TUSCALOOSA, Alabama – Ole Miss entered the top 15 on Saturday against the No.1 Alabama with the prospect of starting conference games in a big way and setting up a potentially special season.
Unfortunately for the No.12 Rebels, this did not happen as missed risks in fourth place and a stopped high power attack led the Crimson Tide to claim the 42-21 victory at Bryant-Denny Stadium.
Ole Miss (3-1, 0-1 Southeastern Conference) came out with an opening practice that ate just over six minutes on the clock, but resulted in zero points and a potential turn for the Alabama. Jerrion Ealy was stopped at the Crimson Tide six-yard line on 4-1, giving Tide the ball and 94 yards to go on their first possession.
The rebel defense couldn’t slow Alabama quarterback Bryce Young and the offense, which took advantage of Lane Kiffin’s risky bet.
The risk-taking did not stop for Kiffin on the first trip. The Rebels have tried to convert to fourth place on five occasions, succeeding twice, both in opening practice. The other three failed attempts gave Alabama (5-0, 2-0) short fields and they scored touchdowns on two of them.
At halftime it was a 35 point lead for Crimson Tide.
“I’m sure (I) got killed finishing fourth, but that’s analysis,” Kiffin said. “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 right. But that’s also why it’s about analysis and not just doing what you want to do. Because you can easily block a punt, you can forgo a punt return for a nil and be exactly the same.
In the second half, the story was a little different with the rebel defense keeping Young and the Alabama offense in check and holding them with two TDs. Young was sacked three times and threw an interception, which was caught by Keidron Smith in the end zone in the third quarter.
For the rebel offense, it was a game where they struggled to have something that far resembles the success they enjoyed in the first three games. Alabama’s defense constantly swarmed, penetrating against the offensive line and constantly finding themselves in the backfield to blow up games.
In the clash between the leaders of the Heisman Trophy, Matt Corral didn’t have a bad performance like the ones against Arkansas and LSU a season ago. The rebel quarterback completed 21 of 29 passes for 213 yards and a touchdown. Corral also rushed for a touchdown.
“It was us who were just trying to pick up a rhythm and then shoot,” said Corral. “Every time we got our pace it was either a detention (penalty) or something negative towards us and we couldn’t (get a pace) because (the Alabama defense) was resting. Our job was to wear them out and then shoot them deep. We did not succeed as much as we wanted. “
Corral’s numbers were similar to those of Young, who finished with 241 yards and two touchdowns to go along with the turnover.
The ground game for Ole Miss was non-existent despite the success at the end of the match. The Rebels rushed for 78 yards and two touchdowns. Henry Parrish, Jr. led the team with 47 yards on 11 carries while Snoop Connor scored the other rushing touchdown.
Ole Miss returns home where she will host Arkansas (4-1, 1-1) next Saturday. The Razorbacks entered the day in 8th place, but were shut out by Georgia in a 37-0 rout on the road.