field goal.

With Rebels standout kicker Caden Costa unavailable, walk-on Cale Nation connected from 25 yards on the next possession, but McCord answered from 29 yards for a 6-3 lead.

A troublesome area for the Bulldogs, the kicking game struggled later as McCord missed wide right from 40.

Capping a 16-play, 78-yard drive on the next series, Conner bulled in for a 10-6 lead with 2:21 left in the half.

The Bulldogs closed the half in disastrous fashion in the red zone with a holding penalty, three dropped passes — two that would have scored touchdowns — and McCord pushing a 33-yarder wide right again.

Ole Miss went up 17-6 early in the third when Corral’s 15-yard scramble set up Conner’s short TD.

Sam Williams’ second sack of Rogers — the defensive lineman’s school-record 12 1/2 this season — forced a turnover on downs at the Ole Miss 39 late in the third.

Corral spun into the end zone on a draw from four yards out at 11:17.

After Jett Johnson’s 48-yard interception return, Rogers hit Jaden Walley over the middle from 11 yards at 7:20 of the fourth for a score.

Jo’quavious Marks’ 11-yard scoring run and two-point conversion pass from Rogers to Makai Polk came three minutes after Ealy’s 15-yard pass reception over the left side for a touchdown.

–Field Level Media

Nov 20, 2021; Oxford, Mississippi, USA; Mississippi Rebels quarterback Matt Corral (2) makes a pass against the Vanderbilt Commodores during the first quarter at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports

No. 12 Ole Miss tops Vanderbilt to finish 7-0 at home

Matt Corral passed for 326 yards and two scores to lead No. 12 Ole Miss to a 31-17 win over Vanderbilt, wrapping up the Rebels’ home schedule in Oxford, Miss.

Ole Miss (9-2, 5-2 Southeastern Conference) needed help from Arkansas earlier in the day to stay alive in the SEC West race, but Alabama defeated the Razorbacks 42-35 to earn a spot in the conference title game in Atlanta.

That did not deter Corral — projected to be a high first-round NFL Draft selection — in his final home start.

The Ventura, Calif., native finished 27 of 36 with an interception — just his third overall. He also rushed for 29 yards on seven carries.

The Rebels’ Jerrion Ealy carried nine times for 55 yards with a rushing and receiving touchdown, and Henry Parrish Jr. ran for a score. Dontario Drummond caught seven passes for 81 yards and a TD.

Ole Miss posted a 7-0 mark at home — its first undefeated season in Oxford since 1992.

The Commodores (2-9, 0-7) never led and lost for the sixth straight time.

Mike Wright started at quarterback and went 22 of 44 for 241 yards with an interception. He added 61 rushing yards on 13 carries.

Rocko Griffin rushed 26 times for 117 yards with a score and Chris Pierce totaled 113 yards on 10 catches for Vanderbilt, which has dropped 20 consecutive SEC contests.

In a great start for its offense, Ole Miss traveled 65 yards on just five plays in 67 seconds. Corral capped the drive with an 8-yard toss to Ealy for a 7-0 lead.

After forcing a Vanderbilt punt, the home team went 57 yards, eventually settling for Caden Costa’s 28-yard boot to make it 10-0 at 10:18.

Following a 49-yard field goal by Joseph Bulovas, Corral added on by working a run-pass option that led to a flip to Drummond, who tight-roped down the sideline and into the end zone from 10 yards out for 17-3 lead at 12:51 of the second.

Bulovas booted two more true kicks — 33 and 41 yards — sandwiched around Ealy’s 4-yard scoring run as the Rebels owned a 24-9 halftime edge.

Following a scoreless third that saw Ole Miss post just three first downs, Parrish and Griffin traded TDs on the ground to finish the scoring.

Deantre Prince made an incredible, toe-tapping interception of Wright at the Ole Miss 3 to ice the victory.

–Field Level Media

Oct 23, 2021; Oxford, Mississippi, USA; Mississippi Rebels quarterback Matt Corral (2) gives direction prior to the snap during the first half against the LSU Tigers at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports

Ole Miss QB Matt Corral implies he’s heading to NFL draft

Ole Miss quarterback Matt Corral all but announced that he’ll give up his final year of eligibility and enter the 2022 NFL Draft.

In a long and emotional note posted to social media late Friday, Corral said he would be playing his final home game in Oxford on Saturday and thanked numerous people who have helped him in his Rebels career, as well as his teammates.

“I really mean it when I say this team means something to me,” he wrote. “The other leaders and I formed a bond on this team that came together when times were tough. When nobody was clapping for us, we were the ones holding it together. The love on this team was and is unmatched. It’s something that I will forever remember. Locker rooms like this are rare.

“Thank you Ole Miss and my brothers and I look forward to finishing this journey with Rebel Pride.”

Corral, a Southern Californian, was a four-star recruit in the Class of 2018.

Entering Saturday’s game against Vanderbilt, Corral has thrown for 2,774 yards with 17 touchdown passes and two interceptions in 10 games this season. He has run the ball for 523 yards and 10 scores.

Ole Miss is ranked No. 12 in the nation.

–Field Level Media

Nov 13, 2021; Oxford, Mississippi, USA; Texas A&M Aggies running back Devon Achane (6) runs the ball against Mississippi Rebels defensive back Otis Reese (3) during the third quarter at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports

No. 12 Ole Miss hopes to impose defensive will against Vanderbilt

Ole Miss has made its name on offense, but on Saturday the Rebels looked more like the dominant defensive team they would like to see across from them in Atlanta next month — No. 1 Georgia.

The No. 12 Rebels will try to bring the same shutdown defense they used in a 29-19 win over Texas A&M last weekend when they host Vanderbilt on Saturday night in their final home game of the season in Oxford, Miss.

With two more Southeastern Conference games left — they finish at rival Mississippi State –the Rebels’ only chance to get the SEC Championship Game is if their neighbors in Tuscaloosa stumble twice.

Alabama closes with Saturday’s home game against Arkansas and at rival Auburn, with the No. 2 Crimson Tide having a slim likelihood of losing twice.

But if Ole Miss (8-2, 4-2) is victorious in its last two and puts together its best regular season since 2015, the chances are still good coach Lane Kiffin’s squad will play in a New Year’s Six contest.

The Rebels’ yeoman effort against the then-No. 11 Aggies was undeniably impressive: They kept the visitors off the board for the first 34:57 of the game.

With the Aggies staging a fourth-quarter rally, the secondary snagged two interceptions of Zach Calzada: Ashanti Cistrunk’s to set up a score and AJ Finley’s 52-yard pick-six that chalked the game up in the win column.

“I wouldn’t really say it was a schematic thing because we’ve been doing the same things defensively, but I think we came together and got closer,” Finley said. “We took it kind of personally to improve our defense as a whole.”

Ole Miss ran 93 plays to the Aggies’ 70 and outgained them 504-378 in yardage, with the first half being extremely one-sided.

Sam Williams has set a school record with 10.5 sacks on Ole Miss’ three-man defensive front — at least one in eight of the 10 games played.

“I don’t think there’s a defensive lineman that has played as many snaps as him in the country,” Kiffin said. “It has been unbelievable. He has games in the 60s and 70s. He’s been a warrior for us.”

Kicker Caden Costa, who has made 13 of 16 field goal attempts, including all eight inside 40 yards, was named SEC Freshman of the Week after drilling two against the Aggies.

Mired in the SEC East’s basement under first-year head coach Clark Lea, Vanderbilt (2-8, 0-6) has lost five straight — all conference games — and has not won since a last-second field goal by Joseph Bulovas beat UConn 30-28 on Oct. 2.

The Commodores fell behind by four touchdowns in the first half against Kentucky, eventually losing 34-17, last Saturday.

Against the Wildcats’ defense, Ken Seals struggled — completing 12 of 17 passes for just 87 yards and tossing one interception.

Seals, who missed the three previous games with an injured finger, was replaced by Mike Wright to start the second half.

Wright completed all but four of his 11 passes. He tossed a pair of 8-yard scoring TDs to Chris Pierce Jr. and Amir Abdur-Rahman.

“Ken got hurt in the first half. We’ve got to get a feel for the extent of the injury,” Lea said. “I don’t feel it necessary right now to project who will be starting next week.”

Ole Miss is 53-36-2 all-time against the Commodores, who have dropped 19 consecutive SEC games and two straight in this series, which includes a 54-21 loss in 2020.

–Field Level Media

Oct 30, 2021; Auburn, Alabama, USA; Mississippi Rebels head coach Lane Kiffin talks with quarterback Matt Corral (2) during the second quarter against the Auburn Tigers at Jordan-Hare Stadium.  Mandatory Credit: John Reed-USA TODAY Sports

No. 15 Ole Miss plots takedown of No. 11 Texas A&M

Texas A&M has its sights set on the Southeastern Conference’s West Division title — a goal that requires winning the next two games.

The first takes place Saturday night in Oxford, Miss., where the Aggies — ranked 11th in the latest CFP poll — will attempt to push their four-game winning streak to five when they face No. 15 Ole Miss.

The Aggies (7-2, 4-2) are riding strong momentum, starting with their 41-38 victory on Oct. 9 over then top-ranked Alabama (8-1, 5-1). The Crimson Tide are still the squad the Aggies are chasing for a first division crown.

Subsequent victories over Missouri, South Carolina and Auburn have put Texas A&M in a prime spot, though they do not control their fate.

Ole Miss (7-2, 3-2) and Auburn (6-3, 3-2) also sit near the top with two losses.

The Crimson Tide defeated Ole Miss on Oct. 2 and still must play Auburn in the Iron Bowl on Nov. 27.

However, with the Aggies beating Auburn 20-3 last week and holding the win over Alabama, a victory this week against the Rebels and Nov. 27 over LSU would give them a shot for the West’s top spot.

But to get there, A&M needs help. Alabama has to stumble at home against Arkansas on Nov. 20 or at arch-rival Auburn, which would award the West to the Aggies due to the head-to-head victory.

At home last weekend, the Aggies held Auburn and standout quarterback Bo Nix to three points and 226 total yards — both lows for the season.

It marked the first time the Aggies held a top-25 team without a touchdown since 2010 when they edged No. 9 Nebraska 9-6.

They logged four sacks against the Tigers — their fourth game this season with at least four sacks.

“Defense was outstanding. We did a really good job of pressuring them,” said Texas A&M coach Jimbo Fisher, whose defense scored the game’s only TD.

The Aggies have won nine of the past 12 contests against Ole Miss.

Rebels coach Lane Kiffin watched his team do whatever it wanted to on offense and defense in the first 30 minutes of its 27-14 victory over Liberty and talented quarterback Malik Willis last Saturday.

The Rebels produced seven sacks and two interceptions of Willis — a highly rated NFL prospect — and led 24-0 at halftime behind the strong running of Jerrion Ealy.

Kiffin’s club was outscored 14-3 in the second half and needed a late third pick of the ex-Auburn quarterback Willis to seal the win.

Ealy ran for 115 yards and two touchdowns and Matt Corral threw for 324 yards and a score, but the lackluster, TD-less second half resulted in the first meeting between the schools being closer than expected.

ESPN’s College GameDay will make its second appearance Saturday in Oxford. The first time came in 2014.

In that one, No. 11 Ole Miss – then-0-10 all-time versus No.1-ranked teams – rallied past top-ranked Alabama 23-17 behind two late Bo Wallace TD passes.

Kiffin — the Crimson Tide’s offensive coordinator that day — has his mind set on a particular guest picker this weekend.

“It would be Katy Perry, that’s a no-brainer,” Kiffin said Monday. “I just like when things have worked before … I’ve seen this script before and this movie where Katy Perry shows up and Ole Miss wins. I was on the other side of it.

“It worked before, let’s do it again.”

–Field Level Media

Nov 6, 2021; Oxford, Mississippi, USA; Liberty Flames head coach Hugh Freeze walks down the sideline during the first quarter against the Mississippi Rebels at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports

Ole Miss apologizes for Twitter account trolling Hugh Freeze

Officials from Ole Miss apologized for a pair of since-deleted tweets from the school’s official football Twitter account that trolled Hugh Freeze on Saturday following the Rebels’ 27-14 win over Liberty at Oxford, Miss.

The tweets focused on events that occurred during Freeze’s coaching tenure at both Ole Miss and Liberty.

The first read, “If you have complaints about this result, send it to lufootball@liberty.edu. If not, please do not slander these young men or insult their family.”

That reference stems from a tweet from Freeze in 2013 that challenged allegations of NCAA violations. The end result was Ole Miss was placed on probation in 2017 and received a two-year bowl ban and scholarship reductions.

The second tweet from the Ole Miss football account included a picture of Freeze coaching from a hospital bed two years ago while recovering from surgery following a strand of staph infection that complicated a herniated disc in his back.

“These tweets were unfortunate and not who we are in Ole Miss athletics,” Ole Miss athletic director Keith Carter told ESPN. “When I found out about them, they were immediately taken down. I have spoken with (Liberty athletic director) Ian McCaw to relay my sincere apology. We will work to do better in the future.”

Ole Miss coach Lane Kiffin offered his apologies to Freeze and Liberty when informed of the tweets.

“I have no affiliation with the Ole Miss football Twitter site, even though it may sound strange, and I first learned about the tweets after my press conference when Keith Carter told me about them,” Kiffin told ESPN. “I’m completely embarrassed that anyone would put something out there like that making it look like it was a part of Ole Miss football. It was extremely disrespectful, bush league and classless, and I apologize, even though I had nothing to do with it, to Liberty and Hugh Freeze.”

–Field Level Media

Nov 6, 2021; Oxford, Mississippi, USA;  Mississippi Rebels running back Jerrion Ealy (9) runs the ball against the Liberty Flames during a play that would result in a touchdown in the first quarter at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports

No. 16 Ole Miss harasses Malik Willis, Liberty, 27-14

Jerrion Ealy rushed for 115 yards and two touchdowns and No. 16 Ole Miss’ defense hounded Liberty star quarterback Malik Willis in a 27-14 victory Saturday, spoiling the homecoming of former Rebels coach Hugh Freeze in Oxford, Miss.

The running back found paydirt twice as the Rebels led 24-0 in the first half — one in which the defense sacked Willis seven times.

Ole Miss (7-2) recorded nine sacks and three interceptions of Willis, a high first-round draft projection playing in front of 22 NFL scouts and executives.

He ended up 16-of-25 for 173 yards and rushed 21 times for 71 yards and a 3-yard touchdown.

In the first half, Jaylon Jones recorded his first career interception, and AJ Finley also added a pick of Willis.

For Ole Miss, Matt Corral went 20-of-27 for 324 yards and tossed a scoring pass to Dannis Jackson, who snared six passes for a game-high 126 yards.

John Rhys Plumlee had 110 yards on seven receptions.

An Oxford native and Rebels head coach for five seasons, Freeze resigned in 2017 amid recruiting and personal conduct scandals.

The Flames (7-3) got 101 yards and a score on seven carries from Shedro Lewis. Joshua Mack posted 98 yards on 19 rushes.

In the first meeting between the two schools, the Rebels were an unwelcoming host to their former coach immediately — scoring 17 unanswered points in the game’s first 17 minutes.

On the game’s second play from scrimmage, Ealy made it 7-0 by taking a handoff and racing untouched on a season-long 70-yard dash.

After Liberty’s Brayden Beck missed wide left on a field-goal attempt from 38 yards, Caden Costa pushed Ole Miss’ lead to 10-0 by nailing a 43-yarder.

Ealy’s four-yard run capped a four-play, 58-yard drive as the Rebels tallied for the third time in four series.

Finley’s interception set up the first half’s final score — Corral’s 40-yard pass to Jackson on a crossing route with 1:27 to go to make it 24-0.

Liberty struck on a 75-yard drive to open the second half, with Lewis racing 28 yards for his fourth TD of the season, but Costa answered with a 38-yard field goal for a 27-7 Ole Miss advantage midway through the third quarter.

Willis scored on his 3-yard TD run late in the third quarter as the Flames pulled to within two scores, 27-14.

But Finley sealed the win with his second pick of Willis in the game’s last minute and Liberty deep in Ole Miss territory.

–Field Level Media

Dec 21, 2019; Orlando, Florida, USA; Liberty Flames head coach Hugh Freeze (middle) celebrates with his team after winning the Cure Bowl  against Georgia the Southern Eagles at Exploria Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Hugh Freeze returns to Ole Miss with Liberty hunting upset

Homecoming has already come and gone at Ole Miss, but Liberty football head coach Hugh Freeze makes his return this Saturday.

The No. 15 Rebels (6-2) entertain the Flames – led by the ex-Ole Miss coach — in a non-conference game while attempting to regain their footing after a loss against Auburn.

An Oxford, Miss., native, the third-year coach at Liberty (7-2) will return to his hometown and former school after he resigned in disgrace in July of 2017.

Ole Miss was punished after its staff committed numerous recruiting violations under Freeze, while the coach’s issues stemmed from calls he made on a school-issued cell phone to escort services and a pattern of personal misconduct.

Freeze went 39-25 in his five seasons at Ole Miss, including two big upsets of Alabama and a No. 3 ranking – its highest since 1964.

On the other side, Rebels coach Lane Kiffin is trying to regroup from Saturday’s 31-20 defeat at the hands of then-No. 18 Auburn.

Down five starters on its explosive offense, dinged up Ole Miss and quarterback Matt Corral produced its lowest point total during Kiffin’s two-year tenure.

Meanwhile, Auburn quarterback Bo Nix – Corral’s opposite number in home blue – upstaged Corral with two rushing touchdowns and one passing.

Corral, who was 21-of-37 for 289 yards and an interception, had his consecutive streak of 19 games with a passing TD come to an end. He rushed for 45 yards and a score on 10 carries.

“I didn’t feel like we had great energy,” Kiffin said Monday. “We had some very valuable offensive players not playing. We did not play well on offense, especially in critical situations.”

As it was against then-No. 1 Alabama in a 42-21 loss on Oct. 2, those key moments were on four fourth-down conversions, with the Rebels successful on just one.

All three failures occurred inside the Auburn 25 with the Rebels trailing in a close one.

“In the two games where we’ve struggled on our fourth-down conversions, those are a big deal,” Kiffin explained.

Corral was named one of 15 semifinalists Monday for the 85th Maxwell Award for the Collegiate Player of the Year, but Kiffin said his team leader did not do anything in practice because of Saturday’s first-quarter ankle injury.

“It looked really bad when it happened – like season-ending, broken,” Kiffin said. “That’s how he felt it was, but it wasn’t.”

Kiffin will also have to concern himself with another quarterback — Liberty’s Malik Willis.

In his second season leading the FBS independent Flames, the 2019 Auburn transfer has connected on 140-of-210 pass attempts for 1,986 yards with 21 TDs and six interceptions. He has tallied nine rushing TDs.

The Atlanta junior hurt his left foot against North Texas, but returned to rally his club from a 12-point deficit in a 35-26 Flames victory.

“Of course, Malik continued to do some things that make you scratch your head at,” said Freeze, who is 25-8 at Liberty. “Man, that’s pretty phenomenal. Just love, love the way he wants to compete and fight.”

Kiffin said the contest is anything but a late-season tune-up before hosting Texas A&M.

“Yeah, I’d like this to be some opponent you’ve never heard of before that didn’t have a first-round draft pick quarterback. Would be nice,” he admitted.

“So it’s like basically having another SEC game.”

Trash litters the sidelines during an SEC football game between Tennessee and Ole Miss at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, Tenn. on Saturday, Oct. 16, 2021. Tennessee fans threw debris onto the field in objection to a ruling on a play in the end of the fourth quarter.

Kns Tennessee Ole Miss Football

Tennessee bans 25 fans after Ole Miss object-throwing incident

The University of Tennessee is banning 25 fans, including 16 students, from attending any athletic events the rest of the academic and athletic year for throwing things onto the field at Neyland Stadium near the conclusion of an Oct. 16 football game against Ole Miss.

The school also said it was taking steps to prevent future events such as the nearly 20-minute stoppage in play while officials worked to regain control of the stadium in Knoxville.

Tennessee athletic director Danny White, in a letter to Southeastern Conference commissioner Greg Sankey, said the changes at the venue include increased police and security staff in the student section; a requirement that students agree to the SEC and university fan codes of conduct to receive tickets; adding “enhanced” metal detectors; and making more announcements warning against misconduct.

Additionally, there will be no student guest tickets distributed for the Nov. 13 game against current No. 1 Georgia.

The SEC fined Tennessee $250,000 for the conduct of the fans who littered the field with objects. Ole Miss head coach Lane Kiffin, previously the Volunteers’ coach, was struck in the arm by a golf ball.

Ole Miss won 31-26.

–Field Level Media

Oct 23, 2021; Oxford, Mississippi, USA; Eli Manning with his family prior to the game between the Mississippi Rebels and the LSU Tigers at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

Ole Miss retires Eli Manning’s No. 10

Ole Miss retired Eli Manning’s No. 10 in a halftime ceremony during Saturday’s 31-17 home victory against LSU.

Manning set or tied 47 single-game, season and career school records from 2000-03 at Ole Miss. He still holds career marks of 10,119 passing yards and 81 touchdowns.

Manning was the No. 1 overall pick of the 2004 NFL Draft and went on to a 16-year NFL career in which he won two Super Bowls with the New York Giants. Manning’s No. 10 was retired by the Giants last month.

Manning still fondly looks back at his time on the Oxford campus. And he also easily recalls his favorite victory.

“So many of them through the friendships, mentors and coaches that I still talk to,” Manning told CBS of the memories. “But beating Alabama here my sophomore year (in 2001), the first time in 12 years we had beaten Alabama, on a two-minute drive to beat them was a special one.”

Each end zone at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium had MANNING painted on the turf.

Manning is the third Ole Miss player to have his number retired, joining his famous father Archie (18) and Chucky Mullins (38).

Archie Manning played at Ole Miss from 1968-70 and was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1989.

Mullins was left paralyzed by an injury suffered in a game against Vanderbilt on Oct. 28, 1989. He died less than two years later.

Highly regarded prospect Arch Manning was in attendance. The five-star quarterback of the 2023 class is Eli Manning’s nephew and Ole Miss is one of the schools he is considering.

–Field Level Media